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Introducing Chappell Roan: The Midwest Princess

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

“You know what they say, never waste a Friday on a first date.” Wise words from the rising artist Chappell Roan. Her mix of both pop and exciting songs tied with slower, more gut-wrenching tunes have fans wanting more. Chappell Roan’s big break came from her joining Olivia Rodrigo on the “Guts” tour. Roan performed as an opener which introduced her to Rodrigo’s fans. Her music found its way onto TikTok and she’s taken off since then. The combination of her lyricism, looks, and stage presence has people calling Chappell Roan the next pop princess. 

The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess is the title of Chappell’s first and only studio album. While the album was released in 2023, she kicked off her career by posting on YouTube in 2017 and quickly signed with Atlantic Records. After signing, she released her first EP, School Nights, and in the same year went on tour with musical artist Vance Joy. In her early work, her songs are far more focused on her vocals as opposed to an image. In 2020, Roan began working with songwriter and producer Dan Nigro who ultimately helped produce her first single “Pink Pony Club”. Her campy tempo set her apart from many new and upcoming artists. Especially in her song “Pink Pony Club” Chappell uses her lyrics to talk about her uprising as an artist but also discusses pieces of her that are important and set her apart. This began her rebrand as a hyperfeminine queer pop artist. In her song “Pink Pony Club” she sings, “And I heard that there’s a special place where boys and girls can be queens every single day.” 

A large part of Chappell Roan’s music is her representation of queer female artists. As a queer female artist herself, she makes known her struggles as a midwestern girl trying to find herself in restrictive environments. In many of her songs, she discusses the change from moving out of her conservative town in Missouri to Santa Monica, California, which is known for its large queer population. She talks about her struggles to make it big in the California music scene as she experienced pushback as an artist and her failures: “Thought I’d be cool in California, I’d make you proud.”

Many of her songs tell a story of her life, discovering her sexuality and her place in the music industry. She doesn’t shy away from being bold, with her lyrics often having sexual connotations by discussing queer love and sex. In her song, “Red Wine Supernova”, Chappell sings, “She showed me things I didn’t know, She did it right there out on the deck, Put her canine teeth in the side of my neck.” During her live performances and tours, she invites local drag artists to open for her. She highlights the local drag scene in whatever area she is performing in. Not only does this connect her to fans, but it also gives a chance for local artists to gain more notoriety. Chappell’s passion for drag is reflected in her choice of costuming. 

In her live performances, you’ll often find Chappell in a full face of drag makeup and a glimmering costume piece, but one thing that never changes is her fiery red curls. In a recent performance on “NPR’s Tiny Desk”, Chappell sported a bright pink dress with her red hair all teased up, topped off with a crown. Even better, her band was in various pink outfits to complement Roan. Similarly, on the “Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Roan was the guest musical artist who wowed the crowd, not only with her incredible vocals but with her costuming and staging as well. She sat center-stage in a giant pink heart and the set was incredibly dreamy. Chappell and her band’s costume represent a strong, campy, heavenly bodies theme mixed with some cherubs.

A great way that Chappell connects with her fans and makes her concert atmosphere more fun is by posting themes for her tour stops. These themes are based on her songs and she encourages fans to dress up and go all out. Her song “Hot To Go” is a call-and-response song encouraging fans to get on their feet and dance. Specifically to do the H-O-T-T-O-G-O dance which is fun and inviting. As a fan, it’s exciting to see how her sets and themes will look like on her upcoming tours and festival appearances. 

Chappell’s popularity continues to grow exponentially, much of it thanks to her increasing growth on TikTok. As a pre-TikTok fan, that hurts to say, but scrolling through my for you page, all I hear is her music. Especially her song “Casual” which took off online due to its unexpected lyrics: “Knee deep in the passenger seat and you’re eating me out, Is it casual now?” Her lyrics call you out, especially if you’ve fallen victim to the dreaded situationship. But, as previously mentioned, her opening on tour for Olivia Rodrigo truly allowed her to take off. Since Chappell Roan and Olivia Rodrigo both work for Dan Nigro, it’s not shocking to learn that Roan sang background vocals on many of Olivia’s most popular songs. Currently, Chappell is on her tour and is performing at many music festivals such as Handshake, Coachella, and Lolapalooza. This past week, Chappell released her newest single, “Good Luck, Babe” which has taken the internet by storm. This song is both catchy and tells a story of internal homophobia and mixed emotions. 

While the rise to fame has not been easy for Chappell Roan, her hard work has certainly paid off. From being a young girl in small-town Missouri to finding her place in Santa Monica, Chappell has a unique presence and continues to be a force in the music industry. As a queer artist, she is changing the pop music scene to normalize discussion of queer stories and struggles through song. As Chappell continues her journey, all I have to say is, good luck, babe!

Anna Reed is a current student at UCF double majoring in Political Science (Intelligence and National Security) and Theatre Studies BA. In her free time, Anna loves to express herself creatively through writing, cooking, singing, dancing, and acting. She also is a huge theme park enthusiast,plant collector, and music/film buff.