Pop music fans, you’ve found her. You’ve finally found your new favorite. And her name is Chappell Roan.
With glistening vocals, the catchiest lyricism you’ve ever heard, and empowering artistry that uplifts women and queer voices, Chappell Roan’s music soars to the heights of some of our most beloved pop stars. And she does all of this with a delicious Baja Blast in hand.
From “Pink Pony Club” to “My Kink is Karma” to her most recent release, “Casual,” Chappell fails to miss at every turn. It would be a shock if her debut album, which is supposedly dropping at some point this year, isn’t a masterpiece.
Named after her hit song, “Naked in Manhattan,” the Naked In North America tour is Chappell Roan’s first-ever headlining tour. Kicking off just last week, almost every show is already sold out. There’s simply no denying Chappell’s auteur status at making anthemic pop songs with addictive hooks, and her talent has created a loyal fanbase that will last for years to come.
Pop Crave was honored with the opportunity to interview Chappell Roan at the Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix, AZ, before her debut show for her first-ever headlining tour.
Chappell let us know what her go-to Taco Bell order is, what unreleased songs she plans on performing and releasing soon, and why the initial popularity of “Pink Pony Club” was actually a sad experience for her. Keep reading for the full interview!
In just five words, how would you describe the incredible artist known as Chappell Roan?
I would say rhinestone, explosive, innovative, bold, and feminist.
Tonight is your very first show for your first-ever headlining tour, the Naked In North America tour! How exciting is it that this tour you’ve been working on for so long is now finally coming into fruition tonight?
I mean, it feels surreal! I don’t even know… Everyone keeps asking me, “How are you feeling? How are you feeling?” I’m just like, “I don’t know. I don’t know how I feel.” I think it will feel real when I get on stage, and I just need that to just happen. This is my fourth tour, so I’ve toured a lot but never a headline. I’m just happy to see everyone. Regardless of anything, I just wanna create a fun place for people – especially queer people – to feel safe, dress up, and know that they’re not gonna be judged. It’s a very communal vibe.
How challenging was it to come up with the setlist and order of songs for this tour? Did the setlist and order come naturally to you or did it take some time?
Yeah, it comes pretty natural! With the show, you’ll notice it’s like an arch. It’s like a rollercoaster. You start high, then you go low, and then you start high, and then you go low. You don’t wanna put all your low songs together so it’s not boring. It’s difficult, but I feel like it was pretty easy for us to figure it out. Everything’s so high energy, and I just want it to be a party [laughs].
Is there a city you’re really excited to visit that you haven’t been to before?
Atlanta! I’ve never been to Atlanta. I’m really excited to do that. I think they have a strip club there called the Pink Pony. It wasn’t influenced. I didn’t know that existed until after, but it was actually influenced by a strip club in my hometown that was a hot pink building. I’m excited to see the actual Pink Pony! That will be so fun.
Is there a song you’re most excited to perform live?
It’s a new one! It’s called “Hot To Go.” I wrote it just a couple weeks ago, and it is a cheer song, so there’s a dance attached to it that I teach the audience. It’s fun! It’s like the “Y.M.C.A.” but gayer is how I describe it [laughs].
“Pink Pony Club” truly is an instant classic. I could not stop listening to it as soon as I first heard it. What has the reception to that song in particular been like for you, and how has it felt to receive so much love for your music in general?
Thank you! It was actually very sad, because I released it in April 2020. It was a very dark time when it came out. No one could party, and it was West Hollywood’s anthem! It’s for going out and queerness, and it was just so sad that I couldn’t perform it. The first time I had ever performed it was last May. It was on the shelf for two years because concerts won’t open, you know? It was a bummer, but I know it helped a lot of people through the pandemic. Now, we’re here! Thank God!
You’re doing show themes! I know tonight is “Pink Pony Club” inspired, so I’ll be heading back in a little bit to put on my pink cowboy outfit! How did you come up with the idea for themed outfits at every show?
I did a few headline shows at the beginning, and I’ve wanted to do themed shows for like five years. I’ve always wanted to do themed shows because I love crowd participation. Like, that is my thing. I write songs with intention of the crowd participating in them. Like “Femininomenom.” I want people to scream, like, in the bridge or whatever. I just wanted something that gave people an option to dress up, because I love dressing up all crazy. It gives you the option and a comfortability around dressing how you would on Halloween, honestly, because everyone else is doing it with you. No one’s gonna think you’re weird! It’s just an opportunity to be silly, honestly. That’s my whole thing. I was like, “What is fun and silly?”
I’m so happy we’re getting the pink theme in Phoenix!
Oh, yeah! Dude, yeah! Everyone’s like, “I wanted Pink Pony!” [laughs].
Who would you name as some of your musical inspirations that inspired your artistry for when you were first starting out as Chappell Roan?
At the very beginning, I was doing a lot of dark synth pop. It was ballady, witchy, and melodramatic. I listened to Lana, Lorde, and Ellie Goulding my entire high school.
I’ve been dying to ask this question. After the “Casual” cover art came out, you became the official queen of the Baja Blast. What is your go-to Taco Bell order?
Oh my God, it’s so rough. Like, I’m such a freak. I love the nacho cheese. I love the… oh, fuck. Not the five-layer burrito. Fuck, I’d have to look at the menu. It’s something crazy. It’s wrapped… it’s like a burrito… it has nacho cheese on the inside… [grilled cheese burrito]. But also, what I usually get on tour, I love getting cheesy roll ups. I always get a cheesy roll up on tour. But for real life, I get a black bean crunchwrap supreme because you can get it with beans instead of meat.
Do you have a favorite lyric from “Casual”?
My family doesn’t love this one, but [laughs and starts to sing]… I’ve heard so many rumors that I’m just a girl that you bang on your couch is probably my favorite. My mom can’t stand “Casual.” She’s like, “‘Eating me out’ is so gross! Why’d you have to say that?!” I was like, “Just be crazy! I don’t know. Say something bold!”
What would you like to leave fans with on what they can expect from Chappell Roan in 2023?
Like, what do I have coming out vibes? I’m having an album. We have a single coming out at the end of March, which I’m playing the new song at every show. It’s called “Kaleidoscope.” It’s definitely a ballad compared to the other ones, but I think it’s my favorite song I’ve ever written for sure. The whole year is packed with shows, an album, and we have a music video coming out for “Casual” in a few weeks. Just a lot of fun content coming. The world is just gonna grow! More videos, makeup looks, outfits, and songs that will build this world as big as I want it to be!
We’re also working on a fall headline tour, so we’re going! The whole year, we’re going and going! I think the fall headline tour is gonna be announced with the album in May, I think, but yeah. They hate it when I tell everything. They’re like, “Can you stop telling people?!” I’m like, “Who gives a fuck?! Like, who cares?” But anyway… [laughs].
Purchase tickets to Chappell Roan’s Naked In North America tour here: https://www.iamchappellroan.com/tour
Chappell Roan’s most recent release, “Casual,” is available to stream everywhere.
Article cover taken by Ryan Clemens.