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Chappell Roan: The Rising Midwest Pop Princess

Stacey Addo| Arts and Entertainment Editor

The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess/ Chappell Roan/ 2023

In the past year, artist Chappell Roan has blown up very quickly after dropping her debut album “The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess” is a singer and songwriter from Missouri who’s fully embraced her queer identity and reflects on it her music and performances, truly like no one currently in the pop scene. With her campy 80s-inspired music and drag-inspired looks, Chappell Roan’s massive growth can only be expected to increase.

The stage name Chappell Roan was picked in honor of her grandfather Dennis K. Chappell, who died of brain cancer in 2016, and his favorite song, "The Strawberry Roan" by Curley Fletcher. She describes her Chappell Roan persona as a Hannah Montana-esque alter ego that is much more confident and open about her sexuality.

Not only is Chappell open about being a part of the LGBTQ community, but she actively draws inspiration from drag queens and goes out of her way to give back to the community. She told Billboard, “Especially as a queer person who has the privilege of making money off the queer community to support myself, it’s important to redistribute funds.” On her tour, she invites local drag performers to open for her shows and donates a portion of ticket sales to For the Gworls, an organization that raises money for Black transgender people.

While her rise to stardom seems to be moving quickly, her road to where she is now hasn’t been easy. Chappell has been mostly independent throughout her music journey. From writing her music to directing her music videos and even thrifting and DIY-ing her own outfits and costumes, the performer has stayed committed to her vision. She began working with Dan Nigro in early 2020 and released “Pink Pony Club”. The song was a success with more than 10 million streams on Spotify by August 2022, and Vulture described the song as “the song of the summer” and called it a “synthy infectious bangrang.” But despite the success, the song wasn’t profitable enough for Atlantic and she was dropped from her label. In the same year, her partner of four years broke up with her, and Nigro’s focus shifted to Rodrigo’s “Sour” album. She moved back to her hometown in Missouri to work on her music independently and worked multiple jobs to support herself. 

On September 22, 2023, Roan released her debut album “The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess” and began her headlining North American tour “The Midwest Princess Tour.” She eventually signed onto Island Records. Combined with touring with Olivia Rodrigo as an opener, landing her first single “Good Luck, Babe!” on the Billboard Hot 100, and her recent performance at Coachella, she’s been cementing herself as a pop star in the making.

While her hard work certainly paid off, her performances as an opener for Olivia Rodrigo helped push her into the mainstream, through TikTok. With many overnight sensations both in and out of the music scene, and people looking for something new in pop music, Chappell feels like a breath of fresh air as she’s someone whose hard work, dedication, and talent alone are what pushed her into the limelight. With her high-energy performances, unique looks, raw lyrics, and catchy melodies, this is just the beginning of what is to come of this Midwest pop princess.


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