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Brandi Carlile to Ellen DeGeneres: 'I Came Out at 14 Because of You'

Brandi Carlile and Ellen DeGeneres

The three-time Grammy winner credited DeGeneres with inspiring her to come out as a lesbian. Later they exchanged "I love yous."

Following her powerful performance and three Grammy wins on Sunday, Brandi Carlile, who's been in the business for more than a decade, is finally getting some much-overdue attention. The musician, who garnered six Grammy nominations across Americana and mainstream categories for her album By the Way, I Forgive You and for the song "The Joke," appeared on Ellen DeGeneres's show Thursday.

First she performed a stripped-down, heartrending version of "The Joke." Then, in a brief conversation with DeGeneres, Carlile, who's been out as a lesbian since before her career really kicked into high gear circa 2007, credited DeGeneres for inspiring her to come out.

"Tell everyone a little of your speech that you gave when you won your Grammy," DeGeneres urged Carlile when they sat down together.

"I basically just outlined that I came out of the closet when I was 14 years old ... because of you," Carlile said, then paused.

"I never attended any parties and was never invited to a dance or anything like that. I basically said that to be embraced by such a loving and enduring community was the dance of a lifetime," she added.

"It's a brave thing to do too. Most people that are performing, they worry about their careers," said DeGeneres, who came out at the height of her TV sitcom's popularity in 1997. "It's a brave thing for you to be open and out."

Later, DeGeneres mentioned the Carlile was slated to perform at Madison Square Garden.

"How cool is that?" DeGeneres asked.

"That's the kind of thing -- when you're sitting in your bedroom with your guitar and you're 17 years old, you don't think you're ever going to play Madison Square Garden. But you can hope, and it is going to be an unfathomable dream for me," Carlile said.

Then she looked at DeGeneres and added, "I hope you come."

"If I can, I will," DeGeneres replied. "I love you. I think you're amazing.

"I love you too," Carlile said.

Watch Carlile's performance and their sweet exchange below.

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Tracy E. Gilchrist

Tracy E. Gilchrist is the VP, Executive Producer of Entertainment for the Advocate Channel. A media veteran, she writes about the intersections of LGBTQ+ equality and pop culture. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of The Advocate and the first feminism editor for the 55-year-old brand. In 2017, she launched the company's first podcast, The Advocates. She is an experienced broadcast interviewer, panel moderator, and public speaker who has delivered her talk, "Pandora's Box to Pose: Game-changing Visibility in Film and TV," at universities throughout the country.
Tracy E. Gilchrist is the VP, Executive Producer of Entertainment for the Advocate Channel. A media veteran, she writes about the intersections of LGBTQ+ equality and pop culture. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of The Advocate and the first feminism editor for the 55-year-old brand. In 2017, she launched the company's first podcast, The Advocates. She is an experienced broadcast interviewer, panel moderator, and public speaker who has delivered her talk, "Pandora's Box to Pose: Game-changing Visibility in Film and TV," at universities throughout the country.