Kayleigh Rose, otherwise known by her stage name Chappell Roan, is only 19 years old. Hailing from the small town of Willard, Missouri, she is on her first tour with fellow artists Amy Shark and Vance Joy. As she took the stage at First Avenue on Oct. 12, she seemed nervous. Backed up by only a guitarist, the music queued up and she opened her mouth to sing. For the next 20 minutes, the crowd fell under her spell. With flowing vocals and an impressive range, she played through the five songs from her recently released EP, “School Nights,” and a cover of “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac.
“School Nights,” released on Sept. 21, showcases Roan’s incredible voice, reminiscent of Stevie Nicks, Lana Del Rey, and Dolores O’Riordan (of the Cranberries). The first song, “Die Young,” is a steady indie tune with brilliant vocal crescendos in the chorus. “Good Hurt” is a little faster-paced, with lyrics about yearning for an old, toxic relationship. The third track, “Meantime,” a slow-burning song fraught with passion, describes the inner turmoil of wanting to love someone but not being ready for a relationship. “Sugar High” uses various sugary food analogies to describe the rush of a relationship. The final song, “Bad for You,” smolders with steamy desires.
Roan’s debut is smooth and strong, and seeing her live was a surreal experience. Even though her album is impressive, hearing her voice in person made it obvious that she is a singer with true, raw talent.