Who is Chappell Roan? The drag-influenced pop queen breaking through with Good Luck, Babe!

This Midwestern Princess is going nowhere but up.
Chappell Roan

Chappell Roan is having a moment. Her latest single Good Luck, Babe! – which Chappell says is about "wishing good luck to someone who is denying fate" – has smashed into the UK Top 20.

Meanwhile, her debut album The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess has entered the Official Albums Chart for the first time, peaking so far at Number 47. 

But who is Chappell Roan and why is she on the rise? Here's everything you need to know.

Who is Chappell Roan?

Chappell Roan is a singer-songwriter from LA via Willard, Missouri.

She was born Kayleigh Rose Amstutz and her stage name – which she calls her drag name – is a tribute to her late grandfather. His name was Dennis K. Chappell and his favourite song was an old cowboy ballad called The Strawberry Roan.

Chappell signed her first record deal in 2017 and started off making what she has called "dark, angsty pop that was pretty boring".

In 2020, she wrote and released a big, spangly pop banger called Pink Pony Club. This semi-autobiographical song told the story of a small-town girl who heads to LA to become a go-go dancer. 

Pink Pony Club was a major turning point for Chappell. It made her realise she wanted to make maximalist pop anthems inspired by Lady Gaga, Kesha and Katy Perry, and write lyrics about embracing her queerness.

She has described her upbringing as "very sheltered" and says it took time to shake off her "prude" side.

However, her record label weren't convinced by this new musical direction. After they dropped her, Chappell dusted herself off and adopted a more DIY approach.

"A lot of my outfits were thrifted and I had to learn how to do my own drag makeup," she told NME. "If I wanted to do a photo shoot, I had to ask my friends to help me."

This hard graft paid off and Chappell signed a new record deal in 2023 as her new fanbase – made up of pop fans and young queer people in particular – continued to grow. She released her debut album The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess in September 2023 and hasn't looked back.

A brilliant playful bop from the album, Red Wine Supernova, has also cracked the UK Top 100 in recent weeks, peaking so far at Number 94.

How is Good Luck, Babe! by Chappell Roan performing on the Official Chart?

So far, Good Luck, Babe! has peaked at Number 18 on the Official Singles Chart.

When it entered at Number 64 on 18 April, it became Chappell's maiden UK hit.

Since then, Good Luck, Babe! has spent six consecutive weeks in the Top 40, three of those in the Top 20. Its highest position to date – Number 18 – came in its fourth week on the chart and its seventh week 

Could it climb even higher? Keep an eye on next week's Official Singles Chart to find out.

Why has Good Luck, Babe! by Chappell Roan become so successful on the Official Chart?

The buzz around Chappell has been growing steadily for a while. This is her time.

In December she played two sold-out headline shows at iconic London LGBTQ+ venue Heaven, cementing her status as a Gen Z queer icon.

Then from late February to early April, Chappell supported Olivia Rodrigo on The Guts World Tour, a plum support slot that further heightened her profile, alongside a headline-grabbing set at the recent Coachella Festival (handily just around the time of Good Luck, Babe!'s debut) that marked her, definitively, as one to watch.

Interestingly, Good Luck, Babe!'s success has gone hand-in-hand with growing traction for Chappell's debut album, The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess (which Good Luck, Babe! doesn't actually appear on).

The album was released in September 2023 but first entered the Official Albums Chart, at Number 64, on 18 April. It has remained in the chart ever since, peaking so far at Number 47.

Let's see if it climbs even higher in the coming weeks.

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i love chappell. red wine supernova is such an addicting song, i couldn’t go a day without hearing it haha. also love her aesthetic! she has star potential written all over her~