Founded in 2018 by Donald Cohen and Kelly McCartney, and named after Ma Rainey — the queer, Black “Mother of the Blues” — the Rainey Day Fund uplifts marginalized voices in Americana/roots music at key moments in their careers. Knowing how meaningful it is to be fully seen, Rainey Day looks at the identity issues that have so often held artists back and holds them up because of those identities. Though we feel it is our moral imperative to do this work, it is also our absolute honor. Some of our artists have gone on to land record deals, corporate endorsements, and Grammy nominations.

Ma Rainey

As with her work on Apple Music’s Record Bin Radio and elsewhere, Kelly’s goal is to normalize inclusion because that is how we build a framework of equity. That looks like Amythyst Kiah landing on the Americana album chart. That looks like Yola performing on the Grammy Awards. That looks like Gabe Lee and Joy Oladokun opening for Jason Isbell. That looks like Miko Marks and Brittney Spencer gracing the New York Times. That looks like Anjimile appearing in Rolling Stone.

Change is happening, slowly but surely, because these voices deserve to be heard. We are proud to amplify and support them by providing funding, resources, skills, knowledge, and more, as we work together to dismantle the systemic and systematic barriers that form the foundation of both America and Americana. By reaching back and paying forward now, perhaps the next generations can step into a multi-racial, queer-inclusive, non-ableist industry and not have to struggle to thrive.




Rainey Day Grant Recipients

John Akapo Anjimile Zeshan B Mercy Bell Sera Cahoone
Birds of Chicago Chastity Brown Tré Burt Shemekia Copeland Samantha Crain
Antje Duvekot Nokosee Fields Freaque Granville Automatic Larah Helayne
Izzy Heltai Justin Hiltner Pierceton Hobbs Kaia Kater Amythyst Kiah
Sarah Kilborne Kyshona Gabe Lee Miko Marks Heather Mae
Becca Mancari Crys Matthews Leyla McCalla Jensen McRae Pamela Means
Nikki Morgan Nickel&Rose Joy Oladokun Oshima Brothers Rissi Palmer
Sarah Peacock Giri Peters Chris Pureka Phillip-Michael Scales SistaStrings
Brittney Spencer Adia Victoria Violet Bell Sunny War Wild Ponies
Jontavious Willis Maddie Witler Yola Raye Zaragoza Natalia Zukerman
Indigenous Music Scholarship