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.

Apply for a Rainey Day grant.




Rainey Day Grant Recipients

Adeem the ArtistAHIJohn AkapoAnjimileZeshan B
Alex BlueMercy BellBirds of ChicagoMary BraggLiz Brasher
Aaron BrownChastity BrownTré BurtSera CahooneMelissa Carper
CelisseShemekia CopelandSamantha CrainAntje DuvekotMicah Edwards
Mark ErelliAnna FieldNokosee FieldsFreaqueSG Goodman
Granville AutomaticLarah HelayneIzzy HeltaiJustin HiltnerPierceton Hobbs
Durand JonesKaia KaterMadeleine KelsonPatty KenolyAmythyst Kiah
KyshonaGabe LeeHeather MaeBecca MancariMiko Marks
Amy MartinCrys MatthewsLeyla McCallaJensen McRaePamela Means
Nikki MorganCary MorinNickel&RoseJoy OladokunOshima Brothers
Brandi PaceRissi PalmerRebecca PatekSarah PeacockGiri Peters
Chris PierceChris PurekaCarrie RodriguezPhillip-Michael ScalesSistaStrings
Brittney SpencerThee Sacred SoulsAdia VictoriaViolet BellNaomi Wachira
Sunny WarWild PoniesJontavious WillisMaddie WitlerYola
Raye Zaragoza Natalia Zukerman Indigenous Music Scholarship