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
Mercy BellMary BraggLiz BrasherSera CahooneBirds of Chicago
Chastity BrownTré BurtCelisseShemekia CopelandSamantha Crain
Antje DuvekotNokosee FieldsFreaqueSG GoodmanGranville Automatic
Larah HelayneIzzy HeltaiJustin HiltnerPierceton HobbsDurand Jones
Kaia KaterAmythyst KiahKyshonaGabe LeeMiko Marks
Heather MaeBecca MancariCrys MatthewsLeyla McCallaJensen McRae
Pamela MeansNikki MorganNickel&RoseJoy OladokunOshima Brothers
Rissi PalmerSarah PeacockGiri PetersChris PierceChris Pureka
Carrie RodriguezPhillip-Michael ScalesSistaStringsBrittney SpencerThee Sacred Souls
Adia VictoriaViolet BellSunny WarWild PoniesJontavious Willis
Maddie Witler Yola Raye Zaragoza Natalia Zukerman Indigenous Music Scholarship