Michelle Branch Is No Longer 'Everywhere' And Here's Why

One moment Michelle Branch was "Everywhere" and the next she was gone. The TRL era singer-songwriter just seemed to disappear after an impressive stretch in the aughts that included a pair of platinum albums and a Grammy win for her "Game of Love" collaboration with legendary guitarist Carlos Santana. And don't forget about those cameos on Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (but feel free to forget about her cameo in the critically-panned The Hot Chick). All this before she was even legally old enough to drink. 

It appeared Branch would be strumming her guitar all over the radio and TV for years to come, but by the end of the decade she was already turning into an afterthought in the rapid-moving music industry, with nary even an on-stage blooper to sustain us. If you're wondering what happened to Branch, you're not alone. She told Elle she gets that question a lot. So let's answer that question with a look at why you don't hear from Branch anymore.

She had two albums shelved

Michelle Branch never stopped writing music during her time away from the spotlight. It's just that Warner Bros. stopped releasing it. She revealed in an interview with Elle that the label constantly tried to turn her into something she's not, telling her she should be like whoever the female singer of the moment was, including Avril Lavigne and Katy Perry. Branch refused to play the game and kept recording music that was true to herself. But while she remained the same, the label presidents were constantly in flux.

"One [label president] I met with on a Thursday, and they were fired on Monday," Branch told Elle, adding that on another occasion, "I turned in a full album. We shot artwork and a video for it. There was a single; a release date. And then everyone got fired, and it all just stopped. Then a new guy comes in, he gives his two cents, calls the new radio department, they give their two cents. It was that... over and over and over."

Asked during her Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) what fans have to do to get their hands on her scrapped albums, Branch wrote "Write passionate hate letters to Warner Bros?? haha!" She was joking — or was she?

Her country side project ended on a sour note

It's easy to forget that Michelle Branch followed up two hit albums with a country album in 2006. She and pal Jessica Harp recorded Stand Still, Look Pretty under the name The Wreckers and enjoyed some success, thanks in large part to their Grammy-nominated track "Leave the Pieces." Now do you remember? But there would be no sophomore studio record for the duo, as they weren't seeing eye-to-eye by the end. Literally.

"I haven't seen her since 2007, since our last show, where we wore sunglasses onstage and didn't make eye contact. It was so terrible," Branch told Rolling Stone. "It was really emotional. We went to mediation toward the end, and the mediator was like, 'You two can't work together.' I don't know how it got to that point."

Whatever their issues were, they must have been serious. Branch told Rolling Stone she and Harp went ten years without talking after parting ways. The former friends eventually reunited in 2017 when Branch brought Harp on stage to perform a few Wreckers tunes during a Nashville tour stop. It's hard to tell if they truly buried the hatchet though, seeing how it was billed as a one-night-only event.

She got an early start on motherhood

In addition to trying to get her next album off the ground, Michelle Branch has been raising the child she had with ex-husband and former bassist Teddy Landau in 2005 when she was 22. Since her daughter was four weeks old, Branch has been bringing little Owen on tour with her. And when her career slowed down due to the album delays, Branch used the down time to her advantage.

"It would have been really, really tough to juggle all of that when I was 24," Branch told Glamour. "I got to spend the most important years of her life being a normal mom, so that kept me grounded, focused, and balanced. On tough days I still had to get dinner on the table, help with homework, and get laundry done. That was kind of my meditation that kept me sane. Because at the end of the day, she's the most important thing. She saved me."

Owen doesn't have much interest in her parents' careers, but she does share her mom's taste in music. Coincidence? Not exactly. "She has good taste because being under our roof — she only hears what we have playing," Branch told Observer. "She likes everything from The Strokes to Pollock." But as for pop music? Not so much. "She has friends at school who are into Justin Bieber and One Direction, and she's like, 'I don't get it.'"

Her bakery didn't pan out

Branch has two passions: music (obviously) and food. And when things cooled down with the former, Branch turned to the latter for work. She co-hosted the food-centric web series Cook Taste Eat in 2012 with celebrity chef Michael Mina, where she pretty much just played kitchen helper and taster. But don't think Branch doesn't know her way around the kitchen. Her skills were on display when she prepared lamb satay with peanut sauce on a tour bus for Bon Appetit. And she has made no secret of her dreams to open a bakery.

It appeared she was on her way to achieving that dream when she announced on her website (via People) that she would be opening a bakery called The Sugar Bar in Nashville in 2008, but for one reason or another those plans fizzled. Branch talked about taking another crack at the bakery business in Los Angeles in 2012, telling the Hollywood Reporter she even had discussions with the producers of Hell's Kitchen about turning the opening into a reality show. But the series, like the bakery, never happened.

Branch hasn't give up on her bakery dream though. "I'd love to open a restaurant or bakery," Branch wrote during her Reddit AMA in 2017. "My 'bak-up plan' was to go to pastry school and be a pastry chef. That's still a big passion of mine."

Divorces don't always have to be messy

How's this for timing? Branch and Teddy Landau officially ended their nearly 11-year marriage in 2015 months after Branch ended her 16-year relationship with Warner Bros. "It really felt like my life was a snow globe, and someone turned it upside down," Branch told the Tennessean. "And when it cleared, nothing was in its right place."

Branch was 19 and Landau was 38 when they started dating (we'll spare you the math — that's a 19-year age difference). They walked down the aisle in 2004 and became parents the following year. They grew apart over the course of the marriage, but have remained friends since their divorce, which Branch realizes is no small feat.

"I luckily have a very wonderful ex-husband, and I can say that, and I know a lot of people in my shoes can't," Branch told People. "Having our daughter together was really the balancing factor when everything was kind of coming to a close. It was easy to focus on her and worry about how she felt and making it normal for her; it allowed us not to get too caught up in our own s***."

Her first album in 14 years came and went

It was like deja vu when Michelle Branch left Warner Bros. for Verve Records. She told Billboard that David Foster, Verve's CEO at the time, wasn't too fond of the new songs she recorded with producer and The Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney and wanted something more similar to her early hits. Carney encouraged Branch to stick to her guns, offering to fund the album himself if need be.

Foster was later replaced by someone more receptive of Branch's new work, which paved the way for her to record an album she could be proud of. Finally, in 2017, Branch released Hopeless Romantic, her first solo album in 14 years. As you can imagine, Branch had plenty to say on the album. She told Too Fab her divorce inspired some lyrics, as did her new boyfriend.

Despite the anticipation surrounding the album and promotional stops on Good Morning America and Late Night with Seth Meyers, Hopeless Romantic spent just one week on the Billboard 200 chart at number 143. Branch was dropped by Verve months after releasing her album and had her European tour scrapped as a result, but the experience was hardly a waste. She met her future husband while recording the album.

Baby No. 2 is on the way

By the time her album was complete, Michelle Branch went from calling Patrick Carney her co-producer to calling him her boyfriend. And yes, that means she recorded songs about her ex-husband with help from her new boyfriend. Branch and her daughter left LA to move into Carney's Nashville home, and in 2017 Carney popped the question on Branch's 34th birthday.

"Pat has said, 'I ­remember seeing you on MTV in the early 2000s and ­thinking you were really cute,'" Branch told People. "It's like, why couldn't we have just met each other in our 20s? We would have saved so much heartache!"

Branch's ex seems to approve of the relationship, considering he has flown to their Nashville home to watch over Owen while Branch and Carney are away. "It's like Modern Family," Branch told People. Branch announced on Instagram in 2018 that she will be adding one more to the family, as Branch is expecting her second child, and first with Carney. "Well, we were just about to send out Save The Dates for our wedding in May when we got this little surprise," Branch posted. "Patrick and I couldn't be more excited!"

And we couldn't be more excited to see what adorable name Branch and Carney pick for their bundle of joy, and we're sure big sister Owen can't wait either.

Longevity in the music industry isn't common

The only artist to top Michelle Branch in album sales the week Hotel Paper debuted in 2003 was none other than Beyoncé, who continues to dominate the charts to this day. But for every Beyoncé, there are ten other once-hot artists like Branch whose careers cool down over time in the ultra-competitive music industry. Just look at some of the other names in the Billboard top ten that week in 2003: 50 Cent, Monica, Evanescence, and Three 6 Mafia. Remember Three 6 Mafia?

Ironically, Patrick Carney was working as a telemarketer the year Branch released her double platinum album, The Spirit Room, in 2001, according to Elle. Fast forward to the present and now the roles have been reversed. The Black Keys have the sort of rock cred that artists dream about, not to mention their last three albums each reached the top three on the Billboard 200. And Branch? Okay, she's not working in telemarketing, but she had to claw and scratch just to get her most recent album released. Goes to show you how much the music business can change over time.

What's next for Branch?

Hopeless Romantic isn't the only project that Branch and Carney — who played drums on Branch's 2017 tour — have collaborated on. They teamed up to cover America's "A Horse With No Name" for BoJack Horseman (get it?) and are constantly working on new songs in their home studio. What they'll do with all those recordings remains to be seen.

"We've definitely talked about doing a project together that wouldn't be a Michelle Branch record, which is exciting, because at this point I don't know what that sounds like," Branch told ET. "I'm uncertain of the future, but I feel like I'm going to be more productive than I ever have, and I'm excited to kind of have some control over my life."

It should be noted that the ET interview took place before Branch announced her pregnancy in 2018, which means that her productivity could be put on hold.