26-year-old was dropped from her record label, worked as a nanny and barista—4 years later, she's a breakout pop star

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For breakout pop star Chappell Roan, the journey to success has been full of twists, turns and detours.

Roan, whose given name is Kayleigh Rose Amstutz, signed to Atlantic Records at age 17 after gaining popularity on YouTube. She released her debut EP "School Nights" in 2017 and, a year later, moved to Los Angeles from her hometown of Willard, Missouri.

In April 2020, she released a song called "Pink Pony Club," inspired by a night at a gay club. It gained traction on social media, USA Today called it one of the 10 best songs of 2020 and entertainment news website Vulture crowned it the Song of the Summer in 2021. Commercially, however, it underperformed Atlantic's expectations and the label released her, Roan told Pitchfork last year.

After a few months as a barista, Roan started working part-time jobs like nanny, production assistant and donut shop staffer to pay the bills, she told People last year. All the while, she grew a small following for her music on TikTok.

"My music [was] nothing really massive ... We're not talking [Doja Cat's] 'Say So' when that blew up, nothing like that happened," she said. "TikTok was just a way to display my personality and the inner workings, but I feel like it was hell most of the time trying to get it together as an independent artist and also having a part-time job."

Today, the 26-year-old is a breakout pop star with four singles reaching the Billboard Hot 100, appearances on NBC's "The Tonight Show" and CBS' "The Late Show," a pizza party with Elton John and a new album on the way.

"It feels like I was right all along," Roan said on "The Tonight Show" last month. "It feels like I did it. I mean, I feel kind of like I made it already."

'It's really hard to keep up'

Roan's path from struggling independent artist to emerging sensation was likely helped along by a connection: Her producer at Atlantic was Dan Nigro, who also works with Olivia Rodrigo. Roan was an opening act during Rodrigo's Sour Tour in 2022, before signing with Island Records last year.

As Rodrigo became more established, so did Roan. Earlier this year, Roan opened for a portion of Rodrigo's Guts World Tour, giving her a 32% boost in streaming over a single weekend, Billboard reported in February. Her ensuing single "Good Luck, Babe!" came out in April, with immediate success on streaming platforms like Spotify and Billboard's Top 100.

The sudden jump threw Roan into stardom, presenting a new set of career challenges. "I just want to be honest with the crowd: I just feel a little off today," she said during a performance last month in Raleigh, North Carolina. "I think my career is just kind of going really fast and it's really hard to keep up. I'm just being honest ... I'm having a hard time today."

Feeling overwhelmed at work can be a relatable concept, and experts have plenty of tips for handling it in a healthy, productive way. "I've found that changing the grammar in your self-talk can boost your mental toughness and resilience," performance coach Steve Magness wrote for CNBC Make It in 2022. "It's very easy and simple: Switch 'I' to 'you.'"

Using first-person pronouns can draw you into negative emotions, Magness explained. Instead, tell yourself, "you can recover from this mistake," or "you will come out of this job search with your dream role."

Or, try ex-Navy SEAL Jocko Willink's strategy. When he feels overwhelmed, he makes a giant to-do list and spends a few days knocking off every single task to get out of his mental slump, he told Make It in 2019.

"I like to go on the hardcore offense," said Willink, noting that each catch-up workday often lasts roughly 12-14 hours. "It's a lot better for me to suffer hard for three days and grind than to suffer the continual burden that's weighing on your back for months on end."

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of NBC and CNBC.

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