Brittney Spencer discusses enjoying Pilgrimage Fest, constructing fanbase

For the past two years, autumn’s onset has revealed moments of unexpected, humbling crossover approval for Baltimore-born and Nashville-based breakout country music star Brittney Spencer.

In 2022, the season finds her continuing with appearances with Willie Nelson on the Outlaw Music Festival and opening for Maren Morris at the Bridgestone Arena on December 2. As well, she’s part of Franklin, Tenn.’s September 24-25 Pilgrimage Festival event.

How she’s developed from a star on the rise to an rising superstar — still whereas engaged on recording her ultimately forthcoming debut album — is a tale of a seamless stream of unimaginable fall season moments. 

During 2020’s COVID quarantine, the singer-songwriter had been residing in Music City for just over a half-decade and was “a lady sitting on a sofa carrying a denim jumpsuit and braids, enjoying [her] guitar.” However, in October 2020, upon posting a model of country and Americana all-female supergroup The Highwomen’s (Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris, and Amanda Shires) single “Crowded Table” to Twitter, the opportunity and visibility for her profession exponentially grew.

One yr later, she was touring as an opener for Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Three days after the death of Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, Spencer joined Isbell and his band in paying tribute to Watts with an encore performance of the Stones’ 1969 classic “Gimme Shelter.”

Rolling Stone Magazine highlighted Spencer’s showstopping tackle Merry Clayton’s “war, children/it’s only a shot away” backing vocals that includes “fierce energy.”

On the again of those performances, she’s become a touring favorite. However, with only a four-track EP and considerate, critically-acclaimed single “Sober and Skinny” recently credited to her title, her reside efficiency catalog is bolstered by her acclaim that has grown from materials outdoors her own.

Breakout cowl song moments for Spencer have been fast and livid of late, following “Crowded Table,” “Gimme Shelter,” and a canopy of Martina McBride’s “Independence Day” at the 2021 Academy of Country Music Honors.

Her pairing with Isbell for a canopy of James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s World” highlights his 2021 album “Georgia Blue.” In addition, her current tackle The Chicks’ “Cowboy Take Me Away” on the Grand Ole Opry resulted in a standing ovation. Also, she closed March 2022’s Academy of Country Music Awards alongside the Brothers Osborne with a performance of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walking,” plus performed the National Anthem on the first evening of primary stage festivities at June 2022’s CMA Fest.

“Performing classics is all the time so enjoyable, and the crowd loves it,” she says.

However, there’s also one thing in the concept that rising as a social media-beloved artist during quarantine put her behind a metaphorical eight-ball. Without assistance from a digital barrier and click-bait sort support, the concept of integrating oneself into the mainstream country conversation in actual time requires familiarity building renown as an alternative of breeding contempt.

Currently, the previous — while “assembly so many various kinds of followers” in the course of — is what she’s excelling on the most in her profession.

Being capable of join with the followers of artists she’s touring, like bluesy Americana fave Nathaniel Rateliff, a retro nation beloved Charley Crockett, and beforehand talked about names like Isbell, Morris, and Nelson is “inspiring and rewarding” for Spencer.

Brittney Spencer performs at the Amp Stage during the CMA Fest in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, June 12, 2022.

“I attempt to make music that may broaden into totally different sonic directions,” she continues. “The fans’ vitality and curiosity about my sound have led many people to say they ‘do not just like the opening act,’ but they arrive as a lot as me after I perform, and they say I’m country — and something else —  so their minds are blown.”

Honing in on that “something else” presents the fascinating second at which her profession, at current, lies.

Foremost, she’s an African-American feminine performer whose touring success mirrors that of different Black female artists of late in the country and Americana areas, together with Joy Clark, Madeline Edwards, Lilli Lewis, Miko Marks, Rissi Palmer, Allison Russell, Adia Victoria, and Yola. Their run of high-profile performances worldwide in 2022 showcases how festivals like Pilgrimage are assuming the lead in pushing for minority fairness in these respective industries.

Brittney Spencer performs at the Amp Stage during the CMA Fest in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, June 12, 2022.

“[Festivals pushing for equity] helps us to navigate many differences in the world, together,” says Spencer. “I’m on stage, and I get to help lead a conversation and a healthy, energetic trade that turns into less unsure every day. In addition, the relationships that artists and followers are developing at these festivals is essential.”

Spencer additionally feels that the nation music business is “diversifying and progressing in such an unimaginable way.” She adds that “correcting the ache of a century of exclusion is an intentional act” and that festivals and streaming services are excelling at proving “sustainable in leading a change-driven dialog in a beautiful way.”

As properly, Spencer is finishing the recording of her debut full-length launch.

“Things took off for me shortly, and I’ve had to be taught so much. Figuring out the right perspective on how I’m going to present myself to the world has taken me a while,” Spencer says.

Brittney Spencer arrives for the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev., Monday, March 7, 2022.

She feels that a lot of her first artist album — and the remainder of her career — might be defined by her excellence as a live performer. Developing a discography that “folks need to hear nightly” and highlighting her elevated give attention to approaching Willie Nelson’s degree of showmanship and connection to his fanbase. 

Spencer feels that she’s undergone “overwhelming” creative and personal adjustments up to now two years. Growing from believing that “individuals like [herself], on paper, do not make it,” to be a lady from Baltimore City who loved The Chicks and now sings their classics on the Grand Ole Opry is definitely spectacular.

“I’m still terrified but grateful and honored to occupy the spaces and stages I occupy. I’m going to method this house in my life with hard work, humility, and a want to share the story of my success with people who see me as a logo of being excited by attaining what appears inconceivable.”

Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival 2022 features headliners Chris Stapleton and Brandi Carlile, plus Grammy-winning R&B and jazz musician Jon Batiste, people rockers The Avett Brothers, and quite a few others at The Park at Harlinsdale on September 24 and 25. Tickets for and extra information about the occasion can be found at PilgrimageFestival.com.

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