"The biggest moment I’ve probably ever had just happened on Twitter when Amanda Shires and Maren Morris invited me to sing with The Highwomen" We chat with Brittney Spencer
Hey Brittney, great to talk to you, what have you been up to today?
Hola! Today’s been a little busy one. I have several writing sessions later today that I’m preparing for right now. And then I need to visit a friend later tonight that’s leaving tomorrow to go stay in Canada for a while.
And where are you right now?
What’s been keeping you busy in 2020?
I feel like life has a way of keeping me busy with something. I don’t really know how to just relax [laughs]. This year has given me a lot to write about. So, there’s been lots of that happening. Also, I started releasing a string of songs in July that’ll ultimately be compiled to complete my first ever EP. I wanted to release each song one-by-one to make space for each one to tell its own story. Every song is a little different from the last. So I thought it was important to have a slower release, as opposed to releasing every song all at once. That's definitely kept me busy for sure.
OK, so introduce yourself, and tell us something about you that we won’t find in your bio or on Wikipedia.
Well, I’m Brittney Spencer. Originally from Baltimore. I grew up hearing lots of genres all at once, thanks to having a blended family full of people with varying personal styles and musical preferences. I fell in love with The Chicks as a teenager and immediately submerged myself into country music. It’s kind of been that way ever since. I moved to Nashville seven years ago and I’ve been hitting the ground since then. I like to make songs from my personal experience. I’d like to think my music reflects the intentional interest I take in writing stories that are hella relatable and honest because life has somehow taught me that when it comes to things I feel and experience, I’m not the only one.
You grew up in Baltimore, MD; what’s the most famous thing about the town?
I think the [Baltimore] Ravens are the most famous thing about our town. Well, and Toni Braxton, The Wire, Oprah Winfrey (her first gig as a journalist was in Baltimore,) Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Obay seasoning. Haha. And you can’t forget about our seafood.
You’re living in Nashville now, talk to me about the town, what’s so great about it?
What makes Nashville so great to me is how it honors creativity. I remember intentionally not telling employers in my hometown that I was a musician because I knew I wouldn’t be taken seriously. I knew my dream would be viewed as something that made me seem unreliable or not serious about my life. Living in a town with a music industry kind of eliminated that whole narrative for me. Also, Nashville is big on collaboration, and I appreciate that. We live in such an individualistic society where people aren’t always taught the most effective ways to work well with others - and now I’m suddenly having flashbacks to all my ‘group projects’ in college. [laughs] - I think it’s really cool learning how to engage as part of a much broader community, instead of solely trying to get acclimated to industry culture.
What can you tell me about your new song ‘Sorrys Don’t Work No More’?
So my new song, 'Sorrys Don’t Work No More' is basically an apology. In this song, I’m the person who was unfaithful to my partner, and I’ve been stepping out on them for so long that now my sorrys can’t fix anything. What prompted me to write this song is that I personally know how it feels to be on the receiving end of infidelity, but I wanted to try and see things from the other side. As hard as it is to hear the truth, it’s probably almost as hard to tell the truth.
‘Damn Right, You’re Wrong’ is a cracking song, who’s it about?
It’s mainly about myself. It’s a song about adult peer pressure and fluctuating self esteem. I’ve struggled with both most of my life. What I’ve learned is that when people realize that about you, you become an easy target for manipulation and the biggest people pleaser in the room. And everybody but you sees it right away. Every day, I’m working hard to become less of that sort of person. Though it’s sometimes hard trying not to put yourself in the position to be used when really you just want to be a fun, giving person who feels like they actually belong somewhere.
What’s your process for writing songs?
Honestly, it varies. Sometimes I hear a lyric idea first. Other times, it’s just a melody in my head. I write down lyrics all the time in my phone. And I utilize my voice memo app for any and everything just so I can go back to it. When collaborating, I listen a lot to the stories and experiences being shared in the room. There’s usually a song in there somewhere.
You mentioned an EP earlier...
Wellllll, I’m releasing my final song for my current EP next month. I actually just got the master recording back for it a few days ago. So I’m really eager to share it with everyone. It’s a song about mass shootings. It’s one of the most heartbreaking songs I think I’ve written. I hope it hits home for a lot of us who are basically desperate to not be scared to go to school, church, the movies, or basically anywhere without the possibility of having to live our final moment, take our last breath in front of a bullet.
What’s the biggest challenge as a new artist starting out, particularly in Nashville?
This is a 10-year town, and learning to be content, committed and eager and not desperate or miserable is a skill I think we don’t give enough credit to. [laughs] Learning your own voice and how you want to use it is the biggest challenge and the greatest reward.
You’re pretty active on social media, is it a pain for artists or a blessing?
Both. I don’t like attention, and I know that sounds silly for an artist to say. I love sharing my music and having fun with people. I’ve been training myself to see posting as a way to inform people of what I’m doing and just having fun engaging with people. Honestly, the biggest moment I’ve probably ever had just happened on Twitter when Amanda Shires and Maren Morris invited me to come sing with The Highwomen. So, social media can’t be all that bad most days!
How annoying is it that there’s another Brittney Spencer who’s a singer?
[laughs] It’s not that annoying. My dad once called me and told me he liked my new song. He talked about it for several minutes. We later realized he had actually been listening to the other Brittney. I now consider that a hilarious, fond memory.
Who’s your most famous friend? And what story can you tell me about them?
What a question... [laughs]. Um, probably Skylar Astin. He’s so damn funny and wonderful. One time, I went to his house to write with him and Emily Brimlow. Emily and I didn’t realize how hungry we were until we kept watching Skylar make all these bomb-ass snacks for himself. We left laughing our asses off, realizing we should’ve just asked for food. The next time we went to his house, he bought us the best sushi I’ve ever had. Skylar is one of the kindest, funniest, sweetest people you’ll ever meet.
If you could recommend one song to hear this week, what would it be?
'Never Been In Love' by Gatlin.
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
How many plant babies do I have and do I actually know how to keep them alive. The answer is too many and they’re all living on a prayer!
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
Coffee gives me the worst headaches. Matcha! With oak milk and honey.