Brittney Spencer's Country Dreams on This Week's Biscuits & Jam
About Biscuits & Jam: In the South, talking about food is personal. It's a way of sharing your history, your family, your culture, and yourself. Each week Sid Evans, Editor in Chief of Southern Living, sits down with celebrity musicians to hear stories of how they grew up, what inspired them, and how they've been shaped by Southern culture. Sid takes us back to some of their most cherished memories and traditions, the family meals they still think about, and their favorite places to eat on the road.
Episode 15: August 8, 2021
Brittney Spencer moved from her native Baltimore to Nashville in 2013, and began busking downtown about six months later. As she honed her craft, she also toured as a backing vocalist for Carrie Underwood and other artists. But the spotlight turned Brittney's way in 2020, as she released her first EP called Compassion to rave reviews, and country superstar Maren Morris–in a CMA award acceptance speech–credited Brittney and other Black women in country music for their contributions to the genre. Since then, Brittney has made her Grand Ole Opry debut, collaborated with Maren's supergroup the Highwomen, and been named to CMT's Next Women of Country.
On Making Her Opry Debut
"Someone told me right before I went and made my debut: 'the audience is rooting for you… They are so excited. Someone comes for the first time and they just want to have a good time. They're just rooting for you.' And I really felt that love when I went out on the stage. And it was a pretty incredible night. It was actually the first night that the Opry was at full capacity since the pandemic started last year. It was a pretty big night for me for multiple reasons, including that communal sigh of relief that you feel… And just stepping into that circle— I wish I could put it into words, it just feels surreal."
On Growing Up in Baltimore
"I love Baltimore. It's home. It's such an eclectic town. I hear so many people talk about their small town and I'm like, Baltimore is not a small town, but I will tell you this. It is a small world… I grew up in church just singing. But people will go to different churches. And people that I never went to school with, never went to church with, I will know them someway/somehow. I don't know how it happens, but it just does. We probably never even lived in the same neighborhood, but we had common interests and it took us to similar places."
On Her Mom's Influence on Her career
"My mom believed in me long before I did. She would do things like get me a class ring in high school with a cowboy hat on one side or cowboy boots on another side. She got me my first pair of cowboy boots. I never really had high self-esteem, especially as a kid. She just believed in me. My mom is a dreamer. And so she just felt like I would do really cool things that I'm doing right now. She saw it long before I did."
On Her Hit Song "Compassion"
"I started writing it while I was on the plane coming back from the U.K. I was singing background vocals on the tour for this band. And I, for whatever reason, just couldn't go to sleep. And so I just started writing this song. It's something about getting outside of your world, like your neighborhood, your city, your town, your state and, in this case, I guess, your country that makes you consider your world view –– and how you see it and how you think the world sees you…And I just remember thinking there's so many shoes that I've never worn. There are shoes that I wear that other folks will never be able to put on. Some people wouldn't even survive in some of the shoes that I've had to wear and I wouldn't survive in some of the shoes other people have had to wear, some of their experiences. I just thought about that quite a bit. And I just thought, what if we were all just a little more compassionate and just recognized that everybody's going through something."
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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