Brittney Spencer has been making waves on the country music scene for years, but she is reaching new heights heading into 2022. About to begin her first headlining tour and working on her debut album, Spencer promises an exciting year ahead. In an interview with American Songwriter, she reflects on her successes over the past year and gushes about her musical inspirations.
First, as she navigates the ups and downs of rising fame, Spencer reveals how her loved ones and fellow musicians have kept her afloat.
“People have really championed and pushed me into the place where I am in my career. I just feel so overwhelmed with just gratitude for that,” says Spencer. “It’s been just this moment of just recognizing that I get to be more of myself.”
Between her 2020 EP Compassion and her first full-length album debuting this spring, Spencer is showing more vulnerability in her music than ever. Her profound lyrics and stunning vocals have recently landed her numerous titles, including Spotify’s 2021 Hot Country Artist to Watch and a spot on CMT’s Next Women of Country.
Yet, as her audience grows, so does the pressure to create art that her fans feel connected to. “There is pressure with that,” she admits. “But there is also a lot of learning about myself, and I’m more focused now than I ever have in my life about what I want to do, where I want to go, what I want to do.”
Her musical direction all started when she was young and a friend at church suggested she listen to The Chicks. Her passion for music, and country music especially, only grew from there. In fact, it wasn’t until Spencer discovered Taylor Swift that she believed she could make country music herself.
“Dixie Chicks made me like it. Taylor made me feel like I could do it,” she recalls. Spencer, a Baltimore native, was unsure that she had the right voice for country music. But Swift made her realize that country music was about more than having a certain accent. “[Swift] didn’t have a twang—she’s from Pennsylvania,” Spencer points out. “She’s very poetic, and I felt like so much of that… It was me.”
Aside from Swift and The Chicks, Spencer has a wide range of musical heroes who influence her writing. “I like Ray Charles, I love Beyonce, I love Miranda Lambert. I think Jazmine Sullivan is the greatest singer alive,” she lists, to name a few.
Spencer believes the diversity of the genres, singers, and songwriters that she admires gives her music a sound that is entirely her own. “I feel like I have a really wide stretch of what influences me, which is probably why it still made my songs sound so different,” she observes.
Now, with a platform of her own, Spencer aims to inspire others as each of these artists inspired her. “It was moments that I heard another person that made me feel like maybe there was a place for me here,” she says. “So I’m inspired by a lot. I try to embody that in my music.”
When it came to putting together her first album, she picked the songs that moved the people close to her. “I have friends that I love who I just trust their ears like crazy. They’re the same ones that helped me pick out the songs for my Compassion EP,” she explains. “But I also have a team there, so I bounce things off some of my team, and I just… I think I also really rely on a lot of the creatives that I kind of come across.”
With her first headlining tour about to kick off and her first full-length album debuting in just a few months, Spencer’s star only continues to rise. Her music is influenced by countless artists who came before her, but Spencer has undoubtedly paved her own path in country music.