In a year that has been incredibly tough for so many artists, Nashville-based Priscilla Block is one of the few who has seen their career flourish thanks in no small way to the power of social media, something you can read more about in our recent article https://www.bellesandgals.com/2021/04/29/nashville-based-priscilla-block-to-release-self-titled-ep/
With her first EP as a signed artist released a few weeks ago to much critical acclaim, it was great to be offered the chance to chat to her via zoom and she really was a total pleasure to interview. The short time we had flew by, I hope you enjoy the read and that her passion for her craft comes though as well as it did while we were talking.
1. LH Hi Priscilla, thanks so much for your time. What a crazy year it’s been for you….looking back, can you really believe what’s happened?
PB No! A year ago, practically to this point ….oh wait, it’s June 1st today? ….a year ago TO THIS DAY I was moving out of my apartment . I was broker than I’d ever been, the pandemic hit and my job completely stopped. I was cleaning for Airbnb and singing and playing live music…so everything stopped. I had no clue what was going to happen…how I was even going to survive to be honest! To think this is the year that changed it all for me, I’m kind of speechless! The one thing I could do was to dive into social media harder than I ever had.
2. LH Yes it’s truly amazing. You just mentioned how you couldn’t play shows a year ago, but things are thankfully opening up again now and you’ve just been out on the road again in the last few days I see. That must have felt so good!
PB Yes it’s been incredible! The pandemic was an unfortunate situation, but I’m grateful that people have had time to listen to my music and I think it’s going to make the live shows even bigger and better.
LH Yeah I was watching footage on your Insta of your show with fans singing word perfect to ” Just About Over You”, that must have been so emotional for you especially as it’s the song that kickstarted everything?
PB It was…and that wasn’t even from the show we played that night! We went to get a drink somewhere after and there was a band playing and we were invited to hop up and sing a song! It was so special to realise that this song has reached a lot of people!
3. LH For those who don’t know your backstory, it may seem that you are practically an overnight sensation thanks to Tik-Tok, but you arrived in Nashville 7 years ago and have been working so hard on your craft , as well as taking on jobs like the cleaning one you mentioned earlier so you could carry on doing what you love best. Has that time, effort and what you’ve learned during those years put you in a better position to deal with your success?
PB Yeah. I’m so grateful for the years I spent in Nashville grinding, and the ups and the downs…a LOT of downs! It definitely prepares you for what the industry is, there’s a lot of great times and a lot of not so great times. And with me running around now doing radio stuff and shows, I think those years built a lot of stamina. I spent so many nights playing four hour gigs in bars really to nobody …it builds a lot of endurance up! And it makes the pay off that much sweeter, I know what it’s like to be broke, to play to no-one, to dream about having a song on the radio . You appreciate it so much more when you spend years trying to get there.
4. LH Obviously a huge part of what’s happened in the last year is you signing your record deal with UMG and putting out your first EP as a signed artist. How much input did you get into everything that release entailed?
PB I made every single decision. The songs I wanted, the way I wanted the visualisers to look, the cover art which was shot in my house….I’m a very visual person and that was a very important thing. When I was trying to decide who to sign with it was very important that I’d keep all creative control. It was great to hear ” we want you to do it how YOU want to do it” when I was getting ready to sign. Then I saw the first project roll out and it was as they’d said, they totally let me run with it. But they’ve been doing it a lot longer than I have so we worked as a team. It’s been really special.
5. LH When you write a song can you hear the arrangements in your head that you’d want if you ever went into a studio to record it?
PB When I wrote all the songs for the EP I knew exactly the direction I’d want to take it if I recorded it. I think that’s as sign that I really like a song if I’m already hearing how the production’s going to work and even what the video’s going to look like!
6. LH Which part of the entire creative process do you enjoy the most?
PB Gosh it’s hard to say what my real favourite is. I love writing songs but I love creating a visual for people to understand the song even more. Some people just sing along with whatever they hear and I love to see something with the song, creating videos is really, really exciting.
7. LH How did you decide on the producer? And the musicians…did you use your band or session musicians?
PB I stuck to the producers who’d worked on my demo…they are three of my closest friends in Nashville and we’ve made music together in out bedrooms! It’s their first major label production. And we pulled session players…I’m a huge fan of Luke Combs and Jason Aldean and asked ” how did they create that vibe?” …we were able to pick and strategise on the type of music I heard in my head, it was awesome.
8. LH I love how the order of the track listing takes the listener on a journey from you being at rock bottom after a break up to you coming out a stronger person. But the songs weren’t written with a concept EP in mind were they, but pulled from differing stages of your back catalogue?
PB Yes, these songs are just ones I wrote in a place of needing to write THAT song THAT day. Not because I needed to write for this project, but either at high or low times in my life. So when they said are you ready to put out an EP I was like sure, I’ve been writing songs for a long time so let’s just pull out the ones I love the most! It was strategic placing the songs where I did, from someone falling apart to putting themselves together again, I’m so glad you see that!
9. LH The EP definitely showcases your much more vulnerable side in places compared to PMS and Thick Thighs which fans finding you via Tik-Tok may associate you with. Was it important for you to demonstrate your versatility as an artist?
PB Yeah, I’m not naive and know that people want more….I was falling into the direction of being the ” funny girl” and it was important to show the vulnerable side of me, and I love writing those types of songs. I love hearing those types of songs too! With “Sad Girls” I was crying the day I wrote it !
LH So do you find it easy to bear your soul in a writing room?
PB I think there’s no point in writing songs unless you’re writing about real life experiences. That’s what I want for my music, I’m not going to write about something I don’t know about …people see through it! A lot of it is about keeping my writing group a lot of the same people. I can be my most vulnerable self with some of my best friends. Why fix what’s not broken!
10. LH And you had the honour of your Opry debut the day after the EP dropped…can you put in a nutshell what that meant?
PB It was a dream come true. When I was a little girl and I started singing country songs, when you think about Nashville you think about the Grand Ole Opry …it was amazing. I think I went through every emotion that day!
11. LH Just very quickly as time has caught up with me….what’s next on the agenda when if comes to releases? Another single from the EP? A song that’s not from it? Is there an album planned?
PB We are definitely working on new music which is exciting….there’s more coming at some point!
LH Such a tease!
PB I know!! I’m going to continue to push this project, there’s some more visuals on the way, so that’s kinda the main focus right now.
12. LH And your tour schedule for the rest of the year looks pretty busy too, including of course dates opening for Ashley McBryde. Have your paths crossed before? I know you’re both CMT Next Women of Country artists, albeit in different years….
PB. We actually got to have drinks and meet for the first time the other night, she was so sweet and wanted to get together before we hit the road. It was awesome!
LH It would be great if you two wrote together I think!
PB We may have time between shows!
13. LH And finally…please tell me that there’s plans afoot for you to hop over to the UK when things permit?
PB Absolutely! I’m ready! Someone say when and I’m there!
LH I’ll send over my private jet…