By Aaron Wagner
This past week in country music, something truly special happened.
Before we get to that, we need a refresher as to what makes country music and Nashville so special.
It’s a town where people move across the country to chase their dreams, because they can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s a town that is referred to as a “ten-year town” because it sometimes takes that long before someone gets their big break. It’s a town where artists and songwriters are truly friends and rooting for each other’s success, even if it means they’re not in the spotlight themselves. It’s the same town where millions of tourists visit and go from bar to bar on Lower Broadway, listening to these talented people share their talents, stories and passion with an audience… all while these artists play for nothing more than tips.
Back at the end of February, my friends Marques and Kelsey visited me and as one does when you’re in Nashville you hop on a pedal tavern and visit the bars on Lower Broadway. After our pedal tavern and on our way to Tootsies, we stopped at a small Jack Daniels bar in Bridgestone Arena.
It wasn’t a huge place. There wasn’t a dance floor for line dancing. But there was a girl playing guitar and singing. She wasn’t famous. We didn’t know her. But she was good. She played her favorite covers, our favorite covers, and then some of her own songs. It was a fun hang as one gets accustomed to in Nashville. Everyone in this town is really talented.
But my friend Kelsey was hooked and instantly became a fan of this singer’s music. She followed her on social media and regularly sent me video clips of her songs and covers. I filed that in the back of my head as “interesting” and soon realized that that singer was resonating with a fan on a deeper level. It was only fair to assume that there were thousands more that she could resonate with on that level.
Fast forward six months and that singer in that small Nashville bar is having her moment with her new song “Just About Over You.”
Enter Priscilla Block.
Priscilla isn’t signed to a record label, yet. Rather she’s one of those artists who has hustled for the past five plus years playing in Nashville bars, while cultivating a strong fan following on Instagram and as of late Tik Tok. She shared a clip of her singing “Just About Over You” on Tik Tok in mid-July and fans loved it so much that they collectively helped raise the funds so Priscilla could record the song.
When she released “Just About Over You” it climbed to the top of the country and all-genre charts on iTunes almost immediately. She’s been interviewed by Rolling Stone, featured in Billboard, and set to appear on The Bobby Bones Show later this week. In less than a week the song’s already been played over 400,000 times on Spotify. She went viral in a hurry.
This is what makes Nashville and country music special. Not everyone makes it, but everyone has the potential to.
She built a connection with fans whether it was on social media or folks that listened to her play in person. I think it’s her authenticity that resonates with people, whether it’s the powerful lyrics or just her personality. Priscilla believed in herself and her music.
In a frustrating year where there hasn’t been a lot to get excited about from an entertainment standpoint, Priscilla’s story is a reminder as to how special country music and Nashville is. All of those things I mentioned earlier – moving to chase dreams, a ten-year town, grinding it out in small bars – is what makes it so special.
And when someone finally has their moment like Priscilla is having…it’s pretty damn cool to see.