Rissi Palmer Beacons Positivity with a Country Sound
Since releasing her self-titled CD in October 2007, singer-songwriter Rissi Palmer has received widespread media attention including The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, People Magazine, GIANT, New York Post, VIBE, CBS Saturday Early Show, Huffington Post, Extra, CNN, and many more.
Palmer's singles "Country Girl,” “Hold On To Me,” and “No Air” were all on the Billboard Country Charts, making her the first African-American woman to have a song on the country charts in 20 years. She recorded an exclusive EP for Starbucks, her videos were fan favorites on CMT and GAC and she has been an invited performer at the White House and the Grand Ole Opry on numerous occasions. Rissi’s songs have appeared on television shows such as Saving Grace, Army Wives, and Heartland and in the feature film The Woodsman starring Kevin Bacon.
2013 saw the release of her children’s LP, simply entitled Best Day Ever, featuring 10 songs---all happy, all light, all “comfort food” for the soul and is what Rissi calls “a sophisticated children’s album” while also being melodic nostalgia for adults. Two tracks from the album have recently been featured on Smiles Ahead and Heart Beats, all-star kindie music compilation cds sold exclusively through Hallmark.
Rissi is now in a new phase with the release of The Back Porch Sessions, a 5 song EP described as “Southern Soul”. This song collection blends together all her musical influences – from country to soul and R&B and has received rave reviews from publications such as Rolling Stone Country, PerezHilton.com, People Magazine as well as an appearance on the nationally syndicated Tavis Smiley Show and NPR’s The State of Things.
Interviewer: How and when did you start making music?
Rissi Palmer: I knew I wanted to be a singer when I was 5 years old. I remember sitting with my fisher price record player, listening to records, and thinking about what my albums would sound like. I started singing professionally when I was 16 and joined Team 11. Team 11 was a performance group sponsored by KPLR TV in St. Louis. The group traveled around the country performing for corporate events and fairs.
Who were your early inspirations, an how have they changed since then?
As a kid, I was inspired by artist like Chaka Khan, Patsy Cline, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Prince, and James Taylor (I was influenced by my parents listening habits). It’s funny, I’m still very much inspired by those artists, although my tastes have definitely expanded. Currently, I’m inspired by Chris Stapleton, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Lizz Wright.
If you could work with anyone, who would it be?
If I could work with anyone, it would be Prince. We met when I was 25 and discussed working together. He would request I send him my songs and would send me his thoughts of the songs. Unfortunately, we never got a chance to record anything and I wish more than anything that we could have.
What do you like most about the industry?
The thing I like most about the industry is when the underdog or person who has worked hard with almost no recognition makes it. Chris Stapleton is like that. Here you have you this ridiculously talented artist who spent YEARS in Nashville singing and writing for other people. Suddenly, he’s everywhere and getting the accolades he deserves. It gives hope that cream really does rise to the top.
What do you hate most about the industry?
What I hate most about the industry is that the most talented or hardest working person doesn’t always make it. There are people that are WAY more talented to those you see in the limelight that are working at Target right now.
What message do you want to send with your music?
The message I aim to send with my music is one of positivity. There is so much negativity and anger in the world right now. I believe that people, especially my people, need messages of hope, calls to action, and love. I’m working on a new album and a children’s album right now and I’m trying to spread those themes throughout both projects. Now is not the time to be passive…
What's the biggest challenge you face as an independent artist?
The biggest challenge I face as an independent artist is exposure. There is so much content out here, you have to fight to be seen and heard. Streaming and the internet have been a blessing and a curse to artists. Now you can instantly touch listeners in a matter of seconds but you have to break through the noise and hold what are becoming increasingly short attention spans.
What else would you like your listeners to know about you?
I would like my listeners to know how passionate I am about what I do and that it’s not as easy as it looks. As an independent, I wear many hats. I’m the agent, the manager, the producer, the writer, and the personality. I’ve had to fight every step of the way to stay in this game. It’s hard and often discouraging but I LOVE what I do and I’m thankful to be able to make it my full-time job.
Where can we hear more of your work?
You can hear my music and catch updates on w
hat’s going with me on any one of my social media pages: