Priscilla Block: “… unapologetically being myself.”

Photo by Britton Lee Webb

As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 21 – Fall 2022

Priscilla Block is here to party, and you’ll want to join her. Country music’s next major starlet Priscilla Block is unapologetic, and her listeners keep wanting more. Her massive success began during the COVID-19 pandemic when her single “Just About Over You” went viral. Since then, Block has gone on to have the same single hit #15 on the charts and go RIAA certified gold, play CMA Fest, open for major names like Jon Pardi, been nominated for ACM and CMT awards, and traveled on her first major headlining tour — the Block Party Tour. 

We had the honor of talking to Priscilla about all the achievements in her career so far, with topics spanning from old fan favorite songs to her new duet released with country star Justin Moore — “You, Me, and Whiskey.”

Block is not like any other female in country music — and that’s what makes her an incredible stand-out.

Photo by Joseph Wasilewski

I just want to start by talking about the duet “You, Me, and Whiskey” with Justin Moore. How did you two team up?
Honestly, Justin got the song before I did; his team reached out to me about the song. We played a radio show together in Chattanooga earlier this year, and we were all in the writers’ round together. I’m such a big Justin fan. I’ve been a fan of him since day one. I was already kind of nervous to be in the round with him because he’s got tons of hits. And I’m just up there trying to get one, you know. 

At the end of that show, he came up to me and made it a point to say, “I know you’re just starting out; if there’s anything that I can do for you, just let me know.” It was just the nicest, most memorable conversation. I ended up calling my manager that night. I said, “I met Justin Moore tonight, and he was the nicest guy ever,” just feeling so cool. 

I had no clue that I blew him away so much that he would ask me a couple of months later to be on this song. His team sent the duet to my team and wanted to know if I would sing on it. I think about things pretty hard before I’m gonna say yes to something. I just really want to make sure it’s me, that it’s authentic, and it feels right. So that was the easiest, yes. I mean, I listened to the song, and I was like, this song is so me. I felt like I wrote it. I was like, “Hell yeah, I’ll hop on this song with you.”

Yeah, that’s awesome. I’m so excited for it to be out. I’ve been seeing all your posts, teasing everything. So super excited for you. I do want to talk about your experience touring. What has that been like for you? Just really hitting it hard and crushing all these road dates.
It has been just unbelievable. I mean, the fans — it still blows my mind every time I show up to a show. There’s hundreds of people there. I’m like, “How do you all y’all know?” It was not long ago that I was singing in the bars, just trying to get anybody to come in and listen. It’s just still so special, and I feel so lucky.

Let’s talk about how everything kind of started — TikTok. The single that blew up for you, “Just About Over You,” has been shown so much love — so many people have related to the story. So, tell me about your experience with that song and how it became a top 15 hit and RIAA-certified gold.
I never knew that social media was going to be the way that I would basically somehow launch my career. If you had told me that eight years ago when I moved to Nashville, it would have been the most biggest mind-blowing thing ever. I had spent years and years and years just doing everything that I could to try and put myself out there and knocked every door down to get people to notice. 

When the whole TikTok thing happened, we were in the middle of a pandemic, and I couldn’t play in the bars; I couldn’t go out and do all the things that I was doing to pay my bills and get my music out there. There was a lightbulb moment for me one night when I was like, “You know what, if I can’t make fans in the bars, I’m going to make social media my full-time job. I’m going to post my music online and hopefully reach people around the world.” I had no clue that it was going to become this viral-like crazy thing. It’s just it’s kind of nuts how the whole thing happened.

How do you think your single, “My Bar,” reflects your brand as an artist, because I love your brand. You’re fun, you’re out there, and you’re willing to throw down and party and hang. Why do you think “My Bar” has been such a success?
I think any song that I put out, I want it to be me. This is a song that I wrote four years ago — pre-record deal. I have always been drawn to this song. I thought that maybe a guy would cut it because, you know, every dude loves a bar to throw down. I think there’s something so cool about hearing the girls say, “This is my bar.” It shows that confident side of me too, you know, and I think we all kind of need that sometimes. We’re gonna yell, “I’m not leaving this bar because you’re here tonight, so I’m gonna go party my ass off. And if you want to leave, leave.” I felt like it was a perfect follow-up to “Just About Over You” because “Just About Over You” is obviously sad, and you’re torn. Then “My Bar” comes, and it’s like, this girl has gotten some confidence.

What was the story behind “Thick Thighs Save Lives” because it has inspired so many women to embrace their bodies?
Gosh, I think “Thick Thighs” has really taken a life of its own. I mean, when I was writing it, we only wrote that song because I didn’t want to write another heartbreak song. I didn’t even know how much I needed that song until I was done writing it, you know? I think that sometimes, hard situations are kind of difficult to sing about. You’re taking something that a lot of people don’t want to talk about, like their weight and bringing light to it. The response that we’ve gotten from it of girls being like, “I wore a crop top today because of you.” And just people just sharing their stories. I mean, there was another girl that shared her story about how she had a horrible eating disorder after she got kicked off the gymnastics team. This song has helped her love her body and love herself. 

There is so much body empowerment in the song, and I listen to it whenever I’m not feeling so great about myself. Another cool thing about this song is it’s so much more than just accepting your body. Never let people make you feel like you can’t go and do whatever you want to do or wear what you want. That was me. I had heard multiple times that I needed to lose weight if I was trying to make it in country music. So hopefully, it does inspire people to just go after what the hell they want.

Another great song is “Off The Deep End,” the song you released for your fans. What message do you want them to take away from the track?
Oh my gosh. Go have fun. Go let loose. Hopefully, it inspires people not to take themselves so seriously. No one really cares. You know what I mean? If you’re the drunk girl at the bar one night, be the drunk girl at the bar. If you shake your butt on a freakin’ pontoon boat, do that.

I want to hear about your debut appearance at CMA Fest.
I had so much fun. I mean, this was my first ever official CMA Fest. I played the Riverfront Stage and the Nissan Stadium. I was just in awe, thinking, “What in the world is happening with life right now?” I cried during most of CMA Fest because it was just so eye-opening to me. For the past four, five, and six CMA Fests, I was jerry-rigging a fake flyer with the CMA Fest logo on it, and my CMA Fest schedule was with the bars I was playing.

Now they’re scheduling you!
You know, it’s just nuts. I spent years going to Riverfront watching my favorite artists play, and then the whole Nissan Stadium thing happened. I was just crying my eyes out while I was singing up there. It was so freaking cool.

You were nominated for both the ACM and CMT awards. What was it like to see your name next to so many great artists?
I’ll never forget the ACM Awards because that was my first award show. I got to host the red carpet, which was crazy. Interviewing Dolly Parton?! I don’t even know what happened. Besides that, I love award shows. I’m big into fashion. I think, “What can I wear that stands out?” So just being in a room full of artists that are so insanely talented is so special because you’re like, how did I get this? So super, super cool. And the fact that I was even nominated just — I don’t even have words.

You recently opened for Jon Pardi. What was that experience like?
I’m like a Pardi fan forever. He’s awesome. I love his whole crew. It was so much fun. He stuck his neck out for me even early on, so it’s been really special anytime we get to play shows with them. He’s also one of those guys that’s unapologetically himself. And I dig that.

Photo by Logen Christopher

Do you have a favorite guitar to play right now?
Riversong Guitars — they actually custom-built me a blue guitar that I play all the time. It’s very sparkly. And they’ve just been so great to me. They reached out to me early on in my career and asked if they could send me a good guitar to play. I love playing that guitar.

If you could give any advice to other female artists, what would it be?
It would be to never let anybody try and change who you are. And don’t ever feel like you have to chase what is working right now because there was a long time that I felt like I had to. I was writing songs for what was working at the time. And I wanted to be Carrie Underwood, and I wanted to be Taylor Swift, and I wanted to be Miranda Lambert. But there’s already all those amazing women out there. When things really started working for me was when I started unapologetically being myself and not feeling like I had to morph into something that I wasn’t.

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Gabbi Calvert is a writer, publicist, and artist from Findlay, Ohio who now resides in Nashville, TN. Gabbi is incredibly passionate about all things pop culture, but her forever love is music. Following her passion for entertainment and music, she graduated from Belmont University in April of 2021 with a B.S. in Creative and Entertainment Industries with a minor in music business. Her academic endeavors led her to find a home working in music public relations and she is now a senior publicist at Publicity Nation PR. Not only does Gabbi work and thrive in the music industry, she is also a musical artist herself. She began singing and playing gigs at the age of 12 in her hometown and has an extensive background in performance. Under her stage name Gabrielle Vaughn, she has released two singles. Gabbi is also a member of the all-female cross-genre supergroup The Highway Women. In her free time, Gabbi loves spending time with friends and family, attending drag shows, and bonding with her two guinea pigs Queenie and Peach, and her cat Mitzi.