In just under two years, Priscilla Block has gone from a hopeful singer-songwriter, grinding it out in Nashville’s songwriting circles, to a New Female Artist award nominee at the upcoming ACM Awards.
Her shot at country stardom came during a difficult time. In early 2020, Block was struggling to make ends meet after losing her job and her apartment. Without a place to play anymore due to the pandemic, she turned to TikTok to experiment with promoting her music, and soon started building a fan-base with her relatable lyrics and charm.
After uploading a snippet of “Just About Over You,” a tune about relapsing after nearly moving on from a tough breakup, Block’s fate was sealed. The song took off on the platform, garnering hundreds of thousands of views.
With the attention of multiple major labels, Block signed to UMG Nashville’s Mercury Nashville. The powerhouse label then shipped “Just About Over You” to country radio as her debut single.
“Brian Wright, Cindy Mabe and Mike Dungan have been the most supportive and encouraging people that I’ve ever met,” Block says of her new label home execs. “I’ll never forget when I signed with UMG, Cindy looked at me and she said, ‘Let me learn from you.’ That was the moment that I knew that I was in the right place, because no was trying to change me.”
Since then, Block has commanded the attention of the industry. She was named part of MusicRow‘s Next Big Thing Class of 2021, as well as many other artist to watch lists from Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify, CMT, and more.
Today (Feb. 11) she releases her debut album, Welcome To The Block Party. Among the collection’s 12 songs, all co-written by Block, the bold new artist has set the tone for her career to be filled with vulnerable, honest songs—with a splash of sass.
On Welcome To The Block Party, Block tackles heartache with “Wish You Were The Whiskey,” personal set-backs with “Just About Over You,” self-assertiveness with “My Bar,” and no-holds-barred confidence with “Thick Thighs” and “Peaked In High School.”
“I’m a big Taylor Swift fan. I connect to artists that I feel like get me. People want to be around authentic people,” Block says of her songwriting. “All these songs are me: my experiences, and my life. It’s the way that I want my music to be. Where fans can relate to it and be like, ‘Holy crap. She’s just like me, she’s gone through this shit. She’s real.'”
Since Block entered the country music space, fans and members of the media have grabbed hold of her messages of self-love and body positivity. Her infectious anthem “Thick Thighs,” where Block sings “I can’t be the only one who likes extra fries over exercise,” is a big fan favorite.
When asked if she likes being known as the “body positive country artist,” Block owns it. “I take that as the biggest compliment ever. I’m a curvy girl and for so long, I didn’t love being a curvy girl. My body changed so much when I hit puberty and I spent so many years of my life hating my body and myself.
“When I wrote ‘Thick Thighs,’ that was one of the biggest moments that changed my artistry. It changed who I was as a person. It was like a switch for me. And people want to hear that, people need to hear that! It really gave me a lot of confidence to own that.
“At the end of the day, if you talk about your flaws in songs, or things that people might consider a flaw, they can’t call you out about it. If I see a magazine one day that says I’m fat, at least I have a song called ‘Thick Thighs!,'” she adds with a laugh.
Another moment of confidence and personal growth showcased on Welcome To The Block Party is “I Know A Girl,” featuring background vocals from one of the song’s co-writers, Hillary Lindsey.
“That song was something that I had never said before,” Block says. “I remember the day that I wrote it, Hillary Lindsay had just asked me, ‘Why are you the way that you are? You’re like my little sister, but I want to know more about you.’ We just started talking about my life and how I’m the life of the party, but that I’ve also gone through a lot.
“I feel like it’s an older sister talking to the younger me. It [represents] the idea that you don’t need anybody to get you through something. You got that in you. That’s really powerful.”
A stand out track on Block’s debut is her live-show ready, head bobber, “Ever Since You Left.” Reminiscent of fellow North Carolinian Luke Combs‘ “When It Rains It Pours,” Block lets her ex know that she’s been “having a hell of a time with you off my mind.”
Another great song, “Peaked In High School,” finds Block moving on from those in her past who didn’t believe in her. The music video interweaves clips of the singer as a child, dealing with bullying, with her all grown giving a victorious speech at graduation.
In the video, a text message appears that tells young Block that she would look “way hotter” if she “got slimmer.” The text was a real message Block received as a teen.
“I got a message from two of my guy friends telling me that I would be way prettier if I lost weight. We used that exact message that I got in that music video,” Block says.
“I wrote ‘Peaked In High School’ with some of my best friends. We were out in Ohio and ‘Just About Over You’ was blowing up. We were all just hanging out, talking about how I started hearing from people that I hadn’t heard from in forever. People that I could have sworn hated me in high school,” Block recalls. “There’s a lot of people that made me feel really bad about myself in high school, but now they are reaching out. It’s a good testament to be nice to people.”
But now, Block is far from her high school days and on top of the world. With her debut album out, a hit single, and her first ACM nomination, Block is on her way to being country music’s bold and hilarious it girl.
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