Friday, December 14, 2007
Rissi Palmer
She sounds like a country singer. She's got the soul of a country singer and the moves to match. But some say Rissi Palmer doesn't look a country singer.

To that, the 26-year-old Palmer responds, "I'm what you might call real corn-fed, I'm a country girl, born and bred." Those are lyrics from her hit single, "Country Girl." The song is the first by an African-American woman to hit the Billboard Hot Country chart in 20 years.

Palmer's success is a big "touche" to the critics but it's an even bigger inner victory for herself. She was offered a pop record deal with top producers who worked with the likes of Janet Jackson. But Palmer held out, while struggling with odd jobs, for her true passion -- country music.

Update: Watch the Live Video interview
I understand some people are making a big deal about the fact that you're black and a country singer, but is it really that big of a deal? Do you think about the "impact" of being a black country singer, or do you just simply see yourself as a good old fashion country girl, and that basically being... all there is to it?
What sparked your passion for country music as opposed to other genres?
This is such an inspiring story! As an African American woman, it just brings joy to see Rissi doing her thing considering that mainstream media potrays us in such a negative light or places us in a one-dimensional view. The story is inspiring for ANY young female who has big dreams! Believe in yourself FIRST and GOD will take care of the rest!! GO GIRL!!
Aside from your Colour what separates you from other female country performers?

How frustrating is it to have to fight stereo types that don't see black artists in anything outside of Rap/Hip Hop and Pop music?
Congratulations to Ms. Palmer to keeping alive the long tradition of Black country music!!!!
I think it's great that you are a country singer. Growing up in the south my father loved country music therefore I became a fan myself. How are you being treated when you perform? Or are they only letting you perform in the so called safe places?
Who are your musical influences? Which singer/songwriters/performers do you admire?
It's amazing, all the talk about being black and singing country music. Go back to the 1800s, everyone pretty much sang the same ole tunes, blacks have always been part of the country music seen. We just separated ourselves from it as generations past by and the introduction of different sounds. Much of your culture is base on where you grow up, I grew up listening to country, R&B, Soul, gospel. Our roots are there, and as much as most Blacks hate to admit it, there's a lot of country in our R & B music.
It's wonderful seeing you sick with your dream of what you want to do. do you see yourself crossing over to sing other types of music down the road ?

wow two inspirational stories today..the Black guy with vitiligo..turning black to white..and a Black country singer..i always wondered what it would be like if a black female or guy sung country music and how they would be looked far as crowds go will blacks,whites,and all other races listen to your music like at a concert togeather without anyone fearing their lives?I hope so.. Go on Girl and sing your country music!! God Bless!!
How have you been recevied by your fellow femanle country singer's, and your male counter parts
I love country music and this country as do you. I really tire of the hyphenated American title or someone’s race always being the story. You love country music, you sing beautifully does it really matter what race you are? Do you also get tired of these questions and labels taking the focus away from discussing your music?
From one corn-fed girl to another:

Congratulations to you! It is always an inspiration to see a person do what he or she wants to do- thank you.

Has your family been supportive of your ambitions, or have they wanted you to do something more "real"?
Dear Rici,
I'm a black female, age 31. I enjoy country music a lot. I am also aware thatin the past american blacks helped build the foundation for what country music is today. I have 3 questions for you.
1. do you think todays mostly white country audience will have trouble accepting a a black country artist?
2. Will/ have you done a music video?
3. What influences your lyrics?
I love country music. Voice and soul quality determine whether or not a person can sing country music. Last I heard, skin color had no effect on vocal talent. You go, girl!!!
No style of music is formed by race, it is shaped by upbringing and experience. I believe all of us have experiences in blues and country, and black americans have deeper roots in country music than in rap music, which is a shallow and superficial form of expression. Good on you Ms Palmer for following your heart and your dream.
Did Mariah Carey have to work as hard to break into R&B? Or Robin Thicke? We do not hear music with our eyes. I think it's absolutely wonderful that Rissi has held to her true being. Her quality has spoken for itself. Keep up the good work. YOU GO GIRL!!!!

1. How old were you when you began to play the guitar?
2. How old were you when you knew you loved country music?
3. Who are your mentors in the country music field?
4. When did your real break come?
5. If you had to do it all over again, what would you have done differently?
I've heard Rissi sing and she has a beautiful voice. I wish her much success. As far as race, I don't think anyone really cares. All that matters is the music. And I'm sure she is a lot safer performing at the Grand Ole Opry than a white performer at a Rap club. People who listen to country music are not barbarians, contrary to what a lot of people think.
In the song "The Last Ten Years" Kenny Rogers says "The best golfer's black, the best rapper's white and it's about damn time".

I haven't heard you sing Rissi, but you are certainly beautiful, and no doubt talented, and I wish you the best of success at whatever you do!
Not that I listen to a lot of country music, but I know what I like. And if this girl has the vocals and talent to sing quality country her skin color should not be an issue. I think it degrades her music to make a big deal out of her status as an African American woman. She should not be considered a novelty. Eminem isn't a "white rapper"--he's just good. So should it be with Rissi Palmer: if she's good, the she just is--she won't need to be saddled with a label.
I'm an African American woman, I've been lov'n country music all my life. What's with it? Music is rhythm, melody, harmony. Music is international, it is not racial. Elvis sang soul and blues. matt

Question for her: What inspires you to write songs like FLowers on my ledge? and are you working on another music video? IF so which one? (I hope flowers on my ledge or All This woman needs?)
I'm Mexican-American. I grew up listening to Buck Owen, Johnny Horton, Johnny Cash, and other AM radio favorites. Does that make me a ground breaker? Does everyone of color have to be a first? I listened to one of Rissi's song on her website. It's okay music but she's no Jessie Colter or Lynn Anderson.
This lady's voice are both rich and fresh. I love country music and now I have new artist to listen to and look out for. If anyone leaving comments and have not heard Rissi's music, It is worth running out to buy.
For all you asking about how other ethinicities wll be recieved check out Charley Pride.. it was rough for him at first inthe 60s but some of my favorite country music came from that man.

A good quote:

"I don't have no skin hang-ups. I'm no color. I'm just Charley Pride, the man."
Country music is differant, there is no color in country music, but what is felt in side of you, and it is a life style.
I'd like to point out to people that Aaron Neville, not by definition a country singer, was nominated for a Country Music Award for his wonderful song, "The Grand Tour".

Good luck to you, Rissi.
i have seen her in concert and i am truely amazed by her voice. she is country girl! i will support her in anyway that i can.

keep up the awesome work rissi!
I stumbled across this talented young woman the other day. Since then I have purchased her CD, have her as my main song on MySpace and my ringtone. Society should stop trying to put a certain race into categories regarding what they sing; and just identify the talent. Good for Rissi and you can bet she earned a fan.
OK, this girl can flat out sing!!! She's gonna scare the pants off some of those wannabe country gals! She's got talent, moxy, and chops. Looking forward to watching her redefine country music!
You could not of come at a better time. Most people appreciate good music, whether the artist is black, white, brown or whatever. But as a black man, if your music is meaningful, it's just what black america needs. We are tired of all the yelling, screaming and non-sense associated with hip-hop. Good luck, look forward to hearing your music.
You are an amazing singer, songwriter and performer. I also notice you are a great guitar player and play a very unique looking guitar. What's the guitar that you are playing in concert and is that part of your secret weapon? ;)
When we quit counting the first, second, thirtyforth time a black does something. First time, OK but come on. Is this really what blacks need to feel accomplished. Does the rest of the world care?
Congratulations on you success Rissi! Embrace all that is bestowed upon you.......
So who hit the charts 20 years ago? It seems like you would include that information.
I went to Highschool in Eureka, Mo. with Rissi. She has always been a cut above the rest and an incredible talent to boot. We are both musicians, we both tour, and its incredible to see how far apart we are but have a common thread in what we do.

Adam Christensen
Nothing Left to Lose
This is to those who have responded:

America I love you.

I think we're going to be alright after all.

Continue to keep your minds open and having unconditional love and respect for eachother.

I'm loving the change in mindset, and just had to commend you all.
I knew Rissi as a teenager at Eureka High School and she was an inspiration then. I'm thrilled that she's hitting the big time! For anyone who hasn't heard her album, you gotta get it. She's got a gorgeous voice and she's a sweetheart!

You go, Rissi! We love you.
Little Richard grew up listening to country music. Ray Charles was heavily influenced by country music. Conway Twitty said that if there is a line bewteen country and soul music it's a very thin one. People being shocked that an African American woman wanting to sing country music should look up there history. Plenty of African Americans grew up listening to it, were influenced by it, and have performed it. If anything she is carrying on a " Family Tradition " so to speak.
Bravo to you Rissi!

What a wonderful way to begin the New Year with such a great accomplishment!

Here's to many more successes!
Who cares what your skin color is! I saw you last night at the Opry and you were absolutely tremendous. What a beautiful voice and stage presence. Congrats!
What sparked your passion for country music as opposed to other genres? You are a pioneer.
This is great news!!!! The last 3 years have really seen more minorities on the country scene. There was a girl named Audrey Tucker on a show called Starting Over who was a country singer, Jamie Foxx performed with Rascal Flatts, Beyonce performed with Sugarland and the list goes on. This is great news for country music and minority listeners. I hope that the buzz continues to see the rise of more minorities on the front lines of country music.
Have we forgotten that one of the most prominent black country singers out there was Ray Charles? He had hit after hit after hit!! We may remember him for his rendition of America the Beautiful...or his collective R & B songs. But let's not forget that he did the ultimate and sang country also!
It is not far reaching for a African American person to sing country music. We [Black Folks] love it, especially those of us with southern roots. Lets not forget about Tina Turner, Ray Charles and others who are Black, sung country music and made hits. Regardless of Palmer's reason for becoming a county singer...we should all be proud of this young lady's accomplishments and talent...being a black woman is just a plus.
Inspiring story, and I am very happy for Rissi's success, but the african american influence on the genre of country music is not anything new at all. I grew up hearing country music that my dad listened to and Charlie Pride was all over the radio, many top country bands routinely feature black musicians.
Why do we always have to remember who is black, hispanic, white, red, green and purple? Palmer has a gift that happens to be within the genre of country music. I am proud to be an American - and proud that Palmer is an American and contributing to the enjoyment that goes with singing country music and the enjoyment of me listening to her music. However, I'm not so far removed from society to congratulate her for climbing the mountain of controversy that goes with her race and her success.
I'm very proud of this young woman and although some people constantly say skin color shouldn't matter, I'm now beginning to wonder how true that actually is, as I have yet to see even 'one' popular show (and that includes Oprah Winfrey) ask her to appear on at least one of their programs. Her voice is absolutely beautiful and her music is great, so what's the hold-up? If they could push Carrie and the others, why not Rissi who've just as talented (in some cases maybe even more so)? I just don't get it y'all!!!!

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