Create Out Loud

with Jennifer Louden

2 | Rissi Palmer: Be Your Own Creative Gatekeeper & Save YOURSELF

Episode Description

If anyone understands "creative Rock Bottom," it's Award-winning singer-songwriter Rissi Palmer.


In this episode:


  • What caused her to go from hitting the Top 40 on the country charts to working retail for minimum wage
  • How she learned to not take rejection personally
  • How you can stop worrying about what people think and just make your art
  • What happened when Rissi finally decided to pick herself and stop waiting to be saved
  • Hosting her radio show Color Me Country with Rissi Palmer on Apple Music Country and the exciting work she’s doing to support new country artists of color through her Color Me Country Artist Grant Fund.


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“Southern Soul” artist Rissi Palmer has had an extraordinary musical career—from the Top 40 Country charting singles of her debut album, Rissi Palmer, in 2007 to her critically hailed most recent album, Revival, in 2019—with fun creative projects, a soul crushing lawsuit, and loads of life lessons in between.

These days, much of her creative energy is going toward hosting her own radio show Color Me Country with Rissi Palmer on Apple Music Country and the exciting work she’s doing to support new country artists of color through her Color Me Country Artist Grant Fund.

Along the way, her journey was filled with career whiplash, heartbreak, and...best of all, soulful revival.

Rissi thought she had it made at 25, which turned out to be both incredibly difficult (because it wasn't true) and an incredible opportunity to choose herself. Like so many creatives, she reached a point when she realized that no one is coming to save her, so she decided to be her own gatekeeper and create what she wanted and help other people’s great music be discovered.

I was so grateful to get to be part of this very honest, very moving conversation.

We talked about what it was really like to be back at the Grand Ole Opry after more than a decade away from the Nashville spotlight.

“I got to do three things: show them where I’m from, what I’m about, and who brought me here.”

This experience was an even bigger deal for her the second time around because of everything she went through after her initial brush with fame, as the first Black woman, at the time, to hit the country charts in 20 years.

She gave us a peek into what it was like to go from budding star to working retail for minimum wage, why she was so hard on herself about the mistakes she made, the turmoil that nearly derailed her aspirations for good, and how she lifted herself back up into a space where she felt confident creating and getting her music out into the world again.

“We’re all looking for this savior—whether it’s a publisher, a publishing deal, a record contract...and the savior becomes something different every time you get close; it keeps moving.”

Rissi talked about how she had to keep learning, over and over again, that she has to pick herself and do her own work, which has led her to more fullness of self and fullness of creativity.

Of her creative process, she shares:

“Some things just gnaw at you. And those are the things I feel need to be written. And so however it comes to me, if it keeps coming to me, then I'm like— it's something.”

...this, mixed with inspiring and intimate collaborative magic, which made me a little wistful and wonder where I can find more collaborators and supporters like hers.

Rissi and I agreed that what's most empowering about getting your work out into the world on your terms is how it changes you as a person and as a creator. There's a deep agency and deep ownership in the process.

I don't think we can fully develop the energy and flavor of our own creative voice if we’re waiting to be found, discovered, and for the gatekeeper to say ‘yes.’

About her current creative focus, Color Me Country with Rissi Palmer on Apple Music Country, she shared:

“It started out as, ‘I just want to tell these people's story.’ Because I know how important it is to feel acknowledged, and to feel like what you've done matters. So it was really important to me to impart that feeling on other people. Because I know what it's like to read an article about Black country artists and have your name completely omitted from it, or to have it boiled down to a few people when you know that it's a larger thing. It started out as  that — just me, wanting to tell my story, and then tell other people's story, and have it out there, so there's a historical record of it somewhere.”

And historic it is!

We also touch on topics such as body image, aging, relationships, the pandemic, and so much more.

Join me as we discover how Rissi Palmer creates out loud.

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© 2020 Jennifer Louden | Photos by Heaven McArthur | Privacy Policy