Country singer-songwriter Brittney Spencer likes to write while she drives through Nashville; it's where the chorus came to her for her song, "My Stupid Life," the title track of her new debut album.
"Something about the road can open up a person," she said on a recent drive through Music City. "I wrote that right here in my Honda CR-V!"
To listen to Brittney Spencer perform "My Stupid Life" click on the video player below:
The 35-year-old singer has shared the stage with many of her heroes – performing with acts like Willie Nelson, Bob Weir and the Highwomen. In London last summer, at the BST Hyde Park Festival, she played on the same bill with Bruce Springsteen and The Chicks. "I had so much fun," she said about The Chicks. "I fell in love with country music because I fell in love with them." She's even recorded a cover of their song "Cowboy Take Me Away."
Regardless of the big names she shares the stage with, Spencer stays grounded. "I think of everyone that I've gotten to meet, I feel like I've gotten to meet myself more, more than anything," she said. "One of the things I met is just how much I have suppressed so many of my emotions throughout my life. And the road doesn't let you do that. I feel like you just come face-to-face with all of that on the road.
"And I'm so thankful for therapy, I really am," Spencer said. "It got bad. Like, I was having panic attacks, anxiety attacks … It literally could send me into a spiral. It's like, this thing makes me so happy. Why am I so miserable right now? Why am I so sad? Why is this so heavy? The core of who you are is put to the test constantly.
"I don't know, I'm a plus-size Black girl from Baltimore City, in Nashville doing country music. On paper that sounds weird as hell!"
Spencer said she's still learning her worth. "How many times have I let someone make me feel like I wasn't enough?" she asked herself. "And I'm like, looking back through my life and I'm like, dang man. It feels like personal negligence. How am I going to be honest in music if I'm not honest in the mirror?
"The thing that made me fall in love with country music was how honest you could be. I feel like I know what I want more than I ever have," she said. "I want to give everything I've got to this world, for better or worse," she said.
Back in the CR-V, Spencer reflected on the journey she's taken: "You gotta be willing to just dig deep, and I'm learning that. I wanna feel like a creative nomad for as long as I can. Also, I don't know where we are right now. I still have to drive around Nashville with a map. I wish there was Life Navigation: Siri, get yourself together! Help me out!"
But somehow Brittney Spencer is finding her way. "Oh! I know where we are! Martin's Bar-B-Que's on the righthand side! How in the world? … I knew where I was supposed to go all along!"