Priscilla Block has had a mammoth year – going viral on TikTok and signing with Universal Music Group, before releasing her self-titled EP. Here, we talk to Priscilla Block about the project and her year so far.
Hello, hello. How are you? How are things in Nashville at the moment?
I’m so good. We’re getting back to playing some live shows, there’s definitely still a lot of restrictions but it’s starting to turn the corner.
It must be kind of crazy – obviously, before you went into the pandemic things hadn’t quite exploded and now you’re in this position where things are going back live but you’ve had this massive success over the past year. It must be a lot to wrap your head around?
It is. A year ago at this point, I didn’t know if I was getting anywhere with my music and I didn’t know if I was going to have to leave Nashville – I didn’t know what was going to happen. It’s so cool to see – last year was a year where I was just figuring out how to work, even though I wasn’t able to work, I was putting all of my energy into social media. It’s great to see that now I’m going to get to meet the people that have been behind their phones that have seen me online. I’m really excited.
With this whole project what I loved the most about it was how authentic it was, it’s so real. I think part of that has got to be the fact that you wrote a lot with your friends. You seem to have established that really close knit friendship with the Nashville songwriters, I like that you’ve written it with the people who have been a part of your journey.
Yeah, it was really important to me, it wasn’t a question of not wanting to write with certain people – it just happened that the songs I loved were the ones I’d written with some of my best friends. I’m not naive enough to know that not everybody gets this shot. It’s really cool for me to show the people that I really believe in – my producers – that I did it. They had never worked on a project like this and it’s just cool for all of us to kind of be on the journey together.
A lot of this started with you going viral on TikTok. Did you have a plan going in to using the app or was it a question of just figuring it out as you went along?
A lot of people have asked me ‘how do you figure out TikTok? What was the plan?’ When I got on TikTok, I thought it was a dancing app, so I had no clue. I never thought it was going to be the place that my music took off. I just started started posting a lot of my original songs that I had had for years and it just worked.
Currently, one of those songs that was a huge part of that was ‘Just About Over You.’ It’s done amazing things, I think it’s just so real – something we can all relate to – that just feeling of just being like, ‘dammit, why do you have to come back now?’
It’s crazy the reaction that song had. I mean hundreds of fans all over the world crowdfunded me to be able to record that song. It’s such a special song for me and makes you realise that there are such good people in the world.
Even though it came from heartbreak and from pain, some good came out of it.
I’m really thankful for that heartbreak really.
It’s amazing how you can turn that around. Obviously, having it crowdfunded also makes it that much more meaningful, because you’ve had people be part of the journey from the beginning, which is kind of an amazing thing.
Yeah, it definitely exciting. I feel like I’ve always wanted to do music for me, but I do music to reach people and let people I don’t know feel understood or whatever. I don’t see a point of really doing music if other people can’t be on that journey with me. I really try to keep the fans involved with everything, whether it’s showing what I’m doing in my everyday life, or letting them vote on cover art.
They’re going to be engaging with it much more – being a part of the journey in a very real way rather than just being fans.
I mean, there’s a lot of pain in this this project in a beautiful way – you know from ‘I Bet You Wanna Know’ to ‘Just About Over You’ to ‘Sad Girls Do Sad Things,’ just because everyone’s been there but what does that song mean to you? Can you talk about the evolution of that song in particular?
I feel like ‘Sad Girls Do Sad Things’ was a song that I had to write for myself. It’s almost like the acceptance or forgiveness, that I needed to give myself. I wasn’t even going to put it on the project and as I was just looking at the songs that I had, I felt like I’m such a girl that puts everything out there and people are always like, ‘I feel like I know you’ and I want that. That song was important for me to put on the project to show that I have gone through some really, really sad times in my life. I can be the life of the party or I can go through sad times – people needed to see that side of me too. I think it was a song that girls need – just because you go through a breakup and you make mistakes, it doesn’t make you a bad person.
No, it normalizes pain, and it normalizes all the crap that we all go through.
But I love that you love that song, because it’s one of my favourites.
It’s definitely one of my favourites. Talking about the EP as a whole, obviously ‘Thick Things’ was another huge moment for you and getting to this project was it a big decision to leave that track off? How hard was it to choose the songs?
With ‘Thick Thighs’ and ‘PMS’ and the songs that I already have out, I felt like they had the moment to be put out in the world when they did. It was important for me to show people more of who I am and that’s why I left it off the EP. I think it was important for people to be able to dive a little bit deeper.
I know that there is definitely a trend at the moment to put the same songs on projects, and it was nice to see even more material on there.
Exactly. And I’m the same way – when I hear that somebody is releasing an album, I hope that I haven’t heard half the songs.
I get the strategy but everyone’s always hungry for more music, so I love that you rounded it out to introduce yourself. Obviously this EP was self titled so what did you want fans to take away from the project?
I want to just show people all sides of me, like the sappy, the trashiness and the sad girl side – that is me as a whole. I wanted people to feel understood and that was why I chose the songs that I did – it’s very me and where I’m at right now in my life.
Well, we loved it, absolutely loved it. You’ve been in the Nashville community now for about six years, so what lessons have you learned being in Nashville this whole time?
I have learned that you got to work and there’s people that have been working longer than I have – my mom always told me when I was little that someone will outwork you and there’s going to be so many roadblocks. You really have to do it for the love of music, not for anything else. I love creating music. I love performing and there’s nothing in the world that I want to do more than that. So I’ve just held on to that – being able to hear other people’s stories and putting myself around such talented people – that inspires me to be better.
I think that’s one of the things that is really special about the country music community in particular – obviously talent is a huge part of it but people also celebrate how much work people put in and how many years it’s taken and the kind of dedication and commitment it takes as much as talent itself. They always say, it takes many years to make an overnight success. It’s been so lovely to speak to you today and congratulations on all your successes.