When Brittney Spencer came to Nashville in 2013, she sang for tips next to a hot dog stand in Printers Alley.
Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free
Why it matters: After eight years of fighting to make it in the country music industry, Spencer is getting the kind of exposure that could catapult her to a new level of fame and success.
In a genre still grappling with its lack of diversity, Spencer is part of a growing group of Black artists getting mainstream buzz.
"As of right now, I feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be. And I feel like I belong right where I am," Spencer tells Axios. "I'm truly living in the moment as best as I can, and I'm having fun."
Flashback: About a year after she moved to town, Spencer enrolled in Middle Tennessee State University's recording industry program.
She graduated in December 2017 and began writing and performing with several collaborators.
Driving the news: The last few months of Spencer's career have been a whirlwind.
Reba McEntire tapped Spencer as an opening act in 2022.
Between the lines: Spencer says she is drawn to country music because of its intricate story songs. Her own work is an intimate reflection on relationships, faith, and heartache.
"It's not the only place where you can tell a story, but country music feels like a really beautiful place for me to tell mine," she says.
What she's saying: Spencer says she's entering the genre during a "breakthrough moment" for Black artists.
"There is a certain weight and a certain responsibility, but also a certain joy, that comes with being a minority in this space and getting to both excel and to know that you're also probably breaking down a barrier and holding a door for another artist that looks just like you to do the same one day."
What's next: Spencer's headlining tour takes her to The Basement East on Thursday.
Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.