Female Friday: Priscilla Block

She's one to watch in 2021!

Written by Cillea Houghton
Female Friday: Priscilla Block
Priscilla Block; Photo credit: Victoria Blalock

Priscilla Block’s career journey is made up of many small, but meaningful moments. There was the moment she picked up the guitar at age 15 and realized her passion for songwriting like her idol, Taylor Swift. There was the moment she moved to Nashville fresh out of high school and had to learn how to make it on her own. There was the moment she had a chance encounter with her idol that set the next phase of her life in motion. And then there was the moment she became a breakout star on TikTok with her viral hit “Just About Over You” that landed her a record deal at UMG Nashville.

In this edition of Female Friday, Block opens up about these moments, and the many others that have defined her journey.

How did your music journey start and when you decide to make music your career?

I’ve always been a big music person. Growing up, I was the girl that always had music playing in my room, my parents would have to tell me to turn it down. I started singing in church growing up with my mom and that’s kind of when it all started. I decided to pick up the guitar one day and I was like 15 and that’s when I wrote my first song. I was a huge Taylor Swift fan, I wanted to be Taylor Swift, and so that’s when I started the whole writing thing. Once I wrote my first song, I was like, ‘I wonder if I could do this for a career?’ and I was hooked. I was like ‘I’m going to move to Nashville. If Taylor Swift did that, I’m going to do that.’ So I decided to move to Nashville right out of high school. I just kept playing and writing, and there was never anything that made me feel like I did with music. I started playing around town, and it was everything. I didn’t have any other true passions of what I wanted to do with my life away from music.

What was that like when you first got to Nashville and started getting your feet wet in the industry?

It was terrifying. I was this 18-year-old girl, I had no clue what I was doing. It was hard, Nashville was very, very difficult. I didn’t know anybody when I moved to town, so it was really starting over. I am super duper social, I’m one of five kids, so being put into a place where I didn’t know anybody or I didn’t even know how to make friends because I couldn’t really get into bars, I found myself really depressed my first year. I worked my booty off. I worked 40 hours a week at this yogurt shop to try and make money, pay my bills. I had a moment when I was in Nashville. It was about a year into town and I realized I wasn’t doing what I came out here to do, and actually that day, Taylor Swift was driving by.

I was working at this little yogurt shop and I was happening to be wearing a Taylor Swift T-shirt. I was leaving work, I worked nine to five and then I went to school from six to nine, so I was leaving work trying to get to class and she was driving by. She saw me wearing her T-shirt and pulled her car over on the side of the road [and said] ‘I love that you’re wearing my T-shirt. That means so much to me.’ It really was a moment that here is my biggest idol in front of my eyes, why I moved to Nashville. Not long after that, I knew that I needed to really change my perspective and I needed to work or it wasn’t going to happen. So I quit my job and I quit school and I was going to go figure it out. So I just put myself in the bars. I was the girl using the fake ID all the time to get in places. Whatever I could do to go listen to music and network in town, I did it.

What are some of the biggest growing pains that you went through years that really taught you a lot about yourself as a person and an artist?

I’ve had some break ups and that’ll teach you a lot about yourself [Laughs]. I think the biggest thing is learning. Being from such a big family, I had to learn how to be on my own and be cool with being alone, so that’s been a big growing thing for me, and just knowing that I can get through some really hard stuff. When I moved to Nashville, my parents had just divorced. There’s break ups along the way, just a lot of things that I learned that ‘you’ll be good and you might hit rock bottom, but you’ll get yourself out of this, and that’s awesome.’ Five months ago I had to move out of my apartment because I couldn’t afford my rent.

Tell me about entering TikTok and really using it as a way to elevate your career.

TikTok was one of those things that organically happened. I had no clue that TikTok was going to be the platform that kind of blew out this thing to the next level. I thought it was this dancing app, and I quickly realized that there was a lot of fans out there that loved original music and I saw the reach real fast, so I knew that there was something that could possibly work with it. I started putting up my original music on there and people really gravitated towards that, so I continued to do it. “Just About Over You” is the song that kind of changed at all for me. Everyone talks about this moment that ‘it’ll all makes sense,’ and that’s when “Just About Over You” happened. That whole rock bottom thing, I moved out of my apartment, I write this song and I decide TikTok was doing it’s thing, let’s just see what people think about it,no clue it was going to do what it did.

People were dying for me to put out the song, begging me. I would get hundreds of messages a day and it was very cool to see it happen. There was a girl on TikTok that did this little video and she did this call out to the TikTok world and she was like, ‘let’s help Priscilla go on in and record this song. We want the song so bad, we’re going to make it happen.’ There was a lot of people that rallied together and raised money for me to go into the studio. I went into the studio a couple of daysafter into one of my friends’ bedrooms and we made the song there and he produced it for me and I just really ran fast with it. I knew that there was a moment and I needed to make it happen. It was cool. There was so many people so excited for it, so when the song dropped, it was just one of those feelings I had in my heart that ‘this is this moment.’ It was so special. I still didn’t even know the extent of what was going to happen and then you watch it climb the charts and the next day we’re getting calls from every label.

I’m loving that you have these really honest and truthful songs like “Thick Thighs” and “PMS.” Tell me about your songwriting process and the messages you want to convey to people through your music?

I just try and keep it super real, and that sounds cliché, but it’s true. I am not perfect and neither is anybody, and I like to sing about that in my songs. I’m a curvy girl, so I sing about it. I’m also the girl that’s had my heart broken a million times and I sing about that. I think that is my job to myself and to everybody else is just keeping it real and put out the songs and where I’m at in my life, and I think people will get it.

What are some of your ultimate dreams or ways that you hope to grow?

I’m at a point right now where I am learning from a lot of people that have been doing it for a lot longer than I have. It seems like a long time, I’ve been in Nashville going on seven years, and that is a long time. But I’m so excited to start touring and that’ll be a whole new thing for me and learning from the people that have paved this way for me to do it.