Country Music Star Brittney Spencer Shows Us Her Tour Wardrobe & Talks the Power of Self-Love
Breakout country music powerhouse Brittney Spencer is known for her raw talent, earning her famous fans such as Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile, and Reba McEntire, with whom she’s touring with next month. Though celebrated for her heart-gripping single, “Sober & Skinny,” and the emotionally charged performance with fellow country star Mickey Guyton on “Love My Hair” at the 2021 CMA Awards, the charming singer-songwriter also has an appreciation for fashion.
Spencer tells EDITION, “We want to feel like our style. What we’re looking like is an expression of our own personalities and our own stories. It just shows a part of ourselves without even having to say it out loud. That's the power of fashion.” From donning fun fringe to shining in sparkly boots, Spencer taps into her inner stylist to highlight her unique taste in fashion. So, we raided Spencer’s tour wardrobe and compiled a collection of our favorite style moments. We also talked with the promising Nashville talent about her empowering journey as one of a handful of Black country artists breaking boundaries through her vocal prowess and fashion sense.
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You’re on tour now – which is exciting! What influences your stage style?
So, onstage and just in general, I love leather. I love fringe. I love patterns. I love denim. I love suede and velvet. I love anything with texture. And I'm a plus-size person, so I really like things that will help accentuate curves and just things that look good on us. I feel like a lot of times in plus-size fashion, things can look a little matronly, especially when you're getting into dresses or anything remotely uncasual. So, it’s been a hunt honestly to find things that suit my body, but I find those things, and then I stick with them. I have like 20 different brands that I really enjoy, and I go back to them a lot.
When I'm getting ready on tour, I usually have mirrors there, and a lot of times I'm taking pictures as well. I need to make sure that it looks good in the mirror but that it also translates well on camera and translates well on that stage. I consider lighting. So, we practice lighting during soundcheck before the show starts because I just want to see and get an idea of what the whole visual will look like because that's important.
Looking at some of your photos and what I’ve witnessed on different videos – recaps of your performances – you exude confidence. So, tell me about your path to self-love and embracing who you are. Is that something that's been a journey for you, or did you naturally have this confidence?
Oh, it’s definitely a journey. I'm very comfortable with saying that I'm insecure. I’m very shy. I'm very aware that we put ourselves in a public place in a very public way to be viewed and potentially criticized. I'm a plus-size woman, and I don't see many artists that look like me. I definitely don't see any that look like me in country spaces. So, that can be really nerve-racking for me at times. But for me, in those moments, I just remember that I know I'm beautiful, even if I don't always feel like it.
And two, there is so much more on this stage than just my body. There's talent, love, family, and there's between me and my band members so much more hitting that stage than just the things that make me insecure – and I lean into those things. I'm very comfortable talking about it because I think most of us are just insecure, or most of us have some sort of complex about our bodies in the way people say they're supposed to look and be shaped. I don't subscribe to any of those things, mainly because I tried it; it just didn't work. So, I just try to show up as a whole person. I'm confident that I'm not the only one. If there's confidence on that stage, I know I'm not the only one that feels like me. I'm not the only one that's felt judged, criticized, insecure, that's felt loved, that feels happy, that feels sad. So, that for me, is where it comes from. I'm very encouraged because there are so many people around me who give me the courage to do what I'm doing.
That’s awesome. Who would you say some of those people are?
My friends. I love my friends so very much, my family, and the outpour of love that I've received from so many artists and creatives here in the Nashville community. And myself. I try to be kind to myself, and part of that kindness is just being honest with where I am and how I feel. It’s been hard being honest to myself because I have to actually acknowledge the things that roam in my head rent-free every day. I have to confront those things, and I have to figure out what to do with them. That’s why I say things like, ‘I know that I'm beautiful,’ even when I don't feel like it because I'm just facing that truth head-on. And just saying, ‘I know this is just a feeling right now. I don’t like the way this is looking right now, and you might not like the way this dress is hugging your body right now,’ or I don't know, something that we'll blame ourselves for. I just try to remind myself that I'm enough.
I remember shopping a lot of times – even to this day – going to different stores and feeling guilty when something doesn't hug my body the right way, like ‘Clearly, it must be my body that’s the problem.’ It’s really hard to have those inner conversations with yourself and not blame yourself when you don't feel enough. That’s no way to live. I won't be able to show up for the people in my life and for the job that I get the honor and privilege to do every day if I'm not recognizing my worth.
I love that. Thank you for showing your authentic self. Shopping can be such an emotional experience. First, you’re thinking, ‘Oh! I’m going to get a new dress!’ Then, you have these thoughts about why something doesn't fit the way you want it to work.
Oh, it can be a very intense emotional experience. For a long time as a teenager, I hated shopping. I always loved fashion but finding things that made me feel empowered was a challenge. So, it's really good when you find something that makes you feel beautiful when you find something that helps bring out hopefully the light that we already feel inside of ourselves. It's a really magical experience, and I'm always looking for that, even when I'm picking out pieces now to where on stage or go to Target because I'm obsessed with Target.
Aren't we all? Let's just talk hair for a second. I’m not too familiar with how it works with hairstylists in the country scene, but I can imagine there's a lack of representation for Black hair. Also, I heard you have a new partnership with Hot Tools.
Yes, absolutely. Well, Hot Tools came about during the CMA Awards. I sang at the CMA Awards with Mickey Guyton. We sang a song of hers called “Love My Hair.” It was an incredible time and just a really moving performance that I think we did. We had these big afros that were like a very dramatic representation of what our natural hair looks like, just in an artistic way to convey the message of the song. Hot Tools heard about it and got on board, and they sent me some tools. When they sent the products, I just fell in love.
When I'm not wearing the big afro on stage with Mickey Guyton, I love my wigs, and I love weaves. I wear big hair. I like to wear long, almost to my ass hair. It’s bushy, kind of wavy, and kinky in some kind of way. And you’re right, there's not a lot of representation always here in Nashville, particularly for artists of color, because we kind of need something a little different than if we're just going to the store. We need celebrity hairstylists who know how to do styles that translate well on TV or in photos or magazines. I finally found some people who bring my vision to life. It's a challenge, but you got to find your people, and it takes longer for us to do. A lot of times these looks you guys are seeing, we had to curate it because we had to explain to somebody what we wanted – and that's not always easy. So, it's definitely a labor of love, but we're all in, and we're hands-on because of it.
I'm glad to hear you now have a team that gets you. We’re in the first month of the new year, so there’s time for goal setting. So, what are some goals you are hoping to achieve?
I'm looking forward to releasing more music this year and looking forward to continuing touring. I'm on my first headlining tour right now. Then, we go out on the road with Reba next month. I am looking forward to doing more things in fashion. I would love to have opportunities to partner with different brands and be the face of beauty and some sort of fashion. I've not seen a lot of people that look like me in those spaces, and I think it's time. If it ain't me, it’s somebody else, but why not me?
Tags: Music, Gabrielle Pharms, Fashion, web-original, Brittney Spencer,
Photography by: Morgan Shirey; Nick Fletcher; Catherine Powell; Julianna Eddy