Rissi Palmer (born in Sewickley, Pennsylvania) is an American country music artist. Palmer debuted in 2007 with the single "Country Girl", which made her the first African-American woman to chart a country song since Dona Mason in 1987. "Country Girl" peaked at No. 54 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, and served as the lead-off single to her self-titled debut album, which also produced the No. 59 hit "Hold on to Me". Also in 2008, Palmer covered "No Air", an R&B hit originally performed by Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown.
Palmer was born in Sewickley, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and lived there until moving with her family to Eureka, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, at the age of 12. Her parents were natives of Georgia. Palmer has said her mother, who died when Palmer was seven, "was a huge Patsy Cline fan", while her father loved musicians such as Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Chaka Khan, and Santana. Palmer said she knew from a young age that she wanted to sing. As a child, she sang on a Mickey Mouse Club-like local television sponsored group called Team 11. At age 16, she performed country music at the Arkansas State Fair.
When she was 19, R&B producers James "Jimmy Jam" Harris III and Terry Lewis offered her a deal on their Flyte Tyme Records. Palmer rejected the deal because she said they wanted to turn her "twangy" country style into a "pop/soul hybrid." As she said, "I love R&B and urban music, but it wasn't what I wanted to do. I knew I wouldn't be happy doing that." After that, Palmer sang jingles for Barbie commercials, performed on the Dance Fever television show, and competed on Star Search, all while trying in vain for seven years to land a Nashville recording contract.
Palmer was at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver on August 26, 2008 and supported Barack Obama. She was also an invited performer at the White House for the National Tree Lighting Ceremony in December 2008.
After a year and a half long legal dispute, Palmer parted ways with 1720 Entertainment in 2009. She married in 2010 and gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Grace, in June 2011. She currently resides in North Carolina with her husband and daughter.
Debut album: Rissi Palmer (2007-2008):
In 2006, Starbucks Entertainment distributed a four-song EP that put Palmer among the top 5 best-selling country artists on iTunes. Palmer was also featured in a 2005 Country Music Television documentary about African-Americans and country music.
Palmer's debut album, Rissi Palmer, was released on October 23, 2007, by 1720 Entertainment. Palmer co-wrote nine of the 12 tracks. She was the featured artist on Yahoo! Music's "The New Now," which highlights talented newcomers, from October 17 through November 21, 2007. The album produced two chart singles for Palmer in "Country Girl" and "Hold On to Me," which peaked at number 54 and number 59 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, respectively.
In 2008, Palmer released a new single, a cover of Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown's "No Air." The song debuted at number 58 and eventually reached number 47, becoming her first Top 50 single on the Hot Country Songs chart. It was included on a reissue of her debut self-titled album later that year.
Palmer also released a Christmas single in late 2008, "Grown Up Christmas List," before Palmer ultimately parted ways with her record label.
Best Day Ever (2012-2013):
On March 6, 2012, Rissi announced via her blog, "Six Strings to Sippy Cups", that she was back in the studio recording what she calls a "Sophisticated" children's album, named Best Day Ever, to be released in November 2012 through Baldilocks LLC, a company she and her husband, Bryan, formed.Best Day Ever was eventually released on January 15, 2013.
This album was co written and co produced by Deanna Walker, Rick Beresford, and Blue Miller. She describes this album as "a bridge between songs that are suitable and interesting to kids and are entertaining to adults".
The album has been released to positive reviews. Sarah Lindenfeld Hall of WRAL's GoAskMom.com, reviewed the album and said: "I've listened to a lot of kids music. Best Day Ever succeeds because it really, truly is written with kids and their parents in mind. Palmer's gorgeous voice weaves stories from the kids' and parents' perspectives. And it's all set to some great music, mostly pop with a little country twang or R&B thrown in". Christine St. Vil of Momsncharge.com says of the album: "Now don't let the idea of a "children's album" deter you from checking it out. This is one children's album I will listen to with or without my munchkins...and I won't get looked at with the side-eye for singing the songs outloud when I'm by myself (Dora anyone?). From songs like "Be Me", to "You Could Be Dancing", to "Not Afraid of the Dark", these messages are for the adults as much as they are for the kids.".
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