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Brittney Spencer is telling her own story and collecting cosigns from her heroes — including Beyoncé

Callie Ahlgrim   

Brittney Spencer is telling her own story and collecting cosigns from her heroes — including Beyoncé
  • Brittney Spencer is featured on Beyoncé's new country-inspired album "Cowboy Carter."
  • She duets with Beyoncé and other Black country stars on "Blackbiird," which arrived at No. 27 on the Hot 100.

When Brittney Spencer woke up on Monday morning, she had no idea she would hit a major career milestone.

She was still floating from the previous evening, when she delivered a show-stealing rendition of "Burn It Down" with Parker McCollum at the CMT Awards. She was contemplating her schedule for the week, including an upcoming eight-hour rehearsal.

She wasn't keeping tabs on the Billboard Hot 100 — but it was keeping tabs on her. When the definitive all-genre chart was updated on Monday, Spencer's name appeared for the first time ever at No. 27 via her feature on the new song "Blackbiird."

"That wasn't even on my radar," she told Business Insider of her top-40 debut, adding with a laugh, "My life has been very random."

Did I mention the song is a collaboration with Beyoncé?

Spencer lent her voice to the second track on Beyoncé's new album, "Cowboy Carter" (currently reigning at No. 1 on the Billboard 200) along with three more Black women emerging as major players in Nashville: Tiera Kennedy, Reyna Roberts, and Tanner Adell.

The quartet recorded their vocals together during a joint studio session, the details of which they've been instructed not to discuss. Suffice it to say that for Spencer, the invitation was a no-brainer.

"It stopped me in my tracks," she recalled. "I didn't do anything the rest of that night. I had to just take it all in. And quite honestly, I'm still taking it all in."

As luck would have it, Spencer had already included a shout-out to Queen Bey in her 2023 single "Bigger Than The Song," an ode to musicians who have inspired her career: "To put your love on top like Beyoncé at my church on Sunday, when Maren starts singing that tune / Oops, you did it again like Britney, with a voice like Whitney singing, 'I will always love you.'"

The song was included on Spencer's mighty debut album, "My Stupid Life," which was met with critical acclaim in January.

As she was writing and recording its 13 tracks, Spencer also started doing "intense therapy." The title captures Spencer's resolve during the creative process: to gaze inward, rummage around, and be open with her findings. Many of her previous hits, like "Sober & Skinny," had been tales and allegories rather than autobiographies. This time, Spencer let herself become the main character.

"I didn't want to suppress my story much longer. Not that I think everybody needs to hear it, but I just shouldn't be afraid to say it," she explained. "Being a great storyteller means you have a high level of empathy. You can put yourself in somebody else's shoes well enough to be able to articulate their story. But this time I wanted to tell my own."

Although "My Stupid Life" contains the most explicitly personal lyricism of her career, Spencer has a knack for speaking her own dreams into existence — if not always intentionally. In 2020, she shared a cover of "Crowded Table" by The Highwomen on Twitter that went so viral the supergroup later invited her to become an honorary member. She wrote "Bigger Than The Song" around that time, name-dropping Beyoncé, Maren Morris, and Reba McEntire, all of whom she has now worked with. (Morris sang backup on Spencer's album highlight "Night In," while McEntire took Spencer on tour in 2022.) The song also mentions Queen Latifah, who recently started following Spencer on Instagram. (Spencer was particularly excited about this new development.)

Much like "Blackbiird," which is a cover of The Beatles' classic civil-rights ballad, "Bigger Than The Song" doubles as an homage to her forbears and a nod to her modern peers, a conscious gesture of camaraderie.

"I find it really warming for my own heart to talk about the people who made me want to do the thing that I do," Spencer explained. "I've committed my life to music. I've kind of centered my whole life around it, and I have no regrets."

Spencer intends to double down on this commitment. She's currently preparing for a string of music festivals, including the Coachella-adjacent country gathering Stagecoach in late April. This summer, she'll also join Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, a fellow "Cowboy Carter" guest star, for the Outlaw Music Festival Tour.

But as for specific plans or expectations, Spencer is happy to let luck — or fate, or clairvoyance, or the sheer randomness of life —continue to steer her.

"Hopefully my immediate future is a wonderful gift," she said. "I guess maybe that's the only expectation I can put on it."

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