Rissi Palmer makes things happens. The success of her first hit, 2007’s “Country Girl,” set a high bar, when she became the first Black artist in 20 years to chart a country single.

Last year, she launched an Apple Music Radio show, Color Me Country, a nod to country music pioneer Linda Martell’s album of the same name, and which set out to spotlight Black, indigenous, and Latinx artists in the genre and serve as a narrative corrective to the industry’s front-facing whiteness.

In Rolling Stone’s second-annual “Future of Music” issue, released this week, Palmer nabs a spot on its “Future 25” list of industry movers and shakers. 

“Making that list was definitely the surprise of the year for me,” Palmer told the INDY in an email. “When I started Color Me Country, I honestly just wanted to tell stories that I thought were important. I had no idea of the reaction or impact. I’m blown away on a regular basis, honestly.”

Since the launch of the Apple Music Radio show last August, Palmer performed at the Grand Ole Opry (the first time since 2007), launched a fund to help support up-and-coming Black country stars, got a CMA shout-out from Maren Morris, and promised that there would a new Rissi Palmer album by the end of the year. If that promise holds true, 2022 may be just as full as 2021 has been so far. 

“I hope with the increased visibility comes more opportunity for artists of color and people of color in the Country music industry; in front of and behind the camera/microphone,” Palmer continued “In the meantime, I’ll keep telling these stories, singing my songs, and giving out grants… the work continues.”

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