Priscilla Block Wishes Someone Told Her Life Gets Better After High School: 'I Would've Saved So Many Tears'

About 16 months after Priscilla Block launched on TikTok, she's signed to Nashville's Universal Music Group, has a new single "Peaked in High School" on country radio, and is the Opry NextStage Artist for November

Priscilla Block is that girl who moved to Nashville as soon as she graduated high school to try and make it in country music. Her only plan was to keep her head down and do the Nashville grind, playing every gig she could get and honing her sound until someone took notice.

Then the pandemic hit, and she struggled to pay her rent. With no shows to play, she refocused her energy on social media because it was her only available outlet to build a fanbase. She made a TikTok account and started posting her original music. Her songs "PMS" and "Thick Thighs" accumulated thousands of comments overnight, and strangers posted her songs in their videos. Even though she was gaining traction, she still had to move from her apartment. It was June of 2020, and she was in the process of packing when she had a reckoning: "What is my life?"

Block went to the bar, and in a season where everything else felt wrong, she ran into an ex-boyfriend. She moved into a little house with a barely-working air conditioner. And a couple of weeks later, she wrote "Just About Over You" on FaceTime with a couple of female friends about the ex in the bar. She shared it on TikTok the next day, and her life changed forever.

"I felt in my heart that something good was about to happen, but I had no clue that it was gonna land me where I'm at today," Block, 26, said.

Sixteen months after she posted "Just About Over You," Block is signed to Nashville's Universal Music Group. Her "Just About Over You" is the only song by a female in the Top 15 on country radio, she has a new single "Peaked in High School" coming Friday and she's the Opry NextStage Artist for November.

With her layered necklaces, colorful scrunchies, and plainspoken, relatable lyrics, Block is the best friend country music fans wish they had. She's vulnerable, funny and fierce with a story to tell – and people are finally listening.

"It's kinda like when you feel like your world is falling apart, and you see a light at the end of the tunnel," Block said of seeing her music career take off. "I felt like things were kind of done, you know? Seeing this happen, it really was like a glimpse of hope. I was just like, 'Oh my gosh, like, there could be a chance with all of this.'"

priscilla block
Priscilla Block. Logen Christopher

Block had been in Nashville for seven years playing bars and songwriters nights, just trying to get noticed and keep the lights on. When "Just About Over You" quickly gained millions of streams, she knew she had to take advantage of the moment – even if the world was in the middle of a pandemic. A girl in California started a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for Block to record "Just About Over You." The song came out three weeks after she wrote it.

"Just About Over You" quickly climbed to No. 1 on iTunes' country and all-genre charts stacking her name on top of Nicki Minaj and Harry Styles.

"I still get chills and cry whenever I talk about it," she said. "Cause it is just so crazy. You know, when you think that there's nothing more, it's like right around the corner. That next day was when everyone in the music industry turned their chairs around, and it was like, 'Who is this girl? And why don't we know about her?'"

Block had been playing shows blocks away for the better part of a decade, but she said it took "a whole village to make this happen."

Her goal was never to sign a record deal or a publishing deal immediately. She wanted to take her time to understand how the business works before she made quick, life-changing decisions. She had traction, and everything she worked for was falling into place. The offers for record deals started to pour in, and instead of jumping for joy, she said she was "scared s---less."

"Everyone's was at my door," she recalled. "We've got all the labels in Nashville, L.A., and New York calling, and people are trying to get me out there to have conversations. When UMG came to the table, something in me just felt right."

The executives at UMG wanted to hear all of the songs she had written — beyond the viral hit. She sat down with the label head and played him each of her songs. Block quoted his response as: "Oh my gosh, I can't believe we almost missed you."

"It excited me that they were excited about the things that I've spent seven years working on," she explained.

UMG Nashville executives promised to get her music out fast, and they kept their word. They sent "Just About Over You" to radio the day she signed her record deal. They also said they wouldn't ask her to change her sound or look — another promise they kept. She wouldn't pretend to be someone she wasn't. And after enduring constant comparison in high school, she wants to embrace being the genre's curvy girl. Her teenage feelings of insecurity are part of the inspiration for her new song, "Peaked in High School."

"I was the girl that had no interest in doing things how everybody else did them," she said. "This song kinda just goes out to anybody that that's ever made me feel not enough. And to any young people out there, people tell you that high school will be some of the best years of your life. I am living proof that it is not. I wish I knew that back in the day. I would have saved so many fricking tears."

Block isn't crying anymore. She's exhausted from traveling and playing shows — but she isn't complaining.

"It's something that I think without the years of the grind and without hitting almost rock bottom … I think it would be really easy to take a lot of this for granted," she said. "And I don't. I barely sleep, but I'm so thankful that I'm not sleeping 'cause I get to do this, you know?"

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