Editor’s Note: In celebration of Women’s History Month, You Sing I Write is highlighting female country artists and songwriters throughout March.
Rissi Palmer, host of Apple Music Country’s “Color Me Country” show, launched a grant fund in December to support BIPOC artists in country music. The fund, which takes its name from Palmer’s “Color Me Country” show, was created in partnership with fellow Apple Music Country host Kelly McCartney’s The Rainey Day Fund.
I chatted with Palmer in December about the decision to start the Color Me Country Artist Fund for Country Insider. Palmer says she remembers a time when she was choosing between paying rent or getting a demo done and hopes the fund will help struggling musicians continue their career. An excerpt of our chat is below.
“I know what those life choices are when you choose music as your journey,” Palmer tells me. “Even more so with artists of color, there’s not always a publishing deal. There’s not always a record deal when you’re out there pursuing music. We’re not as represented in country music. I want to make sure that nobody gives up on doing this and pursuing this because they can’t afford it.”
There is no specific criteria to apply for the fund. The grant will provide artists with cash gifts up to $1,000 and can be used for whatever the artist deems necessary. Palmer has contributed to the fund herself and asks others who are willing to donate to do so directly to the fund.
“If you want to see change — especially in the country music industry — then you have to start in pretty basic places. I think that this is a very basic place because this fund is for artists that aren’t signed and that are doing it on their own,” she says. “What better way to keep the music going and to encourage diversity than to help artists at the very beginning at the ground floor?
“More than changing someone’s entire financial situation, I think you give some hope. When you’re in the throes of being a musician, sometimes that’s the thing that keeps you going.”