Record of the Week: Britti ‘Hello, I’m Britti’

New Orleans based artist Britti has always been a big dreamer. Her mom used to say before she could speak words, she would sing gibberish as a kid for food. She would go on to sing in her school choir and was developing influences from watching MTV, VH1 and CMT. While attending Loyola University, she set a vision board for herself.

“I remember putting up a newspaper, I can’t remember exactly what it said, but it had the word Nashville on it and it was on my vision board,” Britti said. “When I was still in school, I had the dreams of working at Guitar Center in Nashville, and then miraculously being discovered by someone who would float in, hear my voice and say, ‘Hey, you, we’re going to make you a star.'”

Although that’s not exactly how it worked out, during the pandemic Britti was taken on a different path. Going through a challenging breakup and furloughed from her job for two months, she used her stimulus check to by her dream guitar — from a Guitar Center, of course — and started practicing. She started to treating herself like a business, dressing for the role she wanted and not the role that she had. She began posting covers on her Instagram account and was gaining a lot of feedback from them. Her cover of Lainey Wilson’s song “Rolling Stone” was shared by Wilson and even got her a couple of meetings with A&R representatives.

Although the meetings didn’t go any further than a conversation, Britti knew she was heading down the right path. Then one day, a comment from Tom Osborn from Easy Eye Sound would be the break she needed.

“I believe he left his email,” she said, about a comment on Instagram. “I didn’t think it was real, because it’s the internet and because what a miracle. Out of all the people in the world and out of all the time in the world, that serendipity was created under that video. I reached out and we had a great conversation. They flew me up to Nashville after I sent a few songs to them. I got to have a writing session with Dan [Auerbach] to see how we work together and magic happened.”

The magic created was Hello, I’m Britti, her debut album on Easy Eye Sound and WNXP’s Record of the Week. There is a New Orleans analogy to describe her sound and that is a gumbo of musical genres. It is a little bit R&B/Soul, some Pop and some country. She’s leaned into her musical upbringing to influence the sound she would develop as an artist.

Hear the full conversation with Britti at our podcast channel.

New Orleans upbringing and influence

“I would say New Orleans is one of those magical cities,” Britt said. “There’s no way that you could travel through it or to it and not be affected by the uniqueness of it. Born in Baton Rouge, reborn as I like to say in New Orleans. I started permanently living here post going to Loyola University. But I would travel intermittently back and forth because my uncle/godfather is big in the jazz scene in New Orleans, and we would go support him when I was a kid at different venues. Being around New Orleans, it’s contagious. The music, the culture, the food, the love, the essence. It is unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. I would definitely say the music has affected me and my sound, from jazz, to R&B/Soul to all the genres in the gumbo pot.”

“It’s very multifaceted where it’s a prism of love,” she said. “[‘Nothing Compares To You’] is paying homage to New Orleans because as babies, we don’t get to choose where we’re born, but as adults, we get to choose where we want to be reborn. New Orleans, I consider my home. It’s where I’ve found myself, where I’ve had my heartbreak, where I’ve had my heart mended, where I’ve fallen in love, where I met my husband. On one level, it’s like nothing compares to the love of my life. I take it even a step further and was like, ‘Wow, New Orleans had such a huge part in this.’ I met my husband on Bermuda Street and Algiers Point of the West Bank of New Orleans. It’s all these different nuances of my heart, it’s coated with the love from my home city. It’s a love letter to New Orleans. It reminds you that song ‘Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?’ It’s one of those things where it’s like nothing will ever compare to you. I love you from the potholes to the Pontchartrain. Thank you for hugging me and I will always hug you back.”

Working with Dan Auerbach

“I had always been a fan of Dan,” she said. I had his solo album and The Black Keys on vinyl. I always been a fan of his voice, his writing style, their music. So I knew when I was walking into that room that it was a big deal. I was well aware that I was hanging with some big dogs. I remember thinking to myself, having the balance of humility, but also having on the other side confidence. I kept telling myself, in my mind, of course, ‘You were brought here because you belong here, you can do this.’ I remember sitting around the table with Tom, Alan, and Dan and thinking, ‘You got this.’ I just felt very blessed to be in the room. Working with Dan was pure bliss. It was something that I had always dreamed about, that I pray that I keep being able to write with him for the rest of my life. He is a genius and also very humble. [Laughs] It was wonderful writing with him. I describe it as a unearthly feeling. We tapped into this space to write these songs that feel very humbly timeless. I still have daydreams about that experience.”

“I think a lot of times it was very familiar, even though I had never been in that position before, but it felt as if it was meant to be. The space was already poetically furnished for us to go and create. It was easy to be vulnerable and write these songs. It was healing to write these songs. I had books and I still have books in me. It was lovely to be seen and to be heard. To be understood and to have somebody with the the eye, heart, spirit, finances, resources and the engine to be able to hold my hand and be like, ‘This is something special, and you deserve to tell your story to the world and the people deserve to hear it.’ I couldn’t imagine a better person and a better team to discover me and to help me bring my dreams into fruition and help me cultivate that space.”

Dolly Parton’s influence

“I do this thing where I go down the rabbit hole of artist,” she said. “I’ve always known and always loved Auntie Dolly, as I call her. But I went down the rabbit hole of Dolly’s albums. I had only heard the most popular songs, listened to a few albums. I went all the way back to her first album in the ’60s, and then I kept revisiting every single album that she dropped. I was like, ‘Holy crud sticks.’ This lady, amongst other things and for other reasons, is phenomenal. I had a moment where I thought to myself, looking at that baby Dolly picture in the ’60s, ‘Hello, I’m Dolly.’ I thought, like, ‘Did the world know what they were about to be blessed with? Did Dolly know that she was about to cut up in the world and bless us with gems?’ It was just so mind-blowing to think that’s when and where it all started. And I paid homage by thinking what better album title than introducing myself to the world? Because I definitely believe this is only the beginning. I’m ready to evolve and grow, learn and mold. I was inspired by that being the beginning title of Dolly’s trajectory and just how far she’s come and it just blows my mind to even think, in the beginning of all of that, it was just a simple ‘Hello, I’m Dolly.’ We were like, ‘Yeah, you are.” [Laughs]