A sealed envelope awaits in Rissi Palmer’s Bible.
It’s her Grammy acceptance speech, the one she wrote as a 12-year-old. She vowed not to open it until she could read it from the stage accepting her award.
Sixteen years later, the time may be nearer when Palmer can open the envelope. The road has been a long one, starting with her standing on a milk crate as a child so she could sing solos in the church choir. But these days, she is an up-and-comer in country music — and a rare African-American performer in the genre.
Palmer acknowledged this week to students in Atlanta that some people had told her she couldn’t sing country because she was African-American. But she said, “When you tell me I can’t do something, it just makes me want to do it more.”
Palmer told CNN that no one in the music industry had discouraged her based on race but that people who loved her were concerned country stardom might be a tough goal. She said she doesn’t believe her story is different from any other musician’s: “The music industry is just hard.”