Singer-songwriter Britnee Kellogg has amassed more than half a million TikTok followers and over three million total likes on the platform. When the Coronavirus pandemic struck, Kellogg’s son asked if he could have a TikTok account and Kellogg allowed it but only with the circumstances that it was through her phone. She also made an account of her own to monitor and aimlessly posted videos of trending dances for fun. Encouraged by fellow singer and friend Mae Estes, Kellogg started posting original music and ended up going crazy viral, after trial and error, with her song “Back of My Mind.”
Through sharing relatable stories, a vulnerable look into motherhood, as well as her original music, Kellogg has built a niche fanbase of her own. “I’ve built this community of women and moms who have been through hurt or pain or divorce. I feel like there’s so many walks of life,” she tells us. “It’s been really, really amazing to finally feel like the music that I’ve written as my therapy and the things that I’ve been through, has started touching this market of women who aren’t being touched in the country music market.”
Kellogg is originally from Vancouver, Washington, just across the bridge from Portland, Oregon. She grew up listening to a lot of country records that were played by her grandparents; she listened to the outlaw greats Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Johnny Cash. When she was only six years old, her grandparents took her to a Johnny Cash and a June Carter Cash concert. “I was able to see them live together and that’s kind of where my absolute love and obsession with country music started and I really decided I wanted to pursue this as a career,” she explains. Shortly after seeing the show, she started taking voice lessons and started performing anywhere she could.
Kellogg distinctly remembers penning her first song while in 7th grade. “I remember sitting in class and writing it, like writing all these lyrics down, I probably should’ve been paying attention to my teacher, but I was writing music,” she says through a laugh. “And living where I live, songwriting is kind of hard to find as far as a community of people and so, I started going to Nashville when I was 15. Then just kept coming back ever since and writing whenever I could.”
Kellogg still resides on the West Coast. When she was in high school she met a guy who she thought was the one and ended up chasing his dreams instead of her own. When she turned 25, she realized she was extremely unhappy and knew she had to go after what she wanted; however, she already had a child and another one on the way, so picking up and moving to Nashville wasn’t an easy thing to do. She also went through a rough divorce around the same time. “I am the country band people call on the West Coast, so it’s hard to leave that. I make a pretty good living here,” she exclaims. She currently spends half of her time on the west coast, and half of her time in Nashville, writing and recording music. “I’ve tried to build friendships, and a community, and a home base there because I understand that there are thousands of artists that uprooted their entire lives to move to Nashville and I don’t want people to ever think I don’t understand that and that I take that for granted because if that was something I could do, I would be there in a second.”
Photo by Lisa Hartz
This year, she’s released a collection of singles, one being “Back of My Mind,” the TikTok viral track that has over one million streams on Spotify. What followed was the summery, breezy song titled “Honey.” Kellogg notes that the day she wrote it, there was nothing particularly heavy on her heart. “It was a summer day in Nashville and we were like, let’s just write this super fun summer jam,” she tells us. “It was a really fun, easy little write.” Her co-writer Autumn McEntire pitched the title “Honey” and from there, it flowed out.
Her most recent single “Hey Mama” is a complete 360 of “Honey.” “Hey Mama” is deep, raw, and vulnerable. It details the darker sides of motherhood and the strength needed to overcome those stormy waters. On the day she wrote the track, she was actually in the middle of writing other songs when a melody popped into her head along with the words turned title, “Hey Mama.” When she mentioned it to her co-writer Michael Farren, who she had spent the whole day with, he said they should chase it. “I said I want to write about how hard it is. I had really bad postpartum and I feel like mamas need a song to cling to when they’re struggling,” she explains.
When she started to write about her feelings, the words came out quickly and the song was completely written in 30 minutes. “I was so happy with how real some of the lyrics were,” she says with exuberant passion. In the chorus, Kellogg sings the lines, “Pull yourself together / It won’t be this hard forever / You’ve got the strength of a hurricane / You’re a fighter in every way.” When speaking to the line “Pull yourself together “ Kellogg says, “I think as a mom that’s pretty harsh. But I know as a mom people say that to themselves all the time, like pull it together, you can do this. I wanted it to be as real as possible.”
Since the song’s release, numerous women have contacted Kellogg about how the song has impacted them and how it’s become the soundtrack of comfort during difficult moments. On social media, the song has become the backing track of sincere moments with moms and their kids.
The ending of “Hey Mama” features singing from Kellogg’s own daughter who adds her sweet, soft vocals to the already moving chorus. “Your kids see you as a superhero that can do no wrong,” Kellogg says. “And I wanted that perspective from my daughter.”
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