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Second Cup Café: Rissi Palmer

A deeply-rooted country singer, Rissi Palmer has what it takes to make it big in country music.

Her ability to write meaningful and effective lyrics has captured the essence of country, where the lyrical message is as important as the music itself.

Inspired by the great Patsy Cline, whose music was played throughout the house by Palmer's mother when Palmer was a child, Palmer holds a close connection to Cline's songs.

The African-American country star, who is breaking racial barriers in country music, has released her latest single, "Hold On To Me," which is off her self-titled album.

The single was chosen as Starbucks "Song of the Day," and Palmer has been featured on the newly-launched "Wal-Mart Mobile." She has also achieved Top Ten and Top Five rankings on MySpace and iTunes.

Palmer has found herself surrounded by some of the best in the business, including Nashville's most accomplished writers, Angela Kaset, James Dean Hicks and Shaye Smith. She also wrote the song "Faith," which appeared in the 2004 Lee Daniels/Miramax film "The Woodsman."

When Palmer moved to St. Louis at age 13, she really became exposed to music. She entered talent contests, such as Hal Jackson's Talented Teens (formerly the Miss Black Teen America pageant) and joined Team 11, an entertainment troupe, in which she performed for former President Bill Clinton.

From there, Palmer went on to "Star Search," where Judge Naomi Judd became her mentor. With the help of Judd, she went on to record songs for "Dance Fever" and the creators of "Waiting in the Wings," a CMT (Country Music Television) documentary about African Americans in the country music business.

CMT showed her more love by featuring her on CMT's "Most Wanted Live." She also worked with producer Brian McKnight and Deborah Allen.
By Melissa Castellanos