Rissi Palmer is rapidly becoming one of country music’s brightest new stars and with her debut single, “Country Girl” making its entry this week at #58, she has become the first African-American female country singer to hit the Billboard Country Singles chart in the past 20 years. The last African-American female singer to have a single land on the Billboard charts was Dona Mason, whose version of Conway Twitty’s “Green Eyes (Cryin’ Those Blue Tears)” peaked at No. 62 in November 1987.

Since releasing her single in June, Palmer has been on a whirlwind ride to stardom. Her video began airing on CMT and GAC, she made her Grand Ole Opry debut, and Starbucks Entertainment has distributed her 4-song EP exclusively on iTunes. The “Country Girl ? EP” peaked at #3 on the iTunes Top Selling Country Album Chart, and remains a Top 10 seller among such heavyweights as Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts.

Palmer‘s self-titled debut album is scheduled for release October 23 on 1720 Entertainment. With nine of twelve songs being penned by Palmer, the album is a testament not only to her vocal ability, but to her gift for songwriting as well. Some of Nashville’s finest songwriters are featured on the album including Sarah Majors, Dan Shea, Shannon Sanders, Shaye Smith, Ed Hill and more. The album also features an impressive group of producers including, Keith Thomas (Amy Grant, Faith Hill, Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood), Dan Shea (Martina McBride, Mariah Carey), Shannon Sanders (Randy Travis, Lyle Lovett, India Arie), Drew Ramsey (India Arie, Kimberly Locke) and Cory Rooney (Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Lopez).

At the age of 19, Palmer declined a pop record deal from famed producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey) to pursue the music that was in her heart, country. Palmer claims it was one of the hardest decisions she’s ever had to make, but knew she had to be true to herself and who she is as an artist.

My mother passed away when I was 8 years old, but still at that young age she had already instilled in me her love of country music,” says Rissi. “Some of my fondest memories of her are when we would clean the house on Saturday mornings and she would play all these great records, especially Patsy Cline who was one of her favorites. It’s her love for country music that has always stayed with me. So this album represents my journey and I dedicate this album to her.

Palmer consistently ranks as one of MySpace.com‘s Top independent country artists and has received over 760,000 plays of her music to date. She is presently featured on Yahoo Music’s “Who’s Next” page under “Hit List” — spotlighting tomorrow’s stars today.

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