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Independent Artist, Brittney Balma Talks Music, Her Fight With Cancer, And Leaving Her Mark

Many people search their entire lives to discover what they’re passionate about, but not our next guest. Singer Brittney Balma found her love interest in music early in her childhood and never looked back. She went from singing in the church to booking shows throughout Houston.

Brittney’s music has inspired anyone who has heard her perform, including herself. It has been at her lowest point that music has comforted her. When she lost her job in 2018, she saw it as an opportunity to take advantage of her music, and that risk skyrocketed her to where she is now.

Even when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020, music was her life support. She did not allow such devastating news to deter her from her dreams. It was fuel to keep her going. Brittney continues to create and perform despite hardship because she’s determined to leave her mark. Her music will be proof that she was here.

Brittney’s faith, resilience, and support of loved ones are why she’s still standing! Continue reading to learn more in-depth about her inspiring testimony.

Keiyana: Welcome to Foundation First Brittney! We are so happy to have you. How are you doing?

Brittney: I am doing well. Thank you so much for having me. I am excited to be here to chat it up a little bit and experience the vibe.

Keiyana: Tell us about yourself. What were you like growing up?

Brittney: I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. I am the youngest of my family, so I was always into something. I would always sing, and when we would go on road trips, I would try to control the radio, singing loud as possible. <laugh> I was a big and bold spirit who loved life and creating.

Keiyana: When did you discover your passion for music?

Brittney: I grew up in the church where my daddy was the pastor, and my mama was the first lady. I competed in my first talent show at church and won second place. The way everyone reacted to my performance solidified it for me. I could see myself doing this forever.

Looking back, I always played cassette tapes of Whitney Houston, Yolanda Adams, and Luther Vandross. And I was only between five and seven years old listening to these amazing voices. So you can say I have always had a passion for music.

Keiyana: What was the moment in your career that created the exposure for you to get your name and your music noticed?

Britney: In 2018, I was working a nine-to-five job with some coworkers, and we all got fired the same day. Ironically, we were all musicians, but they shut down shop because they felt we were going against rules and regulations. That’s a whole story in itself. However, I believe it all happened for a reason. I had put in so much work as a supervisor and left with nothing, and I did not want to experience that again. It inspired me to create something that would always be there no matter what happened to me.

The day that I got fired, I went home. My coworker, who is also my best friend, and I wrote out my EP and named it. We started working towards completing that EP, and my first single was Love Yourself. I worked for about three to four months on critiquing vocals, and backgrounds, getting in the studio, mixing, and mastering it. I also doubled down and did a music video to Love Yourself. I released both the single and video within a week apart from each other. Afterward, is when everything started flooding in. People saw the quality of my music, and I was able to perform that song on Great Day Houston with Deborah Duncan, Fox 26, and Channel 39. From there, I started submitting my music to different radio stations. I started performing at open mics, which led to me booking shows. 2019 was one of my best years musically. I released three music videos and about three singles that year, and that helped put my stamp on Houston’s music scene.

Keiyana: Name the biggest pro and con you have experienced as an independent artist.

Britney: The biggest pro as an independent artist is that you get complete creative control over anything you create. There is nobody to dictate your project or tell you how to execute your vision. You can act freely with what is in your heart.

The con is that there is no third party, so you have to finance everything at a hundred percent. Networking and bartering with others can be significant in this case. For example, if you mix my song, I will sing on your track, but you have to invest in yourself. I spent thousands recording my album, preparing for music videos, and hair, booking my makeup, and having a stylist. Though it can be overwhelming, it does bring a sense of pride in knowing I did this on my own. Therefore, I won't say it is a hundred percent con, but the financial factor can be a strain when you do not have anybody backing you. I believe as artists, we know that when you have someone supporting you financially, it makes it easier for you as an artist to focus on creating.

Keiyana: One of the current challenges you’ve been experiencing in your career has been battling cancer. Why is it not only important for you to fight for your life, but for you to keep your dream alive?

Brittney: As I expressed earlier, 2019 was an amazing year for me due to everything I had accomplished. Then, 2020 hit, and things started going south. I was experiencing one thing after another. I found out I had breast cancer, caught Covid, and went through a divorce, <laugh>. It felt like all that success in 2019 came crashing down. However, it was so much that happened that made me grow in many ways. It was important for me to fight for my music and my life because I wanted to leave something behind in case things turned for the worse because cancer is so unpredictable, we don't know what could happen, and I didn't know how intense it was. I didn't know what to expect. I just knew that music is the only thing that makes me happy.

Music is the only thing that makes me feel like I'm fulfilling my purpose in this life. I've been told many times that music is going to carry me through a lot of things. I knew God gave me this gift, and I am going to keep sharing it until my last breath. I kept pushing even when I was undergoing surgeries and treatments. I even hosted a breast cancer awareness concert to bring awareness to breast cancer.

But can I tell you something as well? I was angry with God. I didn’t understand why He allowed this after having a good year. There were nights when I just wanted to disassociate. I would have drinks and get drunk to try to escape. Other times I would pop off on my family and friends because I was convinced I wouldn’t be here next year, so I did not care. I watched my mom lose her life to cancer at eleven, and I was afraid it would be my same fate. I felt like I was stripped of everything. Towards the end of my first battle with cancer, God showed me how He was there the whole time. I was just in my feelings. He reminded me of different scenarios He brought me through. He never allowed my body to give in, even at my worst experiencing blood clots, chemo, and losing my hair. Overall, God started showing me the beauty in the storm that I could not see at that moment.

Keiyana: July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. What are some ways you stay ahead of your mental health?

Brittney: Having a schedule is big for me. If I feel like I am all over the place, that is when my mental health starts deteriorating and going downhill. When I know I need to do something, I write a list. Knowing that clutter around me makes me anxious and puts me in a depressed space, I start cleaning ahead of time.

Also, when I feel myself going into a deep spiral, I communicate my feelings. I am very expressive, <laugh>, and I am very extroverted. If I need to talk, I don't hold it within me, instead, I talk to my family or my friends about it. Again, the top three things that cater to my mental health are to be expressive with those I am okay with being vulnerable with, staying on a schedule, cleaning, and having a routine instead of letting things go chaotic.

Keiyana: Describe the process of creating your EP and your favorite song to perform.

Brittney: Yeah. I have my EP album called For Me. As I stated before, the origin of it stems from my getting fired back in 2018 <laugh>. We started labeling each song because we had begun shopping for beats we felt could relate to the song via YouTube. Once we had a structure for each song, we created a deadline to keep us on track. Love Yourself was a song that I worked on with two of my best friends. My friend began singing off the top of his head, and we started brainstorming ideas. Mind you were all jobless. At that time, I was married, and my husband told me to focus on my music while he supported us.

So I created every song and released two of them in 2019. Then, I released another one after I had finished chemo and radiation. I dropped the third song, and then the last two came out with the EP in 2021. It was a process, but I focused on each one in its own time and invested in each song at different times throughout those two years to make sure it sounded the way I needed it to. Once the project was finished, I had my album release concert and breast Cancer Awareness concert around the same time. Only God could have pulled it off.

Overall, the EP talks about things from my childhood and how I saw myself. It also pays homage to just the Caribbean and African cultures that I love so much. I was meticulous about each song because it hones in on what I have been through, from growing pains to mental health awareness. There’s also a song dedicated to my marriage, so every song is detailed to describe how I felt in those moments of my life, from the past to the present. The crowd favorite automatically is Love Yourself. That has healed, tried, and is true every time I perform. Though I connect with Love Yourself, the song I hold near and dear to my heart is Growing Pain. I talk about the ups and downs of my life, yet, in the end, I’m still standing and thriving no matter what happens.

Keiyana: Along with releasing your EP in 2021, you performed the national anthem at the Houston Rockets versus Miami Heat Game. Tell us more about that opportunity and your experience.

Brittney: I believe everything was God ordained. I received a random email from somebody who worked for the Houston Rockets who discovered me through the hashtag Houston Singer via Instagram and invited me to come to sing the national anthem.

Ironically, I sang the National Anthem on October 5th, four days before my concert. Due to this opportunity, my ticket sales skyrocketed from 60 sales to about 125 in a matter of a few days. I was blown away by God because He knew what He was doing.

Keiyana: What other things do you hope to pursue outside of music?

Brittney: I would like to start a nonprofit in honor of mom Joycie Lee Williams called Joycie’s Legacy. The nonprofit would cater to women in the local community battling breast cancer. My mom was also an RN nurse, so I would like to potentially give a scholarship to someone pursuing a nursing degree. I am very passionate about it and plan to launch it soon. I want to honor her legacy in any way I can because she was a goal-driven, phenomenal woman.

Keiyana: As we close out, tell our readers where they can find you on social media and what to expect from you this year.

Brittney: You all can find me on Facebook at Brittany Balmer Music and on Instagram @officialbrittneybalma. You can keep up with my upcoming performances and content on those socials. Hopefully, you can expect two singles from me this year. I already have the music for one single and the vision for the second single, but I want to get this first single done first. By 2024, I hope to deliver a full album.

On behalf of Foundation First, we want to thank Brittney Balma for sharing her inspiring testimony

Stay connected with Brittney by clicking the links below.

Instagram: @officialbrittneybalma

Facebook: Brittney Balma Music

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