By last December, Block still had yet to break through. While visiting her family for Christmas, she decided to post her first TikTok video for fun; by this spring, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she started posting regularly. The 25-year-old uploaded covers of songs like Morgan Wallen’s “Whiskey Glasses,” as well as original tunes, quickly realizing the app may be more beneficial to her success than hotel gigs. “The most shocking part,” she says, “is my original music was what was exploding.”
Block posted “PMS,” a humorous self-penned country ode about the woes of premenstrual syndrome, in April, and the song rapidly garnered more than 1 million views on TikTok. She soon replicated that success with her body-positivity anthem, “Thick Thighs.” But Block was about more than songs that bordered on novelty. One night -- after she’d moved out of her apartment, because she was too broke to afford her rent and the pandemic had shut down all her paying gigs -- she and her sister went to get a drink, and a horrible day turned worse when she ran into an ex-boyfriend at the bar. Not long after, she and two friends, Emily Kroll and Sarah Jones, wrote “Just About Over You” via FaceTime. In the ballad, Block laments that as she was finally ready to move on, seeing her former love made her heart break all over again.
Block posted a work tape of her singing the song into her phone on TikTok at the end of June, and fans quickly raised the $1,500 Block needed to make a proper recording. Once complete, she followed the advice of her then-manager and released the polished version to streaming platforms on a Wednesday in August, instead of the usual Friday release day. The gambit worked: within 12 hours, “Just About Over You” soared to No. 1 on iTunes Country Chart and iTunes All Genre Chart.
“I was speechless,” Block says. “The tears that flooded out of me that day were endless and I was like, ‘On my gosh, this might be my chance.’”
By the next day, labels in Nashville, New York and Los Angeles came calling, including Universal Music Group Nashville. The label’s evp of A&R, Brian Wright, had alerted CEO & chairman, Mike Dungan, to the rapidly rising country star. “I went into the whole thing completely skeptical, because it’s TikTok,” says Dungan. “There were a jillion TikToks [for Block] and there was a lot of twerking, but there was also music that was really solid.”