EVERY music fan knows there's something special about loving an artist before they're popular. It's like knowing an inside story. They're yours.
That's what Brandi Carlile's breakthrough album The Story feels like for Newcastle country queen Catherine Britt.
It was 2007 and Britt was already two albums into her recording career and was living in Nashville when her friend and US country artist Ashley Monroe recommended she listen to a song called The Story by an underground folk singer-songwriter called Brandi Carlile.
Both Britt and Monroe quickly became obsessed with the folk-rock track, about how every previous heartbreak prepared the singer for her new love.
They grabbed a copy of the album and soon The Story was used on the soundtrack of TV series Grey's Anatomy. Carlile subsequently blew up.
The 39-year-old's star continued to rise across her ensuing four records, which resulted in a Grammy win for Best Americana Album last year for By the Way, I Forgive You.
Carlile is also a member of the country supergroup, The Highwomen, with Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris and Amanda Shires.
"I saw her in Nashville 12 years ago with my dad and literally her last album won a Grammy and now she's this big deal in America all of the sudden and everyone knows who she is," Britt says.
"I'm like, 'Totes dude, I knew who she was 10 years ago'. It's cool when the rest of the world catches on when they're really good.
"If they're that good they just breed underground and just build, build, build and eventually that happens for them. That album [The Story] changed my life for many years."
Much like Britt herself, Carlile never fit the cookie-cutter polished pop sound Nashville's hit factory is obsessed with.
The Story has a grittiness. It also doesn't smoothly fit a genre. Carlile trapezes alt-country, rock, blues and folk and her wailing voice in a mix of Janis Joplin and Sheryl Crow.
"There's this moment in the second chorus of The Story the song where her voice breaks and it just kills me that they left that," Britt says.
"Normally in the pop Nashville world I was living in, they would fix all those mistakes, everything was slick and everything was about being radio friendly. A hit.
"There was something about that, in that it sounded like a hit to me still, but it had this raw, real singer-songwriter element that they left in this moment where her voice breaks.
"It's not perfect, but because they left it, it sounds perfect to me."
Carlile's songwriting has had a lasting impact on Britt. So much so the Novocastrian travelled to Seattle to record her 2015 album Boneshaker at Bear Creek Studios. The same studio Carlile used for 2012's Bear Creek.
"I think of her when I sit down and write songs," she says. "I think of how would Brandi write this melody? How would she write this lyric?
"It's not generally how people would do that and I love that. It's kind of looking at it from a different perspective."
Britt's never had the opportunity to meet her hero. Married with two boys Hank, 2, and Morrison, 10 months, she jokes she lived in Nashville 10 years too early as her old friend Ashley Monroe now bounces around the same social circles as Carlile.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, Britt bunkered down in her Mayfield home studio recording her eighth and debut independent album. The record was partly financed by a fundraising campaign.
Britt's first single I Am A Country Song is available to pre-save and will be released on August 18.
Albums That Made Me series