From spending time at local fairs and festivals to biking around on her grandparent’s farms, Amanda Jordan has always been a country girl at heart. Amanda was born and raised in the small town of Smiths Falls, Ontario and grew up listening to country music stars Tim McGraw and Shania Twain while spending time on the farm.
It was until she was 14 years old that she started taking music seriously. After studying music at Carleton University in the singer-songwriter stream, she would pack up her things and head to Nashville to pursue her dream. This past January, Amanda performed her single “I Choose You” on ABC’s The Bachelor, a show she loved and grew up watching. The up-and-coming Canadian musician has also started pursuing roles as an actress on a few TV shows and films over the last year.
As she prepares to release her next single at the end of May and continues to work on releasing her first EP, we caught up with Amanda to discuss her time growing up in Smiths Falls and pursuing her dreams of becoming an artist and actress.
You were born and raised in Smiths Falls ON. What was it like for you growing up there?
I adore my hometown, Smiths Falls, and I loved growing up in the country. There were always lots of fairs and festivals to attend and perform at when I was younger. Both of my grandparents had farms, so I spent a lot of time visiting the animals and riding my bike with my twin brother on sideroads. I wasn’t one to play with dolls, but we had rabbits and spent time pushing them in a little white and pink baby carriage up and down the side road that we lived on. I loved animals and the country and the sense of peace it brought, and I still do. My grandma had every collection of Tim and Faith and Shania CD’s and always had the country station playing on the radio or the CMT channel on the TV. I remember watching the music video for ‘The Way You Love Me’ by Faith Hill when I was 13 and thinking ‘I want to be like her one day’. I’d say country music chose me and I’m so thankful for that.
When did you discover your love for music? At what age did you decide to pursue a music career?
I really decided to take music seriously when I was 14 and started to write music. I struggled a lot in school. I had ADHD but was also very shy and I let test results and teacher’s opinions determine my self-worth. Music felt like the only thing I was good at and it was like therapy for me. There were no rules, no right or wrong answers. Just creating something I loved from nothing, and no one could take that away. I studied music at Carleton University in the singer songwriter stream. I couldn’t wait to get to Nashville so in my last semester I packed up and applied for a P2 Visa and moved into a small 395 square foot apartment with a bed that popped out of the wall. It was so small. I was able to get this amazing job performing on a tour bus with other songwriters. Songbird Tours was the best tour in Nashville, and we would tour up and down music rows telling the tourists the stories of famous record labels and artists while singing our original songs. Unfortunately, it had to close during the pandemic and wasn’t able to reopen. Trey Bruce was the owner and he really helped me get my feet on the ground in Nashville. I’m so grateful to him, and we still write together.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Some of my biggest musical influences are Willie Nelson, Kacey Musgraves, Morgan Wallen and Neil Young to name a few. I’m all about good storytelling and I’m a big fan of these artists’ ability to use raw relatability to tell the truth.
Your Single ‘I Choose You’ has over 500k streams on Spotify. What was this accomplishment like for you?
I was so thankful to have I Choose You showcased on various Spotify and Apple music playlists such as Women of Country, Contemporary Blend, Canada’s Country, and Country Lovin. It was such a dream to see the song chart at number 3 on the Country iTunes chart and 21 on the billboard sales chart and I have so many fans from The Bachelor to thank for that. I’ve had a lot of invitations to perform at weddings all over the world and it’s such an honour to know this song is a small part of others’ love stories.
Can you tell us a bit about acting?
Last summer I booked my first acting role. I was casted as a principal role in the movie Feeling Butterflies which was filmed around the Ottawa area last year and was released last month on the Hallmark channel. I was also in two episodes of a teen series called Hollie Hobby which should be airing in the Fall. Ironically, I got to play a struggling songwriter in Nashville.
The company licensed one of my original songs that I was able to perform live on the show. I wrote it when I was 15 so I’m happy it found a home. Just last week I returned from filming a lifetime channel Christmas movie in Toronto which I think is my favorite project yet. My character is from the 1940’s so the outfits and hair and makeup were very retro. Excited for this movie to premiere this coming Christmas.
You performed on The Bachelor at the beginning of the year. How did this opportunity land for you and what was it like performing on national television?
My team submitted my name to The Bachelor in the fall of last year to be considered as a musical guest. We didn’t hear back for a few weeks and then I got an email saying that
The Bachelor team had selected me. I was really excited, and everything came together pretty quickly. I only had 2 days to find musicians, book a flight to LA, find a hair and makeup artist and buy a dress (which I did about 2 hours before the taping). It was stressful but in the end I think it was a good thing because I didn’t have time to overthink or get nervous. It truly was such an honor and privilege to perform on a show that I genuinely love and grew up watching. As an independent emerging Canadian artist, I really feel lucky to have had this opportunity.
Where do you find your inspiration to write music?
My inspirations come from a lot of different places but usually from experiences or observations of different things that need a light shone on them. For example; Pretty Girl is a song I wrote about how often girls feel this overwhelming pressure to meet society’s unrealistic beauty standards and we’re taught to do everything we can to try and be ‘pretty’. This song is saying we’re so much more than that. We are smart, we are kind, we are strong, and we should love ourselves for who we are. All girls are more than just ‘Pretty’. Another song I wrote called “Love You to Pieces” is about loving someone unconditionally and unwaveringly. It’s about accepting every version of someone including the not so pretty parts.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career so far and how did you overcome it?
One of the biggest challenges to my career so far was the pandemic. Not being able to perform live really slowed the momentum down I think for a lot of emerging artists. Zoom writes were a bit of an adjustment at first with the time delay, but my co-writers and I made the most of it and a lot of my favourite songs now were written via zoom. It’s funny because I’m so used to it now that I prefer zoom writes over in person. Recording and releasing was also difficult with the travelling restrictions. For the song ‘Love You to Pieces ‘the vocals had to be done here in Ottawa at Audio Valley and then sent to Nashville where the producer finished the song. This wasn’t ideal but we were able to make it happen and it’s my favorite song I’ve released.
What artist would you most like to collaborate with?
I like to blend traditional and contemporary sounds in my music and Willie Nelson is an artist I’ve always looked up to and who has always inspired me. Always on My Mind is one of my all- time favorite songs so to be able to perform that live with him would be a dream come true. He’s also one of the most iconic songwriters in Nashville so just to sit in the writing room and learn from him would be incredible.
What is the best advice you’ve been given throughout your career?
The best advice that I’ve ever been given is by a very special man in Nashville who continues to be so supportive of my career and is always guiding me in my next steps. He’s taught me the importance of having a sense of humor when you have a door close on you. And there have been lots of doors close, but I like to think of it as a swinging door like at a saloon or bar and it really depends on which side of the door you are standing. The opportunities really are endless, and it’s about having a positive attitude and being grateful that we as artists can make a living doing what we love.
What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
My advice to aspiring artists is to be ready to pivot as there isn’t one straight path to where you want to go. The industry is changing so rapidly due to technology and different streaming platforms and social media that even the most experienced professionals are experimenting and learning as they go. In a sense that’s what makes it so exciting to be in the industry right now. If music or acting is what you love, then focus on developing your craft to the best of your ability and watch and learn from those around you and don’t be afraid to jump right in.
What is next for your career?
I’m so excited for this next single I’m working on set to release end of May or early June and I’m continuing to work on my first EP. Funding is always an issue and sometimes that can slow an artist down. I’m booked for a TV show in Nashville in a couple of weeks and I’m really looking forward to that.