Last week, I got to talk to 17 year old, Jordyn Stoddard from Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Even at such a young age, her debut album, “Southern Tide” has recently came out. Her debut single, “Like Me ‘Til You Love Me” is already having it’s impact on the charts on country radio, today. She’s different from any other artist I’ve talked to at her age. She’s wise beyond her years and seems to be heading in just the right direction. Watch out for this one, the whole world may know her name in just a year or two. Inspiring and self-motivated, Jordyn tackles on these questions about her life:
Q: How does it feel to be so successful at such a young age?”
J: You know, it’s really cool. This is something I’ve always wanted to do. Being able to put my song out and having it be played on the radio is such an incredible feeling. It’s crazy how some times I forget the fact I’m seventeen because I’m like, “Oh my God”.
Q: “Do you feel like you’ve had to grow up faster than your peers around you?”
J: Oh God, yes. Being in the business, I’ve always wanted to pursue my dreams. I’ve always felt like I’ve been mentally older than most sixteen and seventeen year olds. I was home schooling last year so I guess in a way I do feel a little bit older than I really am. It’s so funny because people say that some times and I’m like, ‘really?’ Then I started noticing it and I think it’s because of getting to hang out with older people just because of the way the business is. My parents sat me down at 15 and asked me if this is what I really want to do and I’ve been doing it for awhile now. I’ve been singing since I was seven, but I didn’t take it seriously until I was 12 with learning how to play guitar, and writing music and this is really what I wanted to do, so we started taking it seriously, and I think that’s kind of where being seventeen, you kind of have to act a little bit older and make mature decisions.
Q: “Do you think having supportive parents helped with the process?”
J: Yes they’re super important to me. Family is everything.
Q: “Do you still live in Florida? Or did you move to Nashville recently?”
J: We still do live in Florida, but after going back and forth to Nashville.. It’s funny because I’m actually about to go back and take the ACT in a few weeks, and then I’m going to send my resume to Belmont.
Q: “How was it like working with producer, David Hall? He’s worked with big names like Gavin DeGraw and Mariah Carey, two huge names in the music industry.”
J: He’s somebody I’ve gotten to know and become really close with in the process of making my album. We have the same personality. We’re very funny, super silly, and never take things too seriously. I’m so happy that he’s someone that’s really believed in me and knew what I wanted to do with the album from picking the songs back to when they were on an acoustic guitar to full production is such a talent and I can’t thank him enough for bringing these songs to life. That’s one of my favorite things, meeting somebody you can really relate to and they understand exactly what you’re talking about. I loved going into details about my songs with him because he could see what I wanted and read my mind. It’s really cool getting to work with someone like that.
Q: “You have two cowrites on your album. Is songwriting something you plan or hope to be on focusing more in the future?”
J: Yes. I’ve been here in Nashville for a week and everyday I have a songwriting session. It’s something I’ve decided that is really important to me and has been important to me since I was 12. You know, not living in Nashville, I didn’t realize how much you have to write and how much you have to push yourself, so every chance I get to come up here, I’m like, ‘I want to write every single day and I want to set challenges for myself’, and I do. It helps me as a writer and I love it. That’s what I want to go to school for, majoring in songwriting.
Q: “What inspires you to write a song?”
J: There are so many things. This year was really important to me because I got to grow up a little bit and I was going through a lot. I realized that when you’re going through so much, you can write about anything daily. I try to keep track of that. I don’t have a diary, but I write down little notes, and I’ll go back to them and I’ll put them in a song and it could be about a guy I’m dating or something that I’ve gone through. I just wrote a song about a girl I went to high school with that wasn’t very nice to me, but I decided to go the “artist” route as an outlet and make a song about it to make myself feel better. I think writing helps in the coping process when I feel like I don’t know how to handle a situation.
Q: “Who are your favorite bands or artists to pull inspiration from in relation to music, songwriting, or performing?”
J: It’s crazy because I have so much inspiration from so many different people. Right now, I’ve been listening to Tori Kelly because she’s completely different than anything I’ve ever heard of, and I’m a big fan. I’m also a huge fan of Kenny Chesney and literally know every word to every song of his on every album. I love old school music. I love Chicago. I love Eagles. My favorites are Fleetwood Mac. I actually did covered Dreams on my album and redid it to make it a version of my own. There are just so many people that inspire me, musically, and not just when it comes to the sound of their music, but their writing and performing, too. All of it, like a package.
Q: “You mentioned Tori Kelly as a source of inspiration, which is kind of surprising because she’s notable for leaning towards a pop genre feel. Do you think you would ever cross country with pop music in the future if you had to collaborate or anything like that? We know there’s no real label of a genre on a particular artist, but are you open to experimenting with your music? A good example is Taylor Swift who has done the switch from country to pop, vice versa, throughout her career. Do you ever see yourself like that too?”
J: I can totally see myself doing something like that, but country has always been where I’ve felt most at home, most at heart because I grew up listening to country. So, maybe in the future, but I think what would be really cool is to collaborate with somebody in pop because nowadays you’re hearing about “country pop”, “country R&B”, or “country rap”. That’s so big now, like if I were work with somebody and have a huge impact, for example collaborating with Tori Kelly, it would be labeled by people as country pop. It’s doing things like that, that make a difference. I would like to step outside of my comfort zone one day and write about something that I never have before. I would like to do that within the next year or two to come.
Q: “Who would be your dream inspiration outside of the country music realm?”
A: There’s a few. I would really, really love to collaborate with Maroon 5. I’m a big fan of their style, and there’s something so unique about their voice. I love Tori Kelly. I also really love NeedToBreathe and I’ve always wanted to do a song with them.
Q: “Has your music or have your looks ever been compared to Taylor Swift?”
J: I do get comparisons, especially when I was doing radio tours. She’s had a huge impact on my life, but as well as other girls too. I think what Taylor did was that she set the standard for women in music, not just in country, but in pop as well, and dominated. I think that gave girls a lot of courage to put their music more out there and feel confident about themselves with what they write or what they have to say. When I get compared to her, it’s really an honor because of where she’s at now. I get a lot of comparisons about how we started at the same age and starting so young. I look up to her and I always will.
Q: “You recently performed at Jam In The Valley in front of 23,000 people. How did that feel? Has that been one of your biggest crowds yet?”
J: Yeah, that’s been one of my largest crowds. It was so much fun. I love being surrounded by people who share the same interests as me and doing the same things as me. I’m going out and playing the music that we are sharing. To watch people connect and share an interest with me is everything. I would go out, and still go out, after every show to meet fans because I want to meet everybody and thank them in person for listening. It’s cool getting to see all that happen. It’s so humble, so inspiring, and makes me so much more confident in myself.
Q: “On the topic of meeting fans, how do you balance the life of being a teenager and the life of being a star?”
J: I’ve learned to balance it. At first it was a little hard for me, this year in particular. In the past years, I would go and play shows over the weekend or come up to Nashville for the weekend. It was never me taking two weeks off from school at a time. This year was really different, and that’s when I enrolled in online school. At first, it was tough, but it was more about leaving my family more so than leaving my friends because I have two really close and personal best friends, one being my cousin and one being someone from school. It’s more hard leaving my family than it is to leave my best friend, but my family always wanted to be on the road with me, so some times, I have them. I actually enjoyed being on the road and being in new places everyday so I try to think about it in a positive way. It’s not so bad if you think about it. I’m in the car driving places and pursuing my dream and what I want to do. It’s like, ‘Okay, I want to be with my friends, but I also want to play for 20,000 people at Jam In The Valley’. It’s like my vocal coach always says, ‘If you give positive vibes, you’re going to feel positive’, so I always try to think about that.
Q: “So, it’s been known that you’re an adrenaline junky. How would you describe yourself being that? Do you go zip-lining or take risks often?”
J: Yes, I think I love being daring and doing crazy stuff because of my dad. He’s very fearless and made me believe that I shouldn’t be scared of everything. I went zip-lining a couple of days ago, and when I turn 18, I want to go sky-diving on my birthday. I went white-water rafting in Costa Rica when I was ten. It was extreme hardcore, but a lot of fun. I don’t want to be so reckless, but I want to have fun with it. I always try to find something to do. It makes me feel good.
Q: “Do you think taking risks like those resonates or reflects with how you take on new paths, musically?”
J: For sure. Me just wanting to move to Nashville was taking a risk itself because I have zero family here. All my family is in Florida. So it’s definitely not knowing anybody, but a big step and something I’ve always wanted to do. What I’ve learned is that you can never get too comfortable with anything because you’re constantly going to be on the move or facing new challenges no matter what you do. If you get too comfortable, you’re going to be uncomfortable in new places. I always try to think about that.
Q: “Anything you’re looking forward to in the near future like projects or performances that you can tell us about?”
J: I’ve been writing a lot. When people come to live shows, they can expect new songs, too. I’m not doing anything in the studio currently, but being on the road and writing with people, I’m excited to showcase new songs onstage. I’m constantly pushing myself. When meeting fans, I have some come up to me and tell me that my music inspires them and to never give up. That’s why I realize that all of this is happening so fast to me and you never know how long it’s going to last so keep pushing yourself and don’t give up no matter how hard it gets because I want this.
It was such a pleasure to hear so much wisdom and buoyant insight from Jordyn, only seventeen and tackling on what life throws at her to pursue her dreams. She’s headed in the right direction, that’s for sure. Remember us at Nashville Gab, Jordyn, when you’re a big star!