by Roman Mitz
Smith Falls native and Nashville transplant Amanda Jordan has been on a pretty wild ride as of late. The country chanteuse released the singles “Pretty Girl” and “Love You To Pieces” in March and August of 2021. It ended up being a breakout year for Amanda which saw the two songs amass over half a million streams collectively and receive strong support from Canadian Country radio. She finished the year with a bang, landing features on Spotify’s Best Country Songs of 2021 Canada and Fresh Finds Country: Best of 2021. Amanda has continued her upward trajectory into 2022 with a show-stopping performance on the 26th season of ABC’s hit series “The Bachelor” with an intimate version of her latest single “I Choose You”. She’s still taken aback somewhat by the buzz that it’s created.
“The response has been really incredible,” Amanda says over the phone from her home in Germantown, a historic community located just a couple of blocks northwest of downtown Nashville. “We’re now at almost half a million streams of the record which is great to see. We are number three on the iTunes chart and number four in Canada. I’m just grateful and blown away to have that kind of response.
My team put forward my name to The Bachelor and I honestly thought that I was a long shot because they could have anyone they wanted. I got a call from them literally two days before the taping, saying they would love to have me perform “I Choose” on the show. I had two days to book my flight to L.A., find musicians, rehearse the song and buy and hem a dress, which I did three hours before the taping. It was all, like, go, go, go which I think was actually a good thing because I didn’t have time to get nervous.”
You can’t blame the singer for feeling a little anxious in that situation. Although it took place in a very intimate setting with Amanda performing in front of the bachelor (Clayton Echard) and his date (Susie Evans), the thought must have crossed her mind that her audience would actually be four million when the show aired.
“That number sunk in just before they walked in,” she admits. “It was definitely nerve racking. I also didn’t know where to look when I was performing. It was a little awkward because they were right in front of me and I didn’t want to stare them down or anything. It ended up being fun and it was romantic and it was a really sweet date for them for sure.”
“I Choose” may become the wedding song of choice based on the reaction and requests Amanda has received on social media. (“It’s been special reading some of the couples’ messages and for me to be a small part of their love story is kind of inspiring”) So just where did the song come from? It was a number written by Nashville vets Ruthie Collins and Natalie Stovall that Amanda immediately fell in love with when it was pitched to her. It was a different experience for her, not being part of the song writing process that has been such a positive experience for her since she moved to Nashville.
“I was nervous at first because I didn’t know anybody here,” she begins. ” I grew up in the small town of Smiths Falls which is between Ottawa and Kingston. I graduated with a degree from Carlton University. I knew that I wanted to move to Nashville because Canada is just so spaced out that it’s hard to find writers. They’re everywhere in Nashville and that’s how you learn and how you grow. I think it’s the best decision I ever made.”
Amanda is still writing songs for her upcoming EP and she hasn’t yet hashed out what those songs will look like and what the theme for the record will be. You can bet that it will include her previous two singles which she had a hand in writing. The song “Pretty Girl” is particularly poignant as it deals with the issue of stereotyping females based on their looks, bringing to mind a time not that long ago when the country music charts were dominated by the “boys club” and female performers weren’t taken seriously.
“I feel like we need to be recognized for who we are,” she says. “It’s tough for sure, especially in country music, but we’re starting to see epic changes which is just amazing. Mackenzie Porter just had a #1 song for three weeks so that’s just fantastic. I think it’s really great to see it start to turnaround. It’s about time we got back to the type of success that Shania Twain and Reba enjoyed.”
“Love You To Pieces” is an unusual love song in the sense that it suggests that commitment doesn’t necessarily mean ‘happily ever after’. The singer also says that sentiment applies to more than just romantic relationships.
“I wrote that song from the perspective that when you’re in a relationship it’s about committing to the person no matter what, even if they hurt you from time to time. It’s just about rising above and being a better person. It could also be about struggling in a friendship and staying the course through difficult times. I think all of my songs have messages that are empowering and will hopefully encourage others not to step back, but to be bigger and better. “
Along with her music career, Amanda has been bitten by the acting bug and you will soon see her on the small screen. (“Last summer I booked my first acting role in a Hallmark film called “Feeling Butterflies” which airs March 12”.) While live dates are still up in the air, if you happen to be in Nashville you may be able to catch her as part of the Song Suffragettes, a weekly writer’s round held at The Listening Room Café featuring rotating female country artists. In the meantime, Amanda will bask in her Bachelor glory, perhaps the only disappointment being that she missed out on receiving a rose herself.
“He’s so sweet so, yeah, I would have loved to get a rose from him,” she laughs. “Unfortunately, I wasn’t part of the party. I hope they go far because they’re my favourite couple.”
Other Country stuff:
Jade Eagleson has released a new song “She Don’t Know” that clearly articulates the love he holds for his wife of two years, Marina. Celebrated as one of the pioneers of the return of neo-traditional country, Jade’s smooth vocals lead the way in this modern love song. Jade says “I know there are a lot of people out there who are as crazy about their partners as I am but often have trouble finding the right ways to show them or the words to say it. I hope this song can help with that and leads to many slow dances in living rooms.”
The pride of New Brunswick, Matt Andersen, is back with a stunning, stripped back single “Other Side Of Goodbye” which will be the lead-off track on his debut solo acoustic studio album “House To House”, out March 4th. Pairing Andersen’s rich and evocative voice with lush acoustic guitar tones, ‘Other Side of Goodbye’ lends insight into the aftermath of a breakup and all that comes following the split. Says Matt of the track, “Breaking up is sometimes the easiest part, the hardest part is moving on.”
Nice to see legendary singer/songwriter Shirley Eikhard drop a new single called “Anything Is Possible” from her recent album “On My Way To You”. In a career spanning more than 40 years, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame singer plucks from her flair for pop music that made her a staple on the song writing scene. The writer behind Bonnie Raitt’s GRAMMY Award-winning “Let’s Give Them Something To Talk About” allows the music to take the lead with her robust signature vocals following in turn.