Amanda Jordan Releases Music City-Inspired Single “Driving in the Dark”
Canadian country recording artist Amanda Jordan’s Music City-inspired single, “Driving in the Dark”, was released to Canadian radio at the end of September. Jordan says of the single, “The very first time I drove to Nashville to write, my twin brother was driving and telling me about how he loved to drive at night and into the sunrise. From there, the song grew. I wanted to create a happy musical energy that captures the euphoria one feels when you first fall in love and begin experiencing the world together. It’s something you can listen to as you drive along on a warm summer night.”
The framework of “Driving of the Dark” was crafted by Jordan and esteemed Nashville writers Phil Barton (Meghan Patrick, The Washboard Union) and Jason Matthews (Billy Currington, Luke Bryan). After heading back to the illustrious Canadian confines of Barrytone Studios, award-winning producer Jason Barry (Dean Brody, Jason Blaine) molded the song into what it is today.
What are your fondest family musical memories growing up?
My twin brother played the drums and we had a lot of fun playing together when we were young. I recall playing on stage in a gym in Brockville for a Christmas Craft market. I think we were about five. I sang Shania Twain’s song “Up” and Thomas drummed along. On Saturdays we would drive 1.5 hours into Ottawa to take music lessons together. We would sit in the back of the van listening to Taylor Swift all the way. One time we tap danced and sang on the Streets of Ottawa for a Festival. The song we step danced to and sang was “Hit the Road Jack”. These were really fun musical memories that I still think about today.
Read you sang Patsy Cline’s “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” at 18 months old for a caregiver-what other country artists do you remember listening to as a child?
The caregiver heard me singing it while I was standing inside the crib and I really couldn’t talk yet. My mom and the caregiver found out that that song was on a tape of nursery rhymes that was playing each night when we went to bed so I must have picked it up that way. I remember listening to Hilary Duff and going to see her when I was about seven and that was really exciting. My dad always played Willie Nelson and Neil Young,
From your first time on stage at 5 until you decided to move to Nashville, which Canadian venue was your favorite to perform at?
I like playing at any venue, really, but I do like playing at CC’s on the Rideau in Perth, Ontario. It’s a nice restaurant near my house and I play outside as the boats go up and down the Rideau Canal. There are big willow trees and ferry lights and the crowd is always so friendly.
How has your singer-songwriter degree from Carleton University influenced your career?
The program at Carleton gave me the basics of performance and a lot of music theory. There were ensembles to play in and we had a lot of guest songwriters in as lecturers. Besides me, I think there was maybe one or two other students who were country performers. Most of the people there were Jazz or classical musicians so that made for an interesting mix. Dr. James Wright allowed me to individualize the program to meet my needs which was great. On top of that, I was allowed to go to Nashville and songwrite and receive a credit for it.
After making the final ten in both the 2016 and 2017 Ole on the Spot Songwriting Competitions, she later made the finals of the 2018 Canadian Songwriting Competition for her song “Silverado Run”.
That same year, she opened for Canadian superstar Brett Kissel in Sudbury as part of his Kick it with Kissel contest and was one of eight wild cards to compete for the last spot in the Boots and Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase.
The culmination of these events prompted Jordan to move to Nashville in 2018. Besides writing with the likes of Daniel Ross (Florida Georgia Line) and Abram Dean (Madeline Merlo), she has further embraced Music City by performing as a featured songwriter on the acclaimed Nashville Songbird Tour Bus alongside notables like Trey Bruce (Carrie Underwood) and Paul Jefferson (Keith Urban).
What was it like being part of Ole on the Spot Songwriting Competitions along with the Canadian Songwriting Competition?
That was so much fun! We had to send in an audition tape and then 10 people were chosen to perform during Canadian Country Music Week before the Nashville Judges. Everyone was so supportive of each other. Ole is now called Anthem and they are such a friendly group that it was almost like performing in your living room.
What is the backstory to “Letting It Go Tonight”?
“Letting It Go Tonight” was one of the first songs that I had professionally recorded. It’s kind of my bad girl song about a being stuck in your head after a breakup and deciding to go out with friends to drink away your problems and just let it go for the night.
Now that you are spending more time in Nashville, which venue reminds you the most of home?
Nashville is a great city. Everybody is ready to talk about music. I grew up in a small town where everybody knows everybody, so it’s a completely different experience for me.
My favourite venue in Nashville is in Leiper’s Fork, which is a cute country village 20 minutes from town. It’s called The Country Boy and the people there are so friendly and remind me of home. I think that’s where the real country farmers go and you can really sense the southern charm.
What was the biggest career take-away from opening for Brett Kissel in Sudbury last year?
It was an honor to be select by Brett to open for him in Sudbury on his Kick It with Kissel Tour. He was very welcoming and made me feel right at home. I couldn’t believe the fans in Sudbury. They really love country music and really love Brett. It was just an all-around great experience.
Who are the up & coming Canadian artists we should add to our playlists?
There are a lot of great up and coming artists that are musts on your playlists but I can name a few: Brea Lawrenson, Sandi Skye, Josh Ross, Matt Martin, Dustin Bird, Arlene Quinn are artists who work really hard and are truly creating inspirational music.
What was it like performing in “Revenge Of The Daughter”, a Lifetime Channel movie, along with having two of your songs in the soundtrack?
That was one of the highlights of my career for sure. It was so much fun being on set and I was cast as a singer, so I sang one original song live and then they used another one of my songs during a murder scene!
Would you like to act more in the future?
I absolutely love acting. I was lucky enough to be selected by Angie’s Models and Talent International to attend a week-long acting camp in LA one summer and that’s when I realized how much I loved acting. I continue to audition for movie parts and I always have fun doing it.
“Driving in The Dark”-I read your first drive to Nashville with your brother (and his story about how he loved driving into the sunrise) inspired it. What stood out for you from the co-write with Phil Barton and Jason Matthews putting that trip into a song? What did Jason Barry add in the production of the song?
Writing with those two writers was one of my favorite writes for sure!
Phil is very high-energy! I was told before I went into the write that he yells “whoop” and “Yea baby” when he gets excited in a write. I can now say this is true! He’s such a talented writer and fun to be around. Phil was a children’s songwriter from Australia with many awards before he moved to Nashville. Jason has many cuts in Nashville and he is so kind. They made me feel really comfortable as it was one of my first writes in Nashville, if not my first.
From there, we rolled on over to Phil’s studio to record a working tape, which was sent to Jason Barry of Barrytone Studios back in Canada. Jason is really special to me because not all producers will take the time to produce songs for emerging artists, which can be a bit of a challenge. Jason made me feel special and comfortable in his studio. In the sound box room, you can take your shoes off and undo any buttons you need to get the best sound possible. We collaborate and discuss what sort of sound I am hearing in my head and what sort of instruments I imagine in the song. He takes it from there and works his magic, then you wait and when the song arrives, it’s like Christmas morning. I’m always so happy with the results and just can’t believe it’s the same song.
What are five fun facts from the filming of the “Driving In The Dark” video that fans may not know?
Fun Fact 1: We almost had to cancel the shoot as I could not find an actor that was available to act in the video for me. My friend Matt Martin came to the rescue the day before the shoot.
Fun Fact 2: The producer Jesus Fuentes is a recent graduate of Algonquin College in Ottawa.
Fun Fact 3: The bridge scene is the Rideau Ferry Bridge on the Rideau Lakes. People love jumping off this bridge. Both my brothers and probably my dad have done it.
Fun Fact 4: Just as you pass over the bridge, you can see CC’s On The Rideau. This is the best Restaurant between Ottawa and Toronto on the water and it’s my favorite venue to play gigs when I’m home.
Fun Fact 5: The hammock in the video is one of my favorite spots to write.
Giving back through song — as you have with “Carry You” for Boots 4 Pups — touches the hearts of many. What other causes would you like to write for?
I wrote a song for a little girl who lives down my road who suffers from CCHS and she stops breathing every time she falls asleep. I had a musical fundraiser for her in my hometown and made a music video for her and her family, which you can find on my YouTube channel.
What is it like being a featured songwriter on the Nashville Songbird Tour Bus? What makes it stand out as a tourist must-do?
Working on the tour bus has been amazing! I get to perform alongside Emmy-award winning artists like Trey Bruce (Faith Hill) and Paul Jefferson (Keith Urban). We go up and down Music Row stopping at all the record labels and publishing buildings giving the historical and musical backgrounds on each. This is the only tour bus in Nashville where live music is being played while the tour is being given.
What is a typical day like when you are songwriting in Nashville?
I live in a cute 450 square foot micro apartment with a murphy bed close to downtown. I usually wake up and have a morning write. Sometimes I go to the writer, sometimes they come to my place. Sometimes I have two writes a day, but I try to stick with one as two can be mentally tiring!
Your plans for the rest of the year and into 2020?
My plans are to stay busy!
During Canadian Country Music Week in September, I got to showcase as part of the Diamonds in the Rough series in Calgary. My single “Driving in the Dark” is now released to Canadian radio, as of September 30th and I just participated in the Wild West Songwriters Festival in South Dakota, which was a tremendous honor.
Now I’m hitting the road in Canada for a single release show in Ottawa on October 19th, a Writer’s Round on October 23rd in Oakville, and a Toronto show on October 25th.
Moving forward, I’m planning an EP release for the summer of 2020 and want to play more festivals!
For more information, go to Jordan’s website.