The Nash Next Challenge is down to its 10 finalists, and in the lead-up to the announcement of the champion on Oct. 25, NCD will be profiling each of the 10 finalists.
Today, we are getting to know finalist Ashley Jordan.
In July, Cumulus Media and Big Machine Label Group invited aspiring country artists and bands to participate in the Nash Next Challenge, an artist development competition where the winner will receive a recording contract with Big Machine Label Group and have an original song produced by Jay DeMarcus, which will garner national radio airplay on Cumulus Media radio stations across the U.S.
The winner of the Nash Next Challenge will be crowned on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at Mercy Lounge in Nashville by judges Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn, Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts, Danielle Bradbery and Big Machine CEO Scott Borchetta. The event, which will also feature a performance from Trent Harmon, is open to the public from 7–10 p.m.
Home City Market: Boston
How did you get started in music?
I had been singing and learning the guitar on my own when I was young, but my real start came when I went to a show and saw a local performer by the name of John Gerard sing and play guitar. He was so passionate about performing, and I immediately knew that I wanted to sing and play the guitar like him. He was a complete stranger, but I went up to him and asked if he’d work with me, and he agreed! He was a really cool guy and he gave me the courage to start street performing in Boston in my early teens.
At what age did you realize you wanted to make music your career?
I was 13.
Who are your musical influences?
Kacey Musgraves, Miranda Lambert, Jewel, Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton and so many more.
What three words describe you?
Sensitive, creative, free-spirited.
What would you say is unique about your sound?
I feel a lot of emotion about many of my songs and I feel that this comes across in my music.
What three albums would you take to a deserted island?
Lori McKenna’s Lorraine, James Taylor’s Greatest Hits and Ellis Paul’s The Day After Everything Changed.
What’s a song you wish you had written?
“Humble and Kind” by Lori McKenna.
What was the first concert you ever attended?
Who are the King and Queen of country music?
The king is Garth Brooks and the queen is Reba McEntire.
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
“Baggage Claim” by Miranda Lambert.
Where is the craziest place you’ve performed?
At a ski resort, which doesn’t sound that crazy except for the fact that we had to ride up the mountain on a chairlift, with all my gear and a complete sound system to the lodge that was at the top of the mountain. It was pretty freaky.
What’s the first thing you do after a show?
Go out and talk and connect with people in the audience.
What’s been your most exciting or unusual fan encounter?
After I performed at the Boston Hatch Shell in front of 40,000 people for MixFest 2015, a group of young girls contacted me because they had started a fan club and named themselves Ashley’s Jordies, and they posted pictures and words of encouragement on the fan page. They continue to be awesome and sweet fans by coming to shows, contacting me and posting things on their fan page.
What’s your favorite song to cover?
“My Church” by Maren Morris.
What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done onstage?
It was my first time to perform late night at a radio station and I broke two strings during the first song I played. I didn’t have replacement strings or another guitar and we were live on the radio! It was really awkward, but finally the host put out a plea to the listening audience to see if anyone could help. A short time later we had a station full of people, including a band who showed up with replacement strings and another person who ran in with a guitar. It turned out to be a crazy and fun night after the initial embarrassment.