CMA Fest 2024: Chat With Jordana Bryant

1) You’ve just recently put out your latest song, “Saddle Up.” For those who haven’t already heard it, what they can expect when they hit play?

“Saddle Up” is a really fun, high energy, country love song that I wrote about someone who just really puts you first and makes you feel like the most important part of their life. I know a lot of people use that phrase, if he wanted to he would, and this is kind of my song about he wanted to and he did.

I’ve been playing it on the road all year long and people always ask me where they can find it, so I’m excited to finally be able to say that it’s anywhere that you stream music.

2) You seem to be a bit floatier and more carefree over your recent output, both with this new tune as well as “Fireworks.” Tell us about that shift in your music.

I do feel like music is a little bit seasonal, right? In winter, I’m more in the mood for those ballads and sadder songs. But then when it’s nice out and it’s sunny and warm, I’m more in the mood for those songs you can listen to with your windows down when you’re driving and just cruising.

That said, when I was thinking about what songs to put out this summer, I really wanted to put out those more fun, upbeat, high-energy songs.

I’m really excited that “Fireworks” is out. That’s one of my favorites. When we were writing it, I came into the session with this melody, and I had written a different lyric but didn’t love what it was. We were throwing out different ideas for what the title could be. We threw out a bunch of different concepts and I was like, well what if it’s fireworks? One of the other writers asked, “you mean like how fire works?”

I was, “no like fireworks in the sky, but what if we combine those two ideas?” We did a play on words and I think it’s so fun that the hook of the song rhymes with itself. We used the words, “somehow a tiny spark turned into fireworks, you pulled me out the dark, I guess that’s just how fire works.”

3) You have a very ambitious schedule for your song releases; about every 5 weeks or so. We love marketing and are curious about the traction you get from song to song, or if your idea is more so that each one is an intriguing piece to the overall puzzle with a heavier focus on what’s still to come.

I love getting to put out music every few weeks because I feel that we’re in an era where people listen to a song right when it’s out, and then they want to hear the next song. I know that when one of my favorite artists puts out music, I immediately want to hear the next song.

Because I’m in the studio almost every day and writing, I feel like I could put out a song every week. I really get so excited with getting to put out new music and then play it on the road.

4) Your music has always carried a tremendous transparency, kinda of like your diary through song; heartbreak, crushes, friendships, real life challenges, etc. How have you seen that transparency really resonating with the early 20-something demographic?

I really enjoy getting to put out music that’s real to me and that other teenagers can relate to. There are songs in country music that are drinking or bar songs, and that’s not necessarily something I can relate to yet. So, I love getting to put out songs like “New Friends,” about friendship and other themes that a lot of young people experience and resonate with.

But it’s also so cool to see people in their 40’s, 60’s, and 70’s be like, “I so relate to that song!” And that’s a really special feeling. I think that most feelings are pretty universal and something that we’ve all experienced before. For example, “New Friends” is friends changing and shifting and that’s a theme that a lot of people experience in middle school and high school, but that’s something that a lot of us experience at all stages of life. So, I love getting to meet people who listen to my music who aren’t who you might think would.

5) I think we met you right around the time that you were officially making the move to Nashville.  How has being here full-time, engrained in the music community, really helped you grow and excel in your career and songwriting?

I feel like there is so much progress that I made just by doing it every day. Whether it’s your live show, writing, recording, harmonies… there’s so many skills that I think you just improve by continuously practicing.

Two years ago, I used to get so nervous before every show. I’d be rehearsing what I was gonna say between my songs, where I was gonna move on stage…and I’m proud that now I don’t have to think about that much anymore. It just happens the more that you do it. Looking back on shows now, even hearing songs I wrote two years ago, I’m glad to say there is definitely some progress made.

6) CMA Fest is such a wonderful time of year for the artist and fans to come together as one big thank you note to each other. What are you most excited about with being a part of it this year?

This year I’m doing meet-n-greets at Fan Fair X, which I hadn’t done in the past. It’s such a cool experience. It’s only day two of CMA Fest but I have absolutely had the best time already. I love to meet the people who listen to my music, and even those who haven’t listened to it and get to chat with them. It’s such a wonderful experience getting to talk to people from all over.

7) We have so many aspiring songwriters and artists that read our website, so we always like to end by asking this…what is the best piece of advice you can offer?

Never let anybody change who you are. Always ask yourself when you’re making decisions, “Is this really who I am? Is this really what I feel good about?” You have to forget what everyone else is saying and ask yourself if it’s what I really want to be saying and how I want to represent myself as an artist.

And trust your gut! I think it’s important to listen to people’s advice, but never go against your gut. Truth is, there are so many talented artists in town but none of them can be you. As long as you stay truthful to yourself, then you’re going to be successful. No matter what that looks like on the outside, you’ll be proud of yourself because you followed your own instincts.

(Interview by: Jeffrey Kurtis)


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