Jordan Hines of Benson started singing in church when she was 7 years old, and Ive been singing ever since, she said.
That first concert got a lot of love from the audience, but at the end of it she was sort of embarrassed and just ran out of the church, said her mom, Sonia Hines. Shes come a long way since then.
Now 13, Jordan still sings in church, but shes added some experience on a big stage in front of a larger audience as a guest performer with Johnston Community Colleges Country Music Showcase (motto: Where Stars Get Their Start). And through JCC, she was recently awarded the annual Ginny Wicker Award, which bestows $500 to help advance musicians careers.
In her application for the award, given in honor of Wicker, who served on the showcases planning committee, Jordan had a simple answer for the question of why she wanted the award.
I said I wanted it because I wanted to keep singing and progressing in my music, she said. I wanted to keep going and going and just keep singing for the people who want to hear me sing.
Jordan used the prize money to buy a guitar and a sound system she can use at performances. While her voice is her main instrument, she said shes excited to learn guitar and optimistic that it will open a lot of doors for her.
Right from the start, she pointed out, all she has to do is learn three chords and theres like billions of songs you can learn.
The songs she likes best are gospel. And her favorite gospel songs made it onto her CD, You Are Mine, which she recorded when she was just 11.
Theyre songs that I have loved ever since I was little, said Jordan, an eighth-grader at Benson Middle School. Im Gonna Praise the Lord, that was the first song I ever sang on the JCC show, thats sort of what started me off. Other songs on the album include You Are Mine and Long as I Got King Jesus.
Those are some of my favorite songs to sing, Jordan said.
Recording the album was an important learning experience, she said.
We had to get in a small little box with padding all around it to record, she said, referring to the small studio room. With headphones on and her own voice audible as she sang, it was pretty different from singing live on stage. I thought it was really neat though, she said.
She also took advantage of the chance to do multiple takes of each song, something she definitely doesnt get to do on stage. It was all just to make sure I get em as good as I can, she said.
Jordan made her debut with JCCs Country Music Showcase in its Gospel Jubilee show in 2010, and shell be back for two performances this year the Country Legends show on April 5 and 6 and the gospel show Aug. 2 and 3. The showcases expose performers to intense rehearsals in a group setting and give them the chance to experience a professional-grade facility with high-tech lighting and sound.
Jordans mom said the performances have been a real confidence boost theres certainly no more running away after a show.
Theres been a lot of good folks there who have helped to sort of mentor her and give her pointers and suggestions, Sonia Hines said. Its like a big family there.
The showcase and other performances including winning Clayton Junior Idol in 2010 and singing the national anthem before games in her schools gym have gotten Jordan over her nerves and to a place where she can just enjoy what she does.
When I sing on the stage, like if I sing an upbeat song, I look out at the audience and I see them all happy and I feel like Im not afraid of anything, she said. Im not afraid of messing up, and I just feel good.
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