Jordyn Stoddard is one of Nashville’s fastest rising artists. A true-to-herself kind of songwriter, Stoddard made waves with acclaimed singles “Bad Baby” and “Southern Tide”. As a dual student and musician, she’s brought out the thrills and awe-inspiring ambience of her live performances. She joins us to delve into what’s made her artistry diverse from contemporaries and the journey that inspired it.
Jordyn, thank you for sitting down with us here at Roots Magazine.
You’re welcome. Thank you so much for the opportunity to be here and share my story.
1. A lot of critics have labelled you as country, pop, roots or all the above. But who is Jordyn Stoddard in your own words?
It’s taken time for me to figure that out. I’m influenced by tons of genres. Country was a genre I grew up listening to and was inspired by. But I always had a love for pop music. A love for all genres. R&B, 70s music, the inspiration all around. But when it came to my personality, it played so much into my music. Because it describes who I am. This past year really had me sit and figure out what that was though. The stuff that I worked on and releasing now is what had me say, “This is what I’m most excited about.”
2. We’ve broken down that you incorporated a little bit of everything with tons of inspiration from other artists. Anyone who listens to it can hear those influences. But who would you say has been your biggest source of inspiration?
Taylor Swift. Huge inspiration on developing my sound. Wrote my first songs because of her. There’s a connection that I felt with her which was so important in my life. Now that I’m doing my own stuff, I don’t feel afraid to say that anymore because of the comparison. It’s always one of those things I was told, “Be careful on saying that because you’re gonna be compared and it’ll be hard to separate yourself.” But its important to say who your influence is and, of course, it’s ok to say it. Everyone draws inspirations. Even Taylor Swift.
3. You’re originally from Florida and you’ve been in Nashville for the past few years. You’ve released several singles, a couple EP’s and an album with more music underway. Opened for artists such as: Lee Brice, The Band Perry and Chris Young to name a few. But where did this all start for you?
I started performing live at festivals when I was 6-years-old and ended up meeting a vocal coach there. My dad was really pushing music in my life, even at that age he knew it’s what I wanted. I took vocal lessons with my new coach until I was 13. She’s taught Cassadee Pope, Brooke Eden and a couple other Florida girls that live in Nashville now. Instead of hanging out with friends on the weekend, I was playing at festivals that she hosted. Straight up, played shows three or four times a week. Ended up signing a management deal at 14-years-old and started getting opportunities to open up for people everywhere. Jacksonville, Miami, Buffalo, etc. Wherever it was, I went.
4. I’ve already mentioned some big names who’ve given you shoutouts and chances to perform with them. But what was your first starstruck moment?
I did a lot of singing competitions. Jacksonville’s Clay County Fair used to host the competitions. I had done it for years but never won because of a big gap in ages competing there. The only song I knew how to play on guitar at the time was “Back to December” by Taylor Swift. I was the only person on stage playing guitar instead of singing to tracks. Nobody else did that. I ended up winning because of that. As the winner, I got to open for Easton Corbin. Since I didn’t know any other songs on guitar, I learned how to play three others for that. Corbin was such a nice person to me and ended up signing the pink guitar I performed for that show. I still have it. That moment made it click that this is something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Jerrod Niemann is another person who really opened my eyes to this and was incredibly honest with me about the industry. It was really humbling to see and it meant a lot to me.
5. You’ve been writing for a long time now. 2015’s Southern Tide was your first major release and at such a young age. The album climbed to the top of Billboard’s Heatseeker charts. Do you recall those emotions you felt at the time?
I did. And I didn’t. I was enrolled in school so there’s so much going on at that time. I didn’t understand it all. But now I do. I had my family and manager working so hard on my behalf, that allowed me to sort of be a kid. Which I appreciate because I felt that I would’ve lost a part of myself. I was still in and out of school. Enrolled in only two classes in high school. Because those were the only teachers who supported what I did and would work with me. Everything else was online based while I was travelling. There was just so much going on while I was working through my teenage stuff. At the same time, my friends in school didn’t get and didn’t think it was “cool”. But juggling all of that and getting people to understand it was really hard. Looking back, I really appreciate those moments and couldn’t care less what the other kids thought.
6. How has your creative process evolved since then and did moving to Nashville accelerate it?
It’s so different. I didn’t know what a co-writing session was until I was 16 or 17-years-old. I had written songs all by myself until I started working with producers. They would bring me into the studio and take the structure of what I thought was a full song and structure it properly. My manager sending me to Nashville really got me into proper co-writing sessions. I kind of got the best of all that. Now, I feel that I just thrive off a producer that’s in the room. It helps me focus on the lyrics and concept of the song. I’m very melody driven. It’s one of my favorite parts of songwriting.
7. 2019 was a huge year for you. “Bad Baby” released that summer with tons of press coverage and landed you a spot to perform it live on Today in Nashville. Where did inspiration for the song come from?
Peyton Porter is a really good friend of mine and is an awesome writer in Nashville. That song changed my life in the sense of being really happy and content with my music. That song is the foundation of me, as an artist. We ended up sitting on a back patio across the street from Lipscomb. It was 6 o’clock at night and this back porch was screened in. It was the perfect ambience. I had been really pushing the limits to my sound as a country singer. I was really inspired by Demi Lovato’s album Tell Me You Love Me. I really loved the style and production she worked with. So, I was kind of using that as a reference. “Bad Baby” came so naturally for Peyton and me. It didn’t feel forced. I felt like this was the song where I said, “I get it and other people are gonna get it.”
8. Before you were releasing new music, you were studying away for exams at MTSU. As a music business major, how has the program prepared you for the industry?
Going to college was honestly the best decision. Especially going to MTSU. There was a lot going on in my life that I felt that I needed to step back. It all kind of happened so fast but I knew that I wanted to go to school. I really wanted to take a moment to dive into that but also get better as a writer. That was the biggest thing. I really wanted to grow from that so inserting myself into the Nashville scene and going to school helped a lot. I learned a lot about contracts and publishing. The nitty gritty things that a lot of people don’t understand. I wanted to be the person that understood everything that was going on within the business for my music. MTSU did that for me.
9. Of course, there was period for a while at MTSU when you took a short break from your career to focus on school. Were you still finding time to write and produce?
It was hard juggling my schedule with school sometimes. But I made it work. Also, getting this break to experience and meet other people was great. Hearing their stories was so inspiring. No matter what type of person you’re in, if you’re an artist, a writer, a business executive, etc. We all are fitting every single day to be in this industry because we love it. It’s hard. But it’s what we want to do. It was inspiring to be in that environment. Even if I wasn’t doing hardly anything with music at the time, it did a lot for me. It prepared me for where I am and where I want to go.
10. In addition to balancing the life of a student and an artist, what would you say has been your biggest challenge thus far?
Doubting myself. The worst thing is myself. You want to be your best self but there’s a lot that goes into that. I don’t know everything, but I keep reminding myself that’s ok. I think these are the conversations that other people have but never actually talk about. When it comes to releasing or promoting music now, I do everything myself. Fully independent. But I have a support team when it comes to my creators or my family. I still think it’s easy to beat yourself up over it. The biggest challenge is getting out of that headspace. We all get there. But I’m doing what I’m really passionate about. Staying focused on that helps keep those challenges on the outside.
11. You’ve written a handful of songs that have caught a lot of attention. But what most people don’t know is that you’ve written and produced for several artists around Middle Tennessee. Has doing that changed the writing process for your own music?
Totally! That’s how my current project has come about. I worked with a production company on tracks to write to for other artists. You get a general idea of what artists are looking for. Some of them don’t know what they’re looking for in the beginning stages. I spent most of quarantine doing that. Getting outside my own head and being in the space of “somebody else” allowed me to see music differently. I write a lot for my best friends who are also artists in town. Natalie Madigan and Sara Sturm have been really crucial to my life as a songwriter. The coolest part about working with your best friends is that I know them on such a personal level. We just thrive off of each other in so many different ways. They’ve inspired me in so many ways. As a person, as a writer and an artist. Getting in rooms with people like that bring out the best of kind of music. It’s so effortless.
12. Along with your evolving music you’ve evolved your style and outfits a lot over your social media. Where does all the inspiration for these different looks come from?
Just the fashion world. I’ve always loved fashion and as I got older, I started to not care about what I was wearing in high school. Nobody got the music thing. But nobody got the fashion thing either. I grew up in a small beach town, but I was really interested in all of these different things and was drawn to it at an early age. Even if my mom was concerned. I really thrived off of moving to Nashville where it was appreciated. Rihanna is such a person that influences me all around. Fashion, music and as a woman on the business side of it and running it right. As much as I research music, it’s the same with style.
13. Recently, you’ve made a shift into a pop-based sound. Your latest single “Mine Right Now” is incredibly fierce but also different from everything else you’ve released so far. Where did the change in direction come from and how did it lead to the creation of this single?
That was one of the songs that I pitched for a production company during quarantine. It was written in the perspective of another artist. I wrote it with Natalie Madigan and was just getting out of my own head. The lyrics were all things that I would say. I mean, those are my words. I think it really took me outside of myself. Even though I was writing it for someone else, I really liked it. This was exactly who I am. The production really highlighted that it was led by an all-female team. This song really highlights the early 2000s with inspirations from Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, Ellie Furtado and even early Rihanna. But Pharrell Williams was my biggest reference. I’m so obsessed with him. He was also my first crush. Ever. His artistry was just something that really got with the team.
14. Currently, that single has racked up in streams and you’ve collected thousands of others in previous releases. What comes to your mind when looking back at the journey that’s brought you here?
Happiness for sure. There were moments where I was easily overwhelmed. But when I think about the whole process, it makes me happy. It’s why I do music. I love it so much. Even at 6-years-old, finding that is so rare. My parents really supported that period and helped turn that dream into reality. Even if I’m not where I want to be right now, I still get to do it every single day. I get to be myself. That’s amazing. A lot of people don’t get to do that. It makes me happy that I get to and be a voice for people that feel the same way. I want to inspire people and make them feel confident. This new chapter in my life describes this confidence. You have to work at it and it’s hard. But they’re possible.
15. As it stands, you have a plethora of genres that you’ve crossed over under your belt. Have you thought about what other sounds you planned to experiment/incorporate in your music next?
I’ve been getting into a lot more R&B styled stuff. I’m not an R&B singer whatsoever. But I just love the format of that music. A lot of the stuff that I’ve been working on has been in that realm. But I’m just so inspired by stuff I would love to do. I’m so inspired by 70s stuff even if it’s so different for what I’m doing. If I could experiment with a million different kinds of sound and didn’t have conflict, I would. Definitely, in a R&B headspace right now. But that can change a year from now. Who Knows? I think that’s what makes it exciting.
16. You announced two big shows for your live performance return in Nashville this year. The second of those two is coming up real soon. What can fans and listeners expect from you this year?
More singles. I have a handful ready to give out. I’ll be performing a lot of those this year and to the next. That’s something I look forward and, hopefully, other people will look forward to. Performing shows is one of the most amazing times of my life. I think the most important part is just being patient with the timing for it to happen. Letting people be comfortable with that. We’re diving back into that fast. We’re all eager and super excited. When the timing for that happens, I’ll be doing that again.
Jordyn, thank you very much for your time and joining us here at Roots.
Awesome, thank you so much for having me.
Interview by Trenton Luber