Jada Vance was born in Tennessee, but she is practically a West Virginia native. The emerging Nashville recording artist has spent a lifetime visiting her relatives in McDowell and Wyoming counties, where her mother grew up. And while she might not be a “coal miner’s daughter,” she is proud to be one’s granddaughter.
“My maternal grandfather worked in the coal mines, and unfortunately, he died from black lung disease,” Vance said. “That whole side of my family still lives in West Virginia. I love coming back to visit, and spend time hiking, fishing and four-wheeling.”
Vance will perform two shows at the West Virginia State Fair in Lewisburg, on Thursday, Aug. 9.
Now 22, Vance’s first significant experience as a singer was on Season 12 of “American Idol” at age 16. She did not make it to the finals, but the show taught her two things – how little she knew about the music business, and the fact that she wanted to be a professional singer for the rest of her life.
“Before ‘Idol,’ most of my singing was just karaoke, but seeing how hard the other contestants worked opened my eyes to what it takes to be successful,” she said. “I learned about stage presence and the importance of songwriting and having the right team of people working with you.”
Since then, Vance has been biding her time in Nashville, co-writing with other artists like Megan Golden and Mark Narmore, performing as much as possible, and releasing three singles. She also went to school to study the business end of music. Lately, she has been working on a six-track EP, titled “Rear View Revival,” which she plans to preview at the West Virginia State Fair and release in the fall.
“It’s a good variety of songs,” she said. “Most are upbeat, but one of them is a slower ballad. They are all very personal, especially a couple of songs that are about accepting who you are and being proud of it, no matter what other people say.”
Vance, who is biracial, has experienced her share of bullying, especially when she was younger.
“I didn’t realize that I was different, until around the fourth grade,” she said. “I had a lot of friends in school, but people started making comments, especially after I was on ‘American Idol.’ Since then, a lot of them have apologized. We all make mistakes. People grow and learn.’”
Living in the country just outside of Nashville, Vance seems to have the best of her two favorite worlds – wide open space that inspires her songs, and the city where she hopes to turn her dreams into reality, while making occasional trips to visit family back “home” in West Virginia.
Jada Vance will perform on the Sprint Center Stage at the West Virginia State Fair on Thursday, Aug. 9, at 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. Admission is free, with fair admission. For more information, visit www.statefairofwv.com. Information about Jada Vance is available at www.JadaVance.com.