The Featured Artist for January is thirteen-year-old Brantford singer/songwriter Em Jordan. Through her voice, songs and artistry she is able to also share her story and raise awareness for a condition she lives with, but does not define her.
Em has had a number of obstacles and challenges over the course of her young life, that have inspired and empowered Em to pursue a career in music, not only for herself, but other young folks who are also faced with challenges and obstacles in their own lives.
Em started voice lessons when she was just 6 years old, which is also when she stepped on to the stage for first time. Since then, Em has performed on stages across southern Ontario, including Club NV in downtown Brantford and this past spring visited Nashville, Tennessee where she not only performed at the legendary The Bluebird Café but was actually invited back up on stage to sing an encore.
Em uses her talents to also share her story and raise awareness for a condition she lives with called Spina Bifida (Split Spine). She is passionate about empowering people to live beyond their disability and not let their story define who they are or what they can do. Spina Bifida occurs when the spinal column does not fully develop, often leaving an open lesion at the base of the spine, that can result in a number of different physical, mental, and social issues, among other health challenges. Em, although able-bodied, has been challenged over the years, from past to present, in ways that very few people would understand.
It’s these obstacles and daily challenges that inspire and fuel Em to pursue music, share her story, and use her voice to speak up and create an opportunity to support other young people living with challenges and different abilities. She encourages those to be confident in the abilities that they do have, to own their story, and use their own voice to create a positive change in peoples’ lives.
Having just released her debut single, self-titled, ‘House of Cards’ this past spring, Em is looking forward to shooting the music video in the New Year. It will be available to watch online. She spent 2018 writing, touring, learning new music, developing her artistic vision, and she’s excited to get back into the studio in 2019 to continue working on her first EP (CD).
Em says, “I’ve grown so much over the course of the past couple of years. From touring to performing on new stages, in new cities, being surrounded by professional music industry people, I know that these experiences have pushed me to grow, pushed me to learn, and pushed to be the best I can be. I’ve gained more experience on stages through performing in different places, and more confidence in songwriting through learning different skills that go into not only writing a song, but crafting the message that I want to share with people.”
Em’s favourite part of the creative process is that it allows her to be herself, focus on her ability, and use her strengths to influence and empower other young people in a positive way.
Her inspiration for her artistic endeavors has been her family. She says, “They’ve always been there. I’m so grateful for them! My mom and grandma are my biggest fans, and they’ve encouraged me to pursue my ability to sing since Day 1. I’ve had some incredible music teachers and mentors, from past to present, who teach, inspire, and encourage me to always step outside of my comfort zone, and who are always working to create opportunity for my voice, songs, and story to be heard.”
Her influence and inspiration come from a lot of different artists. She likes country artists and songs, in particular, because there are some incredibly real stories and songs in country music.
Em hopes to someday perform at the Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts. She also says, “I love Zanders! Best food in town! I would love to perform there someday as well.”
Her advice to developing artists is, “Be open minded to new experiences, and opportunities to learn. Not everything will work out the way you want it to, however, it’s how you choose to deal with the challenging moments in time, that will start to define who you are, and the artist you’re becoming. And…. don’t be afraid to challenge yourself!”
You can learn more about Em Jordan and experience her music on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.