On Monday nights at Hangar 9, a petite singer-songwriter takes the stage to host open mic night. Open mics can be tough, for the performer and the audience, and the host’s job can often resemble that of a ringmaster. But when this particular host takes the stage, the audience has to sense something different. Her youthful appearance doesn’t seem to fit the experience her performance suggests.
At only 23, Jordan Bramlett has already led a number of lives in the music business. These days, with a family, a new band and a regular gig, she’s found a distinctive voice and is ready to play her music on her own terms.
However, at one point in time, she could have been pop’s next big thing.
At a mere 11 years old, under her maiden name of Jordan McCoy, Bramlett was a finalist in a national television spin-off of “American Idol” for kids called “American Juniors.” Those appearances led to signing a record contract with P. Diddy’s Bad Boy Records.
Bramlett stayed with the label until she was 18. She never got to record or perform her own material, and she felt like there was a gap between the music she wanted to make and the type of music the label wanted.
“Like most people in their teens, I went through a lot of different stages and figured out a lot about who I didn't want to be,” Bramlett said.
Originally from Mount Vernon, Bramlett then decided to go to Southern Illinois University for musical theater instead of continuing on in the major label music industry. Along the way, she got married to Blake Bramlett, bass player for local rockabilly mainstays, the Swamp Tigers. The two now have a daughter, which takes up a considerable amount of Bramlett’s time. But music is something that’s still very much a part of her life and is becoming a family affair.
“Being married to a musician is a pretty cool plus,” Bramlett said. “We've actually just started a new band together, The Quarter Tones, that will be debuting March 7 at Brews Brothers Taproom in Murphysboro. It's a six-piece 1950s rhythm-and-blues band that I've been dreaming of for years.”
Bramlett’s show at Hangar 9 this weekend will showcase her solo material, which has more of a singer-songwriter feel.
“Now that I don't have anyone to answer to, along with years of experience and natural maturing, I feel like my music is finally a reflection of who I am,” Bramlett said. “I write what I write because I'm inspired, and I don't think about the business aspect or how much money I need to make someone. I may never make a dime playing my own music again.”