DIXFIELD — Getting the chance to compete nationally by singing country music in Tennessee last week meant the world to a Dixfield teenager and her mother.

Vocalist Melanie Jordan said she thinks she won either fourth or fifth place in her 13- to 16-year-old age bracket for new modern country. She won’t know how she was scored until June or July.

“I got the Future Star of Tomorrow Award trophy, which I think is for fourth or fifth place, but out of 19 people I competed against, I’m very happy with it,” she said early Saturday evening in Canton at her father’s home.

“It was just really amazing,” the Dirigo High School junior said. “It’s something I’m never going to forget. It was a bonding experience.”

“It was oh-my-God amazing!” her mother, Mandy Bither Jordan, said of the whole experience on Saturday at her Canton Point Road home in Dixfield. “She was so thrilled to be there. She did great. She sounded fantastic.

“I cried the whole time she was on stage,” Bither Jordan said. “She was so beautiful and confident. It looked like she was having the time of her life.”

Melanie and her mother left Maine on March 8 and traveled with members of the Downeast Country Music Association of Maine by tour bus to Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

The trip took two days. They stayed a week in a block of rooms at a hotel and participated in jam sessions every night with musicians from everywhere, Bither Jordan said.

Pigeon Forge is the location of the famed Dollywood theme park and North American Country Music Associations, International Competition.

It’s also where the talented teen vocalist performed on March 15 on the Country Tonite Theatre stage that has seen the likes of performers such as Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn and Tom T. Hall.

There, aspiring country, gospel and bluegrass artists are given the opportunity to compete before state and international country music industry personnel.

Last year in a Maine music competition, Melanie Jordan was named Rising Star 2013 and took second place, qualifying for the Tennessee competition.

Because she was 16 years old when she competed in the Maine event, Melanie Jordan, who turned 17 in January, competed in the 13- to 16-year-old age bracket.

She had to perform two songs in eight minutes or less that she got to choose from a list of songs for her age bracket. Members of the Maine group helped her pick the songs and mentored her, Bither Jordan said.

So, Melanie sang “American Honey” by Lady Antebellum and “Born to Fly” by Sara Evans.

“I was on stage for a little over seven minutes,” she said.

Fear didn’t set in until she was backstage waiting to perform. But she said she had her “lucky socks” on — fuzzy knee-high rainbow socks that her father’s girlfriend gave her. Additionally, another competitor helped to lessen the stagefright.

Even though she had been scheduled to compete at 11 a.m. on March 15, it was a good thing her mentors told mom and daughter to get to the theater at 8 a.m.

Melanie’s competition began at 9:50 a.m.

“As soon as I got on stage, I felt right at home,” Melanie Jordan said. “I mean what was the worst I could do? Not get a trophy? Either way, I gained something from it, because I had nothing to lose.”

She said she “learned tons of tips,” like onstage presence, and made a friend there. She will also learn to play guitar.

“The competition, they were very good,” Melanie Jordan said. “They all deserved to be there.”

Bither Jordan said her daughter’s competitors “had incredible stage presence.

“These were singers from all over the U.S. and Canada, and some of these kids were so polished,” she said. “You just know that they are coached and Melanie doesn’t have access to that.”

They also wore costumes that cost thousands of dollars.

“We don’t have the ability to do that,” Bither Jordan said. “I mean, I don’t have $1,000 for a dress she would only wear for eight minutes.”

Melanie got her dress and boots at Simply the Best Boutique, a women’s clothing store at 125 Main St. across from the fire station in Mexico.

Her mother said that on the bus ride to Tennessee, her daughter “learned to love gospel music and rhythm and blues” that were performed by their travelmates.

Bither Jordan said they were “so supportive and encouraging” to her daughter.

“For us to have all those people, Melanie did not feel alone at all,” she said. “She was just so happy to be there. It felt like we belonged there. It was just an incredible experience. As long as she’s loving it, we’ll keep doing it.”

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.