‘The Voice’ finalist to headline concert tour

by The Chickasaw Nation

*Story provided by The Chickasaw Nation

Country artist Jordan Rainer had a big year.

Fresh from a top nine appearance on NBC’s “The Voice,” she kicked off the Straight Shot Tour in mid-January and will tour at least nine states until the tour wraps up in June.

The Atoka, Oklahoma, native said her “overnight success” took more than a decade of determination, hard work, strength and grit.

“I started the process with NBC’s ‘The Voice’ over a year ago,” Rainer, who is now based in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, said.

Producers reached out to the 33-year-old artist and invited her to audition for season 24.

“The Voice” is a reality singing competition which features blind auditions and competitive performances by budding musicians who are mentored and coached by established artists.

“I had never considered doing a show like that, it just wasn’t my thing. I was touring, grinding. I was like, ‘I don’t have time for that,’ but I said, ‘What have I got to lose? Sure, I’ll throw my hat in the ring. I’ll audition and see what happens.’”

What happened could be written in a country music song. A hardworking artist auditions for a national television series and ends up on a team led by a country music legend who hails from the same area as Rainer, southeastern Oklahoma.

In preparation for her audition, Rainer selected “Fancy,” written by Bobbie Gentry and performed by Oklahoma native and Country Music Hall of Fame member Reba McEntire, as her audition song.

“This was before they had announced that Reba was going to be the new coach, so I had no idea that Reba was even in the picture when I chose that song,” she said.

A few months later, Rainer had the surreal experience of singing the song to the country music icon and the panel of coaches. She experienced a four-chair turn, meaning each coach wanted her on their team.

“I found myself in Los Angeles auditioning in front of the queen of country music herself, and I wound up on the first-ever Team Reba and went all the way to the top nine this past season.”

Rainer, a Chickasaw citizen, said she was honored by the experience and feels the timing was serendipitous.

“She really embraced me because she saw very quickly that my whole mission was to put a spotlight on southeast Oklahoma and to represent my tribe. We kind of linked arms in that, and she was very quick to acknowledge my southeast Oklahoma roots and to bring that up often. Being from Oklahoma is a spiritual thing. It is unlike any other culture. We Okies are proud of where we’re from, and we love to shine a light back on where we came from.”

Rainer also had the opportunity to highlight her Chickasaw heritage and the Chickasaw Nation to a nationwide audience during a Dec. 11 episode when well wishes from Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, Lt. Governor Chris Anoatubby and a group of Chickasaws were shared during the broadcast.

“That video was a surprise to me. The producers obviously did a little digging, and they created that opportunity for me to get to hear from the Governor. They were filming me when I saw it for the first time, and my emotion in that moment was completely genuine. I was overwhelmed, I was so proud, and I was so touched that my tribe would surround me in that way and would support what I’m doing,” she said.

Her Chickasaw family also provided comfort after she was eliminated in the semifinal round.

“I was going through the comments on my Facebook post, (and) there was one comment that stuck out to me, and it made me immediately break down in tears. They had written in Chickasaw, ‘We are Chickasaw, and we are still here’ (Chikasha Poyakat ilayya’sha katihma),” an emotional Rainer explained.

The comment meant so much to her that her family had a wall hanging with the phrase made for her as a Christmas gift.

“I get to hang that on my wall, ‘We are Chickasaw, and we are still here.’ Just to know that my tribe still has my back is everything.”

Rainer said her Chickasaw heritage comes from her mother.

“We did the research, and we found out that we have such a rich history, and I have family members that were on the Trail of Tears, and I have by nature such a tenacious spirit. I have a very gritty spirit.”

She connects that tenacity with her Chickasaw heritage.

“I’m not a woman that you can tell you can’t do something and whenever I look back at our heritage and our history, if you were to prick me on the finger that blood that comes out is DNA I can trace back to the Trail of Tears, to before that. We have history literally running through our veins and that just gives me chills and so I feel very connected to that. I’m very proud of it.”

Straight Shot Tour

Headlining her own tour is a heady experience for Rainer, who plays multiple instruments and plans a wide variety of shows.

“I’m doing some shows where it’s an intimate acoustic experience and other shows I’m bringing my full band, and we’re putting on the full production. But let me tell you something, this Straight Shot tour is an opportunity for me to embrace my fans.”

Her fans, Spitfire Nation, reflect Rainer’s can-do, determined attitude.

“I’ve been in this business 10 years, and I have slept on hair salon floors to get to gigs. I have slept in my car. You would be amazed at the things that I’ve done to get a gig. So, to be in a position now where my career is funding the ability for me to hire a team, and we’re able to dream on a bigger scale, it’s mind-blowing.”

Music has been a constant in Rainer’s life since birth. Her father is a bluegrass player, and her mother is a pianist and vocal teacher.

“Anytime there was an instrument laying around the house, or if we went to a friend’s house and they had a guitar in the corner, that’s where you’d find me. I just gravitated toward instruments and making music.”

She said an eight-track digital recorder that she could plug into her guitar and a microphone and record was the best present she ever received as a teenager.

“I learned how to overdub and create, and that got my passion stirred up for recording and creating records.”

Rainer is known for her onstage persona, the woman in black. Dressed in all black from head to toe and wearing sunglasses, she credits a performance at the Chickasaw Princess Pageant as the impetus for performing in shades. Her mother told her not to wear them, but she rebuffed her and wore them anyway.

“I put on that hat. I put on those shades, and I feel invincible. I hope to be a symbol of how strong we are not just as women, but as Oklahomans, as Chickasaws, and this is my way of visually representing strength.”

For more information about Rainer’s Straight Shot tour, visit JordanRainerOfficial. com.

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