FAIRLEA, WV (WOAY)- Jada Vance was born in Tennessee, but she is practically a West Virginia native. Jada has spent a lifetime visiting her relatives in McDowell and Wyoming Counties, where her mother grew up.
“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 there. I love coming back to visit, and spend time hiking, fishing and four-wheeling.”
Vance will help open the West Virginia State Fair in Fairlea, with two performances on the Sprint Center Stage on Thursday, August 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.”
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 some people started making comments, especially after I was on ‘American Idol.’ Since then, a lot of people 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.