Who Is Jillian Cardarelli? The Story Behind Her Journey to Country Music

Who is Jillian Cardarelli? The singer-songwriter joined us to chat about her journey to country music. Get to know the rising star here…

The Beginning:

This week we shine our spotlight on Jillian Cardarelli. The northeast native shares her inspiring story from a girl with a dream to a rising country music artist.

Growing up in a small town in Massachusetts, Cardarelli fell in love with country music at an early age. “My grandfather is the one who kind of got me into country music,” begins the songstress. “He was stationed in Georgia during World War II and brought his newfound love of country music back home with him. […] That’s kind of how I fell in love with the storytelling of country music.”

Cardarelli began voice lessons in elementary school, sharing that she knew she wanted to be a country music singer at the early age of five years old. I started taking voice lessons at a young age, but it wasn’t until high school that I realized the business around it and realized it could be a real thing.” During high school, she found herself performing as much as possible.

“I had a band in high school, and we would play all the fairs up in the northeast. […] Any opportunity, I had to play, I played it,” adding later, “I fell in love with performing.”

The songstress recalls falling in love with the strong female country singers on the radio, such as Shania Twain, Faith Hill, and Reba. Cardarelli also shared a love for artists like Johnny Cash and George Strait. “The females back in the 90s and early 2000s really influenced my artistry. Also, Elvis Presley was probably my biggest influence as a performer,” she later added.

The Turning Point:

After a two-year stint at Providence College in Rhode Island, Cardarelli transferred to Belmont University in Nashville “I fell in love with Nashville, and knew that was where I needed to be to make music happen full time,” shared the singer-songwriter.

“My major was communications and PR. I interned down here for a lot of music companies, and I got to be hands-on in the business. It really let me immerse myself in the music industry.” This experience allowed Cardarelli to really make a name for herself in music city, all while networking the entire time.

During college and thereafter, the singer continued to make music. She has been blazing her own path ever since.


Flash forward to today, Cardarelli released her self-titled EP in April of this year. The six-song project is full of music for the country music lover. With roots firm in her love for the traditional country music sound, the songstress adds her own confident stamp to each of the songs on the record. “All of the songs have a confidence about them. […] Even the heartbreak songs.”

“We had to listen through all these songs to figure out what will make the most cohesive story […] I tried to pick six songs that really represented me as an artist, and told the story I wanted to tell,” shared the singer.

One of the standout songs on the record is a duet with Charles Esten called “Strong.” “Strong was a song I never thought I would release. I wrote it with Charles Esten,” began Cardarelli. “We met at a St. Jude’s charity golf tournament. […] We were just sitting and talking and I started talking about my mom, and said she’s so strong, she’s been battling cancer for years.”

The song was so personal to the singer that she thought about always keeping it for herself. “It was so personal. It was so vulnerable for me to get to that place,” shared the singer. Eventually, she came to the realization, “Music is so healing. If it can help one person, I think it needs to go on the project.”

As if the EP is not exciting enough, Cardarelli let us know that more new music is on the horizon, most likely coming this fall. Until then, fans can catch the songstress on the road!


Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news and announcements about future Jillian Cardarelli releases.

To keep up with Jillian Cardarelli, follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Jillian Cardarelli’s music is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.