“Jillian is a natural,” said her manager, country music veteran Renee Martin. “I was born in Nashville and raised on country music. My mother was a singer and my father was a guitar player. I have toured for acts like Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Patty Loveless. I have seen hundreds of people move to Nashville trying to become a country singer, only to leave with their tails between their legs and their guitars on their back, penniless. I have seen it over and over. Once in a while, someone comes around that has ‘it.’”
Cardarelli is that every-once-in-a-while someone, Martin said.
“When I met her, I thought, ‘She is a superstar,’” he said. “I really believe Jillian will be a force to be reckoned with in this industry.”
Cardarelli was weaned on her parents’ music while growing up.
“I am a big Elvis (Presley) fan,” said her father, Joseph Cardarelli Jr., an orthodontist in Haverhill. “His music crosses so many generations, and I think that is what began to inspire her.”
She was also influenced by her grandfather, the late Joseph Cardarelli Sr., whom she recently honored with a performance of the Judds classic “Grandpa.”
“My grandfather passed away last April,” Cardarelli said. “He was my buddy. He is the one that really introduced me to country music. I remember sitting on his couch every Sunday listening to George Strait. He helped me fall in love with music at a young age.”
That love of music quickly turned into a love of performing.
“I started singing to the radio,” she said. “Then I started performing in the middle school talent shows, and now here we are. My dad definitely inspired me to get into music. He signed me up for singing lessons and drives me all around to different gigs.”