She also won the attention of Alabama. The band’s members invited her and her family back stage after their performance. They took pictures together, and the band’s tour manager offered Cardarelli the chance to open for them again on Wednesday in New York, an opportunity she quickly accepted.
“I was shocked when their manager came up to me after the show and asked me to come back in five days,” she said. “It was mind-blowing. I never expected another opportunity to come out of that day.”
The pursuit of a career in country music has been a longtime ambition for Cardarelli.
“I am a big Elvis (Presley) fan,” said her father, Joseph Cardarelli, an orthodontist in Haverhill. “His music crosses so many generations, and I think that is what inspired her.”
That love of music quickly turned into a love of performing for Jillian.
“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.”
Her first album, “Little Big Sky” was released in 2010, and the five-song EP “Just Me & You” premiered in November. Those, along with her single “Complicated,” which benefits the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, are available on iTunes.
She has also become a favorite at the TD Garden in Boston, singing the national anthem at Bruins and Celtics games.
Cardarelli took a major step this winter, when she made the decision to move to Nashville to pursue her singing career while also attending Belmont University.
“I kind of felt like it was now or never,” said Cardarelli, who previously attended Providence College. “I thought that, if I am going to give it all I have, I have to be where the music is at.