Raised on the family farm, bailing hay and riding the range, you'd be hard pressed to edge out Quintana Amara Biffert as the most classic of country girls. Small town grown, with a big time voice, Quintana is a true daughter of the American west.
"My music is fun, down to earth, and speaks to people. A lot of it explains who I am." says the seventeen year old from North Dakota.
"When I was smaller, I was kind of shy. But, I could be rowdy sometimes, just like any other kid with lots of energy. My kindergarten teacher nicknamed me “Tigger”. So, that says a lot right there." she admits with a laugh." Performing has brought me out of the shyness, and used up a lot of the energy."
This energy shows itself in her performances and has aided much in her goal to sing professionally in Nashville. Two-time winner of the CGMA Teenage Performer and Yodeler of the year, she is quickly coming into her own. "The CGMA is the largest county gospel music association in the world, with over 5400 members. What is unique about these awards is that we are not judged. Members of the organization vote and choose who they wish to represent them in all categories, similar to the Country Music Association (CMA)." Quintana explains. "But, the awards are not the most important thing about these conventions. I have met so many people who are now friends, and there are a lot of young people in this organization.. Conclusion for the convention is always on Saturday, with awards being announced and given out that night. Everyone dresses up and there’s a lot of glitter. I don’t want any of this to sound like bragging. I love being part of CGMA, and really enjoy the conventions. I would even if I didn’t receive any awards, because of the friends I’ve made. "
With her obvious talent the CMA's themselves may not be too far into the future for the Dakota darling. In the past it was her family that gave her the initial boost onto the stage. "When I was eight my two older sisters were getting ready for a talent show and mom was helping them practice. They took a break and I put on the song, “Honey, I’m Home” by Shania and started singing. Everyone looked at me and said, “You’re gonna sing tonight”. I did and won first place in the local talent show."
She continues, "As a family, we’ve always listened to country gospel and country music and where I live country music is pretty much what people listen to. I like different kinds of music, but country is my favorite."
Quintana has much to draw from and has lived the words she puts into song. "I’ve had a great childhood. I love the quiet of the country and being from a small town. I still live at home with my mom and dad on the farm.. My sisters, Cheryl, Jonna, and Brooke, are married and I have four nieces and one nephew. I love spending time with them. I also ride my horse, Joker, as much as I can. I love to take him down by the creek and just sit and watch the sunset. I enjoy the wide-open spaces. It's how I unwind."
"I’ve never had voice lessons or anything like that." she tells us, yet has recently released a CD entitled 'DREAM' which has received much positive review. "Recording a CD was awesome and being in Nashville was great! I got to meet Vern Gosdin and get a picture with him and his autograph. Now that he’s gone, I treasure that time and experience. Trey young, the son of Faron Young, was responsible for me getting to meet Vern. I didn’t get to meet a lot of the other stars. We had to leave and get back home. We’d already been gone for almost 3 weeks."
" I hope to be able to make it in Nashville as a singer and performer. I love singing and performing, and getting the audience involved in the show. I love it when they smile and seem to enjoy my singing. Music is a wonderful way to express yourself, and make others feel a part of you. College is in the plans, just so I have something to fall back on if performing doesn’t work out." she says, which may not be the best choice of words with the alternative careers she has considered. "I would also love to ride bulls! Getting involved in rodeo is something I might try."
Whether it's atop a bucking bronco or the swell of applause before an audience, Quintana believes the ropes are held by another; guiding her to where she needs to go if she'll follow.
"God inspires me in everyday living, seeing other young artists make it in the business, and knowing that I can make it if I want to. The love and support from my family and friends, and the closeness we have, is awesome and has influenced me a lot."
"One of the most humbling and touching experiences I've had is getting to know a fan of mine whose name is Christina. The first time we met, I was 13 and she was 8 and I was singing at an event that she attended. Over the years she became a friend and has attended several of the places where I’ve performed."
One such performance however was a sobering and humbling experience for the young performer.
"This past year when her dad died, I sang at his funeral. When we got to the church, there were several family members there; one of those family members told me that Christina said she wanted to be just like Quintana. It hit me hard. It’s an awesome thing to be a role model and looked up to by others, but it also can be a lot of pressure. I just want those who look up to me, to know that I can make mistakes too, and to not look at me but keep their eyes on God."
written by Josh Schrader