Committed to the Chase
Jordan Sherman has been a close friend of mine for a few years now. I’ve watched him struggle through the typical life happenings of love, heart break, friendships and hangovers, all the while he has helped me through my own life challenges. But to call Jordan a struggling artist would be incorrect. He is committed — he wants to speak to the world through his music and art. He does not struggle with that dream — he chases it. He wants this more than I want to be Mrs. Blake Griffin — which is huge to the folks that don’t know me. My full interview with Jordan is below.
The Soul Dynamic: So being from Boca Raton, FL, how did where you grew up influence your art/music? Or did it at all?
Jordan Sherman:Your surroundings and settings are always going to be an influence in your art. A lot of my early stuff is really beachy, light, happy — because I mean that was the life I was living. I was going to the beach every day just chasing girls. That was what my life was, that was what my music was about, very tropical because Florida is a very tropical place too. I’m glad I moved to say the least.
The Soul Dynamic: What has been the biggest impact/influence pushing you to become an artist and make music? Personally?
Jordan Sherman: Well being in a serious relationship really helped for a while because you get to open yourself up more than you normally would. And I got to explore deep areas of me that I would never have had before. And then when that ends, that is another form of self searching…who you are? Why are you? I am constantly soul searching, constantly trying to find the big picture in anything.
I mean if you say what (is another influence)… I would say drugs. They help sometimes.
I also get inspiration from everyone. Everyone that I meet, I try to be empathetic, to know, to understand. I almost feel that I am not in certain situations; I feel that I am watching from a distance to try and gain a different perspective all the time, to find the truth.
The Soul Dynamic: How do you push through challenges in making your music when it just isn’t there? I know a few months ago, you went through a hard time, but how do you push through that?
Jordan Sherman:It comes in waves, sometimes you are feeling so many things that you don’t even want to write about it. Because you are exposed to it and then you actually have to deal with it. Sometimes it’s easier to drink.
But for me when you are writing songs, you get in that mode. It can happen in minutes. Sometimes I go months without writing songs and then all of the sudden a song is done in 10 minutes because it just comes to you. I’ll be in the car, and a melody will pop into my head, and I will start putting words to it. And before you know it — boom the whole thing is constructed.
Other times the whole thing is labor and a big process because you feel that you need to write a song. Making the music is the easy part because you can hear where you want to go. I’ve studied enough Jazz and music theory to know how to put a piece together, but it is the lyrics that can run dry. You want them to run as true and real to yourself as you can. But if you are not really living — it is hard to do that. My early stuff was all hypothetical, I mean I wrote love songs about nobody. It was easy then, it wasn’t about me, it didn’t expose me.
Lately I’ve been just trying, really just to live and get myself to a place where I am happy.
The Soul Dynamic: Right, that’s what we talked before. Trying to go out and experience as much as possible because it gives you material.
Jordan Sherman: Yeah and the more people I meet, the more things I see, and the more places I go will get me there.
The Soul Dynamic:If we were sitting here a year from now celebrating something what would it be? Besides me turning 26, haha.
Jordan Sherman: Ah, well obviously. Hmm, I don’t know probably some late night performances, or other TV appearances? Hopefully my new record has some nice traction it’s out July 20th, official release date. And maybe a year from that release I’ll have another record out too. Because I feel like I have material now.
There are a few songs on this record coming out that are true and are very powerful to me, but there are some that are bullshit. And I don’t want to do that again.
The Soul Dynamic: When you say bullshit, do you mean you were under pressure to finish it?
Jordan Sherman: No, not really. I mean I like writing songs, I think I’m good at it, I know how to put them together. But they weren’t real. I could have just waited and made real stuff, but then you are behind. So I figured lets put this one out and it will make where I was when this came out, and they keep getting better and better. It is all about progress, it is all about constantly growing. What I realized is almost becomes less and less about the music itself, and more about your experiences and who you are. It is the same thing with visual art. I was camping a week ago, and I was drawing and thinking about abstract art.
The Soul Dynamic:
Jordan Sherman: Um, maybe. [See Above, Question 3] Haha and I was thinking that everything is perception. Even the fact that I am having this conversation with you and I know who you are, that is my perception. We all have our ideas. With art it is just a combination about strokes and lines, and you can see whatever you want in it. You can perceive what you want from it, everyone has his or her own opinion. But I thought it was so much profound than that, it was so much more than just art. It was a narrative about life itself.
The Soul Dynamic: Labels, how do you feel about them?
Jordan Sherman: Would you ever want to get involved? Allen Stone, one of my favorites, his first record wasn’t with a label. As long as I can make a living and keep making art, and growing at an artist that is all that matters to me. And if a label helps that and supports me then that’s fantastic! But I don’t want to change and be something different, I won’t do that, that’s not who I am. For a long time I thought I had to make the catchiest song and it needs to be this and this and THIS — and you know what — that bums me out. Its fake. When I realized that I did that it bums me out. I should be focused on the art itself, and finding a signature.
So I do these cover gigs right. Its 4 hours of music mostly singing other people’s shit. I’m good at covers, I love all music. But then it comes to my stuff, and its generic, its my voice. I’m still developing that signature sound. This new record I did, it was all me. No external input, I did everything. I think for my next one I would like to hire a producer. To have someone suggest “Well why don’t you sing it like this?” or “What about this tone?” would be helpful. The creative mind is always expanding, and with more people it can only grow. I’m a little bit of a control freak, I need to learn to let go and be an artist.
I didn’t finish college yet and I feel like if I did I would have to be that person…now I’m creating who I want to be. I feel more free.
The Soul Dynamic:
You and I have had this discussion a million times, from a business standpoint, what do you think of Spotify and SoundCloud? Is it more important to the artist for the awareness factor or that the artist get paid out for their work?
Jordan Sherman:Well I think that people need to definitely pay respects to the artists. You can search and discover whatever you want on there, but if there is a record that you have fallen in love with — buy it. You probably don’t even have a CD player, who cares. I grew up in the digital age, I downloaded music all the time (throwback Napster!). But if I listened to something and loved it, I supported them. I guess it’s a little different for me since I’m an artist, because I hope the same comes back around for me. I also think they need a better form of media. LP’s are also forms of art,CD cases are ugly. Tapes are ugly, no one wants to collect those things. It is cool to have a record collection.
Another thing about these platforms is that you also can discover a lot of shitty music too. Stuff gets pumped out so fast these days that a lot isn’t that good. I blame the artists for that one too.
The Soul Dynamic: Music is best experienced live. What’s the sickest, most memorable performance you’ve seen?
Jordan Sherman: I’ve been to a lot of shows, and they all resonate in different ways. I think it was the first time I saw Incubus, was it. I was 14 with a bunch of friends. Brandon Boyd (http://brandonboyd.me/) is one of those artists who has shaped my life, and my view of the world. He has a good sense of what is going on. But to see him in person, it was magical it was a huge moment. That feeling you get when you are just so excited… it’s hard to feel that way now with out drugs anymore.
The Soul Dynamic:
What about a performance you’ve done?
Jordan Sherman: The whiskey a go go (http://www.whiskyagogo.com/site/) in March, down on Sunset Boulevard. 45 min set, all of my own music. It was so crazy being in the dressing room there, you could sense all the cocaine and bad decisions on the walls. The dirty shit that has gone down there- it was awesome. It made me feel like I had to bring it. It went over really well,people were excited. I got a quick look into that Hollywood life for a moment. It was great to also play music with those guys up there. Music is the ultimate two-sided conversation. You have to listen to them and they need to listen to you.
The Soul Dynamic: If you could kick it with anyone, dead or alive from any era, for one night who would it be?
Jordan Sherman: I would have to say Brandon Boyd- I just have such an appreciation of who he is. That is what I’m trying to gear my stuff towards theses days- my view of the world and who I am. I think its finally getting there because I’m not an 18 year old ass hole anymore. But yeah Brandon Boyd- I think it would just be a chill hang.
The Soul Dynamic: What would you do?
Jordan Sherman: Go surfing, smoke some weed, hang out and jam. I don’t even know. I just want to see what he is about, for real.
The Soul Dynamic: If you could create art in any form outside of your current industry, what would it be?
Jordan Sherman: I love drawing, I love to do portrait sketches- I could draw you and make it pretty close to perfect.
The Soul Dynamic: Oh god don’t draw me right now. I’m nursing a hangover.
Jordan Sherman: Haha!!! Aren’t we all. But I’ve been exploring about creating original work. Its hard to just let go and start drawing. But once you make lines and start recognizing patterns, and then it turns into something that you didn’t even know beforehand. It is freeing. It is kinda like an improvised solo in music- which is another great feeling.
We are all artists- you just have to see it.
The Soul Dynamic:What is the one thing you want people to take away from your music?
Jordan Sherman: Hopefully it gives them a good perspective on how to live and how to be happy. Which is hard because I am trying to find that for myself. If I touch even one person with my music, that is all that matters.
I see the big picture- I think A LOT, but I also don’t take things very seriously. Just let go of yourself.
The Soul Dynamic:Last question, which is the most important: What inspires you? Everything- stuff that happens, stuff that I see, sometimes it is even a movie. There is a lot that I can’t experience on a daily basis- but you can live through stories. Through people’s stories and experiences, you can live through history- just transport yourself and go there. My inspiration lately has brought me to this (Jordan goes into the following on the spot):
“It’s been so long since ambition felt attractive, going day by day feeling maladapted. Unequipped to face this world and the truths that it holds, repress, repress, repress, until we all fit the mold”
“Brave in a sense to think like I do, scared when the time comes to present this view. Don’t want to be extracted, cast away to the lions- at least then I know I’ll have acted out my defiance”
“Defiance of the mind but not of my hands to put myself in harm’s way was never in my plans. Sheltered and immune no reaction without an action the more I say the less I do my words have no traction”
Its kinda like no matter how much you think about something or how good of a person you are, there are only a few people that live the way they speak. That live-out their idealist mind. This is what I was toiling with when writing. I know I am not like everyone else, but at the same time what separates me other than my thoughts? It keeps going:
“Stuck in a circle just like the rest of us
Love, hate, greed, and the absence of trust
If anyone can tear me down it should be me, I will always know the truths that come to be.
What I rely on what I’ve done, my fantasies, a culmination of facts that stare right back at me
If we must repress to be accepted to get through, remember who you are fooling- especially if it is you.”
You can check our Jordan’s latest album Life Outside here.
Interviewer + Writer | Cassie Farley