Meet Jordan Dean, an up-and-coming Nashville based singer/songwriter who should be on everyone’s radar! I recently got the chance to have a conversation with him which was an absolute blast, and I am beyond happy that I get to introduce him to our readers. Fresh off the road from a couple of tour stops with BabyJake, Jordan was kind enough to take the time to chat with me about his brand new single “Quiet on Set” along with so much more!
How and when did your journey with music start? Growing up, I was always really naturally into art and took some piano lessons when I was a kid and things like that. I eventually started teaching myself how to play guitar and started writing so it was really natural. I’ve always just loved creating.
Was there a certain musician or band that inspired you to start making your own music?
Definitely. The Artic Monkeys were big for me. Funny enough, when I was first starting out around age like 12 or 13, I was really big into Ed Sheeran. Also just music at large inspired me to start creating as an expressive form. What really got me into it was wanting the ability to say things that I didn’t feel like I could say elsewhere.
So, you’re originally from Cleveland. What was the music scene there like for you while growing up? I was younger than a lot of the people who were doing music in Cleveland at the time. I tried to get involved and reached out to so many Cleveland bands, and the one band that connected with me was this band called The Modern Electric. Those guys were always so cool and I really appreciate them.
Do you think that growing up in Cleveland had any influence on who you are as an artist? I definitely think growing up in Cleveland had a huge influence on me as an artist. A lot of the themes in my songwriting are about growing up in the Midwest and a certain hopelessness that comes with that. Sonically, I’d say I’ve always been kind of doing my own thing so I’m not sure it influenced that aspect of it. Trying to break into the music scene was definitely an experience that was meaningful for me.
What sparked the move to Nashville and what has that transition been like for you? I knew that if I really wanted to go for music that I wasn’t going to be able to do it in Cleveland, which was kind of a sad reality for me. Nashville has a really cool music scene so I’d say that it was an easy transition for me.
How does a hometown show feel for you, in comparison to playing in brand new cities?
It’s definitely interesting! I feel like seeing people that you grew up with in the crowd at your show is bizarre for me. I came back to play in Cleveland for the first time in four years in August so I had some people that I knew while growing up at the show. It’s strange to witness the changing of some people’s pre-existing notions about you after they see what you’ve accomplished.
You recently hit the road with BabyJake for a few of his tour stops, what was that experience like? It was great! We stayed on the road for six days, which isn’t crazy but it was a really good time and definitely gave me the itch to get back out on the road.
You also just released a new single “Quiet on Set,” where did the inspiration for that come from? I think that, at large, a lot of pretending is going on with internet culture and a lot of people latch themselves onto an aesthetic so much that they forget that they’re a person. There’s this need that some people feel to emulate someone else and I feel like a lot of young people who are wanting to do music are in it for the wrong reasons and it makes me upset to think about it, so I wanted to write a song that sort of captures those feelings.
Can you walk me through the writing and recording process for “Quiet on Set?” I actually had the base idea for it for a long time but I rewrote the lyrics like four or five times because I was never satisfied with it. I wanted to make sure that it was really saying something. So I had it for about a year and then finally nailed down some lyrics and recorded it with my roommate, Josh who produced it. My friend Roger played drums on it and I recorded all the other instruments. I had it for so long which I think made it a pretty easy process.
Can you describe your creative process? Do lyrics or music usually come first? Music always comes first. I find it cool to write all the music and even write the melody to an extent. A good lyricist, to me, would be able to fit meaning into that box. I’ll usually demo stuff out on my own and then write the guitar and bass parts so that once I go into the studio, it’s an easy process.
How would you describe your music to people who haven’t heard it yet? I think it’s a unique combination of all my favorite things. I’d say it’s like indie-punk or post-punk, as long as it’s meaningful!
How did you go about finding your sound? It was definitely a long process. You’re constantly evolving but I don’t think I even knew my own voice until a couple years ago. That’s something you just have to go through as an artist. Growing up, my biggest struggle was that I always wanted what was next before I appreciated where I was. But I think over the last year or so, everything is finally falling into place.
Are there any artists or bands that influence your sound? Garage rock across all areas. The 70s punk and new wave scene in New York is a big influence. Bands like The Jam out of the U.K and The Strokes are huge for me. I listen to a lot of older music because I like something with a little edge but also something digestible. I’m influenced by everything and also nothing at the same time.
Is there a certain audience that you hope your music reaches or connects with? The goal is everyone! My music has actually been doing pretty well in Australia, which is exciting because I think Australia has the best music scene in the world. I hope that people connect with my music in a way that’s reasonable and in a way that’s not just “fuck everything!” There’s a unique experience that surrounds young adulthood and I try to add commentary on that that in my music, so I hope people are able to relate to that.
Do you go see a lot of live shows? When bands come through Nashville I try hard to go see them. I’ve seen a lot of Australian bands that came through like The Chats and Amyl and the Sniffers. I saw Pinegrove, they were really great! I also recently saw The Backseat Lovers and they played a really good show. I want to be excited when I go see a show!
Can you describe the difference or dynamic between actually being the one on stage versus being in the audience? Has becoming a performer changed your perspective at all when you go see shows? I love being blown away with a show, so I love seeing Punk shows where you can kinda just let yourself go and allow yourself to be entertained and be present with the music. I’d say that seeing live shows now definitely gives me the itch to perform and I start thinking like “damn I wish I was up there!”
Has there been a particular concert that you’ve seen that changed everything for you?
I wish! I honestly wasn’t huge into the concert scene when I was growing up. I was definitely playing music long before I started going to shows. I was 15 and hadn’t really seen a lot of
touring bands come through smaller venues. I went to go see Jamestown Revival and Colter Wall opened up for them. It was really cool for me to see that the whole venue was packed with people who were actually fans of the performers, and didn’t just know them personally. It was kind of an “a-ha” moment for me and I realized that people care about all kinds of music. That was a monumental experience for me and helped me realize that was what I wanted to do.
Do you think social media outlets like Instagram, TikTok, etc have changed the music scene? Oh definitely. Everything has shifted to TikTok and there’s a lot of opportunities that come with it, but it also comes with a sort of loss of authenticity. It kind of goes back to what “Quiet on Set” is about. It’s tough to create in a space that you’re kind of fundamentally against. I know that a lot of people listen to my stuff because of TikTok, but as long as I can be authentic with it and do it right, it’s worth it.
Is there a moment that you’re most proud of at this point in your musical career? When we put out “Free Advice, No One’s Buying” and made the music video for that, it was a really good time and it was fun for me to mix and release that. I really enjoy the process and I’ve tried not to attach myself to each project. These days I’m trying to appreciate the moments when they’re there and be ready for when the next moment comes.
Is it difficult for you to stay present and embrace those moments? It’s super difficult! I’m so un-preasent a lot of the time which kinda sucks, but it’s just the nature of doing music. There’s stuff that I do now that I don’t even think twice about, but if you would have told me a year ago that that’s what I’d be doing, I would probably have thought that it’s a huge deal. It’s a super interesting dynamic to think about.
Do you have a dream venue/gig that you hope to play someday? I really want to play Glastonbury in the U.K. I think that’s the best festival in the world and if I get to play that one day, I’d be pretty happy.
Who or what are you listening to these days? Ah such a loaded question! I’m listening to a lot of Richard Hell, he’s kind of the New York 70s punk prototype. I also really love the band Skeggs and The B-52’s. I’ve been listening to a lot of The Replacements album “Let it Be.” Oh, and the song “Restless” by Kakkmaddafakka.
What’s next for you? Touring and getting back on the road is #1 priority for me. I’m trying to line some shows up in New York which will be cool because I think it’s the most appropriate scene for me. I’ve got another single coming out soon, so be on the lookout for that. I should also be putting out another project with all new singles which I’m excited about.
You can listen to Jordan’s new single “Quiet on Set” here
Keep up with Jordan!