Welcome to In the Studio, a feature dedicated to exploring the fantastic independent musicians at Kenyon. This week, we showcase Jordan Dean ’22 music major from Cleveland, Ohio.
When did you start being interested in music or playing an instrument?
Music has always been something I’ve had an interest in. My immediate family has close to zero musical talent so I don’t really know where it comes from. But, I loved listening to the records that my Dad would play on long family car-rides. Stuff like Van Morrison, Norah Jones, and Adele. I started taking piano lessons when I was 8 years old because I had a friend that did. Although I kind of grew away from it, mostly because I wasn’t playing stuff that I was hearing on the radio, I kept an interest in pop and music like that from a listening and analyzing standpoint. When I picked up a guitar, I fell in love with it and took to singing and songwriting soon after.
Do you recall a specific moment in which you found your sound/voice/ personal style?
I don’t know if there’s a specific moment or if I’ve even found it yet. I think I am on the road to developing one but also as an artist I feel its something you’re constantly searching for. My style at any point might be a snapshot of my life at that time. I feel I am in a constant pursuit of getting better and I love so many different kinds of music I like to explore so many different genres and styles. Hopefully that will lead me to developing my own unique style though.
Take me through your music making process. Its it something you intensely focus on or is it more spontaneous?
I don’t think I can ever really plan what is going to happen in a writing session. When something is weighing on my mind I usually pick up my guitar and see what comes out. I always kind of start with a melody and then focus on lyrics that fit that melody. I have so many random lyrics and topics in the notes app on my phone that I’ll look at for ideas. I try to write everyday if I can. I’d say songwriter is my favorite part of the whole musician experience. I think that it really lets you get in touch with what you are really feeling and lets you be honest with yourself.
What aspects of culture, politics, art or your environment have been most informative to your music?
I usually just write about things that are going on in my life. I find it very therapeutic to write about that stuff because I can just let whatever I am holding onto go and I feel loads better when I’m done. Relationships I have with friends and family play a big part. I also find it boring to only write about love and heartbreak because that’s such a narrow view of life. I try to write about all kind of different things that I experience, I find it a lot more interesting that way.
What are a few songs or an album that has been important to you?
There are several albums that I would say have formed the kind of music I am making right now. Ed Sheeran’s Plus (2011) and Adele’s 19 (2008) are albums that really connected with me on an emotional level the first time I heard them. I would love to make people feel things through my music and Ed and Adele are masters of that. From a more fun loving but witty lyrical side I consider Jamie T’s first two albums, Panic Prevention and Kings & Queens, to be an important musical influences to me. I really enjoy listening to almost all kinds of music and I try to pull from everything I hear though.
What are some upcoming projects you are working on?
I recently uploaded some stuff I had done in the past to all the different streaming services! In addition to that I am working on two songs right now that should be released in the first week of April. They are called “Both Sides” and “Sober”. They will also be available on all streaming services as well and I am very excited to put them out. Both of the songs are about things that happened in my personal life. “Both Sides” being about a person that I had a professional relationship with who ended up being kind of two-faced and “Sober” being about getting over a failed relationship.
CHECK OUT HIS LATEST STUFF!!