Joe Jordan : ”My passion for music starts with my Dad for sure”

Can you share your musical journey with us from when you first discovered your passion for music to where you are today as an independent musician?

My passion for music starts with my Dad for sure. He was a carpenter during the day and a rockstar at night. He was (and still is) the coolest person on the planet, especially through my perspective as a kid. I’d see my Dad come home from long hard days at work tired, drained, sunburned, soaked in sweat, and ready to pass out. But, when he practiced keys for his band he was always jamming with a smile on his face and I couldn’t help but smile, laugh and sing a long with him. From a young age I new which part of my Dad I wanted to be and it was always the rockstar musician having a grand ol’ time. It didn’t take me long into my 20s to realize being a rockstar was a lot harder than it looks. I had this passion for writing music and performing but had zero idea how to release music effectively and get it heard by an audience outside of Mom, Dad and my 4 older siblings. But I kept writing thinking one day my “natural talent” (whatever that means) would be so obvious the world would find me in their own. Well one lucky day a video I posted was submitted to a singer /songwriter TV show contest called “The Song”. They were shooting the first season and I managed to get on the show and place top 3. Unfortunately the show never went to air and my minute of fame was over. But I did get opportunities to write for other artists under one condition… move 800 miles away from my home in RI and move to Ohio. So my newly married wife and I darted off to Ohio so I could pursue songwriting for a small label called Mountain Road Records. Keep in mind at this point no money has been offered just an opportunity to work closely with this label and be given the chance to write for some potentially emerging artists. Within one year the label decided to offer me a 5 year pub deal. My most notable success was writing one top 40 song by myself called “Front Seat” by Rayne Johnson which achieved 100 million streams across all platforms. I had written many songs for Rayne that had gone viral and amassed millions of views across social media platforms and millions of streams and thought “I could do this”. I finally started to figure out how to connect my songs through an audience with social media and new that was the time to start releasing my own music starting with “Born to be Broken” released late 2023.

What motivates you to create music, and how do you stay inspired to continue making new and unique music?

I always draw from something real, and relevant to me for my songs. Usually the main themes of my life lately have revolved around my love for my wife, family, faith, meaning and how battling depression effects these things. I’m not sure if I suffer from depression in a severe way but certainly stare into the pit more than I should. You can extrapolate whatever you will from that. I’m person that’s full of highs and lows and you can certainly hear that in my songs.

Could you tell us about your creative process? How do you come up with new ideas for songs, and how do you go about turning those ideas into finished tracks?

I like to embody two main spirits of thought in my writing. The 1st person being a harsh critique that only wants the greatest of melodies, lyrics, and titles and won’t settle for anything less and the second being a “no pressure just write a shit song and get onto the next one” uncaring type persona. With the flip of a switch I swap between these two people through any song and I find it gives me the ability to craft high quality songs at a fast pace. Keeping that in mind, my process can begin in a multitude of ways. Maybe it starts with a chord, a lyric, or a melody of some sort or a combination of the three. Then I gradually build upon it with the two mindsets I mentioned prior. If I don’t already have what I consider to be a strong melody, lyric, or chord progression I write, doodle, and dig my way until something strikes me as worthy to be written about and then… I write it.

Independent musicians often face financial challenges. How do you manage your finances to sustain your music career while also covering your personal expenses?

For a long time I was working part-time and playing shows locally to make money while my wife Alley worked full time as well. We supported ourselves just fine until baby #1, Gracie-May came a long. My wife wanted to be a stay at home Mom and I wanted to be a hit-songwriter at the time ( and was no where close to it) so I definitely had to make some major changes. Supporting a family of three by myself meant working part-time, gigging 4-5 nights a week and still finding time to write music for my publishing deal which paid me around $1,000 a month at the time. This was A LOT to manage. I either had to pull back on the songwriting and put my dreams on hold or double down and keep pushing hard until some major success allowed me to make more money through songwriting. I kept pushing and eventually wrote a top 40 song for Rayne Johnson called “Front Seat” (mentioned previously) and the royalties on that song allowed me to quit the part time job and persue songwriting full time. Now Alley and I have 4 kids in Ohio and I support my whole family with music.

Can you share a particularly memorable or challenging experience from your journey as a musician that has had a significant impact on your career and personal growth?

The single biggest moment in my career that started to really make a difference was meeting Mark Liggett. Mark runs Mountain Road Records and has had many great successess with managing, recording, and promoting artists such as Shannon, Blessid Union of Souls, Saving Jane, and Rayne Johnson to name a few. I met him on the set of a TV show called “The Song” that I was a contestant on and he was the first person to tell me the truth… that I wasn’t that great. He saw great potential in me as a writer and thoughtI had some great ideas and a few good lyrics here and there but my songs often fell short of great and he saw right through my clever one liners. He pushed me to write songs that were just as good as hits on the radio and to make every lyric and melody great. When I signed a publishing deal with Mark he would have me re-write the same song 10 + times until they were great and I’ve taken that mentality into every song I write.

With the rise of digital platforms, the music Industry has changed significantly. How do you navigate the digital landscape, including streaming services and social media, to
promote your music and connect with your audience?

Nowadays, I think understanding social media and how to push your music is just as important as the songs. You can have “okay” song go viral with a GREAT idea behind the promotion of the song. Super viral songs tend to be great songs with great vision and intention behind the social media campaign. Social media isn’t my strong suit but I am learning more and more everyday. For me I focus on writing a great song then coming up with some visuals and headlines that can connect the audience to your song and then I post and hope for the best. Not wvery post is gonna go viral but I believe consistently and quality bring about great success.

Collaboration is a key part of the music industry. Have you worked with other musicians or producers, and how have these collaborations influenced your sound and career?

I’ve gotten to work with some awesome artists and producers and made some great friends a long the way. Rayne Johnson was the first artist I worked very closely with. I’ve written a few songs with Rayne for his projects and many songs that he has cut. When the song I wrote him “Front Seat” hit the top 40 country charts, him and I played a lot of shows together as well and became good friends. Blake Tyler is another artist I’ve written with and for. We Co-wrote a song with another friend of mine (Coy Comer) called “Can’t Walk on the Water” which went viral multiple times and has over 3 million streams to date. Blake and I have become good friends as well. Writing with Blake brought me back to my roots as a writer. I started writing about my personal experiences (as opposed to Pop-Country / commercial music) and revived my passion and love for songwriting again.

Your music likely reflects your unique style and perspective. Could you describe your musical identity and what makes your sound stand out in a crowded industry?

I’ve been a signed songwriter for the past 5 years. I was writing a lot of commercial country music and to be honest that’s not really my personal style. I love writing all kinds of music and always put peices of myself in any song but lately I’ve been putting more pieces of me into my music and bringing out an authentic sound that people seems to like. I think my story telling and lyrics are what make me stand out. I’m not afraid to write about how much of a broken mess I am and how I struggle with depression while in the same breathe talk about how much I love my wife and how great life is with her. My life is full of ups and downs (like most people) and If you really listen to my music you’ll know my worst fears, my greatest failures, my loving heart, my vices, my religious beliefs, and get to know parts of me that some of closest friends might not be aware of.

Many fans are interested in the stories behind the songs. Could you share the backstory or inspiration behind one of your recent tracks that holds special meaning to you?

My latest song “Don’t Tell Alley” is a harshly realistic take on what my life might be like without my wife Alley. Her and I were highscool sweethearts and have been together for almost 15 years (9 years married). We have 4 Beautiful children together and she is the best wife / mother a man could ask for. If you’ve loved someone and been with them for a long time I’m sure the idea of one of you dying has come up (dismal as that may be). Recently Alley and I had that midnight conversation and after really reflecting on it I know I’d change for the worse without her. Like most people on this planet I have a tendency to be self-destructive in depressive times of my life and thinking about having to care for 4 children without my better half would be soul crushing. I genuinely don’t know how people do it. The song is a prayer to God adking him to lie to Alley up in heaven about how I’m REALLY doing. “Could you tell her I’ve been eating three square meals a day, it’s been a year and I’m making progress. That I’ve been a perfect christian, superman to all our children and that I’m not a God**** mess”. The song goes on to say “She Couldn’t be hapoy up in heaven if she knew, since she’s been gone seems my life is over too, so Don’t Tell Alley”. I’d hate for her to see the loving husband she had is gone and crumbling without her. Honestly, despite this songs soul Crushing nature it reminds me to cherish Alley all the more cause you never know how long you really have with the people you love.

Looking ahead, what are your future goals and aspirations as an independent musician? Are there any upcoming projects or exciting developments in your career that you’d like to share with your fans and the audience?

Within the next year I’ll be touring the US for the first time while releasing another 30-40 songs. I’m excited to get out and meet some of the fans I’ve made through social media and maybe make some new ones. I’m most excited about pushing the boundaries of folk/country and writing songs that can help/heal people in some way.