Montco Happening is proud to share our most recent interview with singer, songwriter and Lansdale native Jordan White! Over the years, this local musician has managed to build quite the name for himself while inspiring and influencing thousands of fans in the process. He has made appearances on Talk Philly, NBC’s PA Live, FOX News, the Hard Rock Cafe in Philadelphia and even American Idol. At just 31 years old, Jordan has achieved a level of success that most young musicians dream of, yet he continues to push for more while remaining one of the most humble people we’ve ever had the chance to meet. During our interview we were able to touch on everything from life and music to relationships, family and friends. We hope you enjoy our candid interview with one of Montco’s most happening musicians.
1.) How did you first get started playing?
When I was 12 years old my Dad bought me my first guitar for Christmas and I began taking lessons shortly there after. Growing up my father was in a Doo Wop Band in the late 70’s and early 80’s, while my mom worked as a writer. I think I was fortunate enough to inherit a little bit of her creativity along with my Dads musical roots. Without their faith and support I would not be who or where I am today. It took me a long time to learn the “fundamentals” of playing at first, but as soon as I got the basics down the music started to flow from there. Mastering the more technical leads is something that I continue to work on each and every day. It takes a massive amount of time, dedication and patience to perfect the them, but that’s what helps me continue to grow as a musician.
2.) What does music mean to you?
Above everything music to me is a release. It is, and always has been the most natural way for me to express my thoughts and feelings. Whether it’s jamming out at a friends house or playing a huge venue in front of thousands, performing live is my form of therapy. It’s a way to overcome the worst of what life has to offer, while adversely giving me the outlet I need to celebrate the best. I wouldn’t know how to deal with things in a healthy way if it wasn’t for music. It’s the most honest form of self expression I know.
3.) When was your first big break, or was it a gradual process?
In 2006 I recorded a song that originally was just intended for myself. A dedicated fan discovered it on my MySpace page and from there it took off. The song soon ended up on a compilation CD in Australia of all places, which at the time I had no idea how. The CD had some of Australia’s most popular musicians featured on it, most of who’m I had never even heard of before. Little did I know, the album was a massive success “down under”. Most of the proceeds went to help benefit the victims of the tsunami that devastated Indonesia and the Pacific Ocean coast in 2004. I was in total shock when I discovered that the song had made it onto the CD, and I didn’t realize how significant it was until I started getting a few royalty checks in the mail. That was the first time I got paid for writing and performing my music. It was a feeling that gave me more motivation to keep on pushing. After the release of that CD things started to slowly pick up for me, and the door to making a living off of my music was officially opened. For years I spent night after night playing small time gigs. I sang at family gatherings, with friends around camp fires, out loud in the car and even went to karaoke nights in order to improve what I love to do most. All of these past experiences and relentless efforts to get better finally started to pay off.
4.) What was your experience like on American Idol?
American Idol was a bit of a mixed experience. Don’t get me wrong, I got to meet some really cool people from all different walks of life while I was there, and for that I’ll always be thankful. But the show just isn’t what they portray it to be on television. They seemed far more concerned with image than actual musical talent. Getting through the first two elimination rounds gave me the opportunity to hear incredible voices from fellow contestants, people who could sing their hearts out. Unfortunately, and I think as was true in my case, they were passed over because they didn’t have an extravagant look or elaborate outfit. The guy who performed after me went through to the next round wearing a clown suit, literally. I’m not bitter in the least bit, it’s just sad that so many other talented vocalists got overlooked because one person decided their image didn’t fit the mold of what brings better ratings. I understand that the weirder you appear the more likely you are to get noticed, but I showed up in a t-shirt in jeans because I mistakenly thought the show was all about the music. I think that’s why shows like The Voice came along, it gives contestants the chance to be selected according to their voice and not their image. When all is said and done it’s a reality show, and that’s pretty much how it was run behind the scenes. Even still, I learned a lot, met some new friends and came out of it stronger than when I went in.
5.) Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Some of my favorite musical influences include; Van Morrison, Jackson Browne, The Beatles, James Morrison, James Taylor, Nirvana, Counting Crows, Third Eye Blind, Rob Thomas, John Mayor, The Church, Arkade Fire, the Killers, Bad Religion, NOFX and a handful of indie bands. To be honest there really isn’t much I won’t listen to, except for gangsta’ rap of course, although I still respect those artists for what they do and who they are. My musical taste is a pretty broad spectrum of sounds, all of which help influence me to become a more well rounded musician.
6.) What’s your favorite thing about living in Montgomery County?
I love how Montgomery County goes from true suburbia to country in the blink of an eye. That you can be in a busy thriving town one minute, and cruising around the “sticks” the next. I thrive on being out in open space, like the back roads and farms in Skippack for example. At the same time it’s always nice having big shops, restaurants and bars close near by too. Montgomery County just seems to have the perfect balance between the two. The fact that we are sandwiched between New York, Philadelphia and the Jersey Shore provides so much opportunity for me as a resident and musician. Over the years I have lived in a lot of county’s all over the state of Pennsylvania, but Montgomery County is by far my favorite and the one I call home.
7.) Favorite song of yours to play?
There’s a new song I have called High Road which is about a past relationship that was never meant to be. Instead of going our separate ways peacefully, she decided to bad mouth me even though I had nothing but positive things to say about her. Rather than stooping to the same level I decided to write the song “High Road”, which is exactly what I chose to take.
8.) Plans for the future?
At the moment I am in Trying to play at South by Southwest Music Festival in Texas this summer which would mean a long road trip with a ton of opportunities to tour and play the whole way down. It’s going to take a ton of coordination and prep to make it happen but that’s definitely a big motivation for me this year. I’ll also be appearing on Good Day Philadelphia soon and continuing to play gigs in the Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York regions. I just want to keep on playing, setting bigger goals and working on perfecting my craft each and every day.
9.) Who is your all time favorite guitarist?
I would definitely have to say Jimi Hendrix. I know that Jimi found his first guitar when he was just a kid. He was self taught, left handed but strangest of all…he learned how to play it upside down. No one was there to teach him any differently. After years and years of practice he created a sound that the world had never heard before. A sound that due to his unusual style, will probably never be heard again. He has been a huge influence on my music, a shining example of overcoming adversity and an overall inspiration when times are tough.
*Montco Happening wants to thank Jordan for taking the time to sit down with us to share a more personal side of his life behind the music. Follow the links below to help support this local resident, musician and all around inspiration!
*Preview and buy Jordan’s music on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/four-songs-ep/id543383447