Music and Meaning

Jords

by Thandeka Tlou

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Soundcloud offers a platform unique in its own right. A place for musicians to exhale life’s complexities and general musings they’ve inhaled through their journey. I have always delighted in finding my way onto Soundcloud with an expectation to find music that is moving. On the evening I stumbled on Jords, it felt like walking past someone with a potently beautiful fragrance which forces you to turn around. I had no choice but to pay attention. Donell Jones’ voice bounced across the walls of my room from my speakers as I tasted nostalgic moments of the past hoping for it not to end, only to be presented with a beautiful transition into Late Night Talks; my first encounter with his music. I played his tracks back to back that night. Music, for many presents itself as an avenue to release tension whether personal or societal. Music holds itself as an agent of socialisation which constructs the performer and listeners sense of identity through lyrical content, visual aid and rhythm. The musician therefore holds the ability to take a captivated listener into a new reality; allowing us to place ourselves in many cultural narratives. I wanted Jords to be on music and meaning for he holds the ability to do so. Jords calms you down on distasteful matters through his oxymoronic lyrical abilities and soft rhythmic backdrops. Whether it be Hip-Hop, Jazz, RnB, Grime or Soul; he enables the listener to find refuge in his unique projects. A reflective artist; thus allowing himself to fully feel his surroundings in order to formulate his feelings in such a powerful way and this is what makes him unique.

Introducing Jords.

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When I listen to your music, I feel a strong sense of identity, balanced with smooth, calming productions forming a nice balance. How would you define yourself and how do you reflect this in your music? As listeners we will take from you what we gravitate towards the most, but how best can you define your identity?    

I think I’m just someone trying to find a way. I don’t know who I am yet. I’m becoming the man that I think I want to be. It’s kind of like, that’s my story. Me trying to find my identity.  

Because I may gravitate to a different part of your music in comparison to someone else, so it’s interesting to know how you identify yourself and what you take from it.  

I think when people listen to music, everyone relates to it for their own sort of reasons. When you relate to something, the reason why I’ve said it may be a complete different reason to why someone else relates to it, which is cool, everyone kind of shares their own story.  

You reference societal expectations and the decision you have made to follow another route in Mrs Chambers' Kitchen. How do you feel about following the route of music in our day and age and how has this impacted on your musical journey?    

I think it’s important to find what you want to do and to go for it. I’m a simple guy like that, If I like it I’ll do it and if I don’t like it I won’t do it. So as soon as I liked music I decided I would carry on and do music. I didn’t think about the aspirations as in “I want to make this a career”. I just had an idea like I want to have a show in a different country, or make an album, rather than being based on an income and that kind of stuff.   

That’s good. If you know what you want out of what you do then you can get to the destination with a plan, and if you know that you want to be famous, definitions of famous are changing now. You may find someone who will say they’re famous/they’ve made it, with ten committed listeners because fame is so subjective now.  

Yeh, I think fame is a by-product of it. I wouldn’t say I’m famous, but people around me will say “Jords you’re famous”, but for me, this is my career now. It’s something that goes with it.  

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You sampled Donell Jones, my favourite of all time. Which musicians have influenced you the most?   

Obviously Donell Jones, I’m an RnB guy, I love RnB.

Let’s talk about Donell Jones, what’s your favourite song?  

I actually have it; I was listening to it on the way here. He looks like my brother and it’s freaky! It’s Alright, it’s on Where I Wanna Be. Who else, I listen to some Jahiem, 50cent. I’ve got RnB stuff that my parents used to play then I got some stuff that I found myself. Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Aaliyah. Then we have old school grime like Wiley, Kano, Dizzy, Wretch 32. So many but at the core of it, a love of RnB.  

That’s one of the reasons I gravitated towards your music. It sounded RnB and it took me back. Even with your samples, you put so much of your touch to it.  

You released Before We Begin, your ep. It was released in the last quarter of the year. It didn’t fail to please, what messages did you want to express through this project?  

You have some songs like Working Too Hard which has a fun melody to it. It’s quite a turn up song but the message behind it is about the sacrifices you make because you’re working too hard. It’s quite real at the core of it. A lot of people related to it because they’d be working too hard but they’d be dancing to this message. It was a lot of venting about love, relationships, and circumstances. It was thinking out loud. You can listen to it and relate, or you can listen to it and catch a vibe. I like that people can listen to both sides.  

Talk me through the meaning behind the name… it’s almost as though you’re telling us this is only the beginning, is this the case? What are your plans for 2018? 

Yes, it’s like everything that I’ve done up until this point is about finding myself. I’m 23 and I’m still quite young and I’m still at that stage where I’m young and up and coming. Rather than becoming someone who’s influenced, I want to become more of an influencer.  

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You also make beats. When did you start? 

It’s something I’ve been working on. The next EP will be more self-produced.  I started producing a while ago. In college I did a music production course. I didn’t really listen to the teacher, I just found myself making beats all day. Late Night Talks I produced myself so it varies. I have a lot of beats, sometimes I’ll be like listen to this and let me know, or we can sit in a session, write the song properly and make the song. I like people in different areas; I’d rather have someone that you wouldn’t think I’d make a song for be on a track I’ve produced. I think I can write a song for myself, but you have to detach yourself from the beat. You have to be able to let go like what I was saying before. I like listening to songs I’ve produced for people probably more than I like songs I’ve written for people.  

How would you define your style? 

My style, erm, I don’t even know. I’ve got a stylist now. I’m into like tracksuits and hoodies. He’s getting me to wear more stuff that brings you out as a person. It’s cool because it kind of reflects your personality. Musically, I’d say it’s a blend of Hip-Hop and RnB. You can tell there are so many different influences. I’m influenced by Jazz, I’m influenced by Reggae, Grime, so many different things but if it was to be put into anything then I’d say RnB/Hip-Hop.  

If you could personify your music in human form, how would he/she look? 

Like me. Some days I wear tracksuits, some days I’ll wear jeans, some days I’ll wear a baggy t-shirt. It all depends on how you feel on the day.  

So would you say you create music based on how you feel at that time? Like if you go through a season of feeling something, that’s what you will write about? 

Yes, I think you can tell how I’m feeling at that time. On Before We Begin, people clocked that I was quite frustrated. On other songs I sound happy or reflective. There’s different sides to everyone which is why I’m more of a project person. I don’t really like putting out random singles. There are so many different sides I’d want to show.  

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I’m going to ask you to respond to a couple of existential topics and I’d like you to compose a lyrical stanza to them which will also represent your outlook and view of that question/statement/subject. You have 20 seconds. Feel free to explain your choice of words after.  

What’s our biggest mistake in life?  

I’m just a middle child

I’m not used to the luxury

I know its been a while

Id rather you have not enough

Than too much of me

I feel like people give away too much of themselves too soon. Once something is saturated, it’s got to be thrown away but if you haven’t given so much then there’s still more that you can always give.  

 Time

23 and I know what I’ll do forever

Either I do it different or I do it better. 

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 What is the true meaning of love?  

Genuinely putting someone’s happiness before your own. It doesn’t have to be someone like a girlfriend or boyfriend, it can be family.  

Where is your safe haven?  

Chilling with the bros, especially when my brother comes back because he doesn’t live in the country. He comes back like once or twice a year. When he comes back everyone’s always together.  

Where would you love to see yourself performing?  

I’d love to do O2 at some point.  

What would you like to be remembered for? 

Someone who was always honest to himself.  

What’s a personal favourite of your song list?  

Changes, Mrs Chambers Kitchen is a close one. I like Late Night Talks. That was one of the first ones I made and I realised I can actually do it myself. I do like Your Mind, and my mum likes that. 

What was the last song you listened to? 

Donell Jones, It’s Alright. 

Favourite book? 

The Alchemist, and The Autobiography of Malcom X. 

We look forward to discovering more about you through your art, thank you.