Jordan Riley On a Mission
September/13/2012 09:21 PM
Jordan Riley On a Mission
Interview by Nicole Hanratty
August 30, 2012
Jordan Riley is set to release his inspirational song “Do You See What I See,” in a few weeks. The song highlights what the world needs today…a generation that is willing to reach out beyond borders to help one another, make a global difference in ending world hunger and help those in need to heal. We recently had the opportunity to interview Jordan.
Nicole: You mentioned you were unsure about doing this song at first but your producer, Wade Martin, convinced you to do it. How do you weigh the guidance a reputable and quality producer can provide to a young musician?
Jordan: When it comes to opinions…everyone has one. This was no different when it came to Wade, however Wade never came across as someone who knew it all, he was humble in his approach and above all was more concerned about building a relationship with me as an artist and making sure I was taken care of. So when he approached me and strongly encouraged me to think outside the box with my new single “Do You See What I See,” it wasn’t that hard to take his advice to heart to go with it.
Nicole: How did you meet Wade Martin?
Jordan: I met Wade through the weirdest circumstances ever. I had been working with a producer from Washington who turned out to be a complete fraud. During the process of working with this producer he would drop names left and right, like he knew every big name in the business. He kept using Wade’s name, and said that Wade was going to be mastering my album. Finally I got curious and looked up Wade and sent him and email. To my surprise Wade emailed me back and gave me his number and I called him. Turned out that Wade didn’t even know the producer I had been working with, and that producer had called him just days before and asked Wade to lie for him and tell me things that were not true. To Wade’s credit he had a ton of integrity and told me the truth which impressed me so much that I felt an instant connection to him.
(Pictured left: Young Jordan Riley on the back of a another sticking his tongue out.)
Nicole: Your life has taken an interesting diverted path from where you were originally headed. Can you say what motivated the change inside of you from accepting an athletic basketball college scholarship to a music career?
Jordan: Well growing up my two passions were basketball and singing. But being a very introverted kid I stuck to basketball because it kept me from having to interact with people on a large scale. It wasn’t until college that my true personality really began to emerge and I found out who I really was. I started to see the bigger picture of where I fit in and who I was meant to be. The pivotal moment for me was when I went on a jog with a friend. After our workout we went to his place and he showed me some songs he was working on with his guitar. I started to feel lyrics just bubbling up inside and they just flowed out onto the paper and before I knew it the song was done, and soon we had a number of songs done. I was so blown away at not just how effortlessly they came but how I was able to express myself. My passion for wanting to reach people with a message of hope really got started at that time.
Nicole: To that end, how do you weigh the importance of pursuing one's dreams?
Jordan: It is very important. Too many people have dreams but end up second guessing themselves or others talk them out of it. To remain focused on your dreams and actually pursue them is so vital. Sometimes I wonder where I would be if I had not pursued my own dreams. I believe you are given dreams for your life for a reason, and if you don’t pursue them I think it’s just a waste.
Nicole: What advice would you give to a young person struggling with the choice of taking two very different roads?
Jordan: I don’t want to sound cliché, but when you are faced with two very different roads to take in your own life you need to look down inside of yourself and really see what is right for you. You are the only one who knows what your heart is telling you to do. Too many people do what their parents or others expect them to do, and end up with a life of regret because they choose wrong. I believe you will find it more rewarding if you go for what you feel your true passions are instead of what others think you should be doing with your life.
Nicole: Can you name three people in your life whose guidance has been invaluable--other than your parents?
Jordan: My brother Chris has always been someone who has believed in me no matter how crazy things got. Also, my first manager Lila, who gave so much of herself to pour into my life and eventually into my career. Finally my Pastor, Garrett who would meet every Thursday with me for years to help guide me through all the highs and lows that life would throw at me.
Nicole: Ok, now tell us how your parent's have guided you!
Jordan: Although my parents were never really happy with my decision to be a singer, my parents did a very good job of raising me. They taught me the value of working hard, they also instilled in me the importance of being a giver and not a taker. My mom and dad always showed me by example in their own lives and thus taught me that I needed to put others before myself. It was that fact alone that really shaped who I am today. My music and career really centers around a love for God and for people. I want my music to impact people’s lives, and not just be a bunch of fluff.
Nicole: Do you play any instruments, or have you had any musical training aside from singing in the church choir?
Jordan: I have always had a love for playing the drums, but my parents made me sell my drum set when I was 15 because they were so tired of the constant noise that I made in the house when I would play them for hours. I also taught myself to play guitar, which has helped me in writing songs, but I really have focused on my primary instrument, being my voice. A side note about my voice and choir was that I failed choir in high school because the choir teacher said that I could not sing well with others. I guess I was meant to be a lead singer/solo artist.
Nicole: You have links to album sales that support a Christian ministry on your website, making it clear you are a religious person. How does your faith and integrity guide the choices you make as you navigate the music world?
Jordan: My faith is very important to me. It guides the songs I write and also the way in which I conduct myself as an artist. Unlike many musicians who want to be rock stars, make a lot of money, get signed and live that kind of lifestyle, I really desire to reach people on a deeper level. You can go to a lot of concerts and at the end the artist will end with a really cool song and say goodnight and walk off stage and that’s it. Maybe all you got was a really cool show, but for me I take as much time as needed and I hang out with people after every show. People want to be heard, and know that you care, and for myself I want to let them know that they are important and valuable. I also want to use my career and the platform I have been given to make a difference in this world. I partner with organizations that are making a big impact in the lives of people that are hurting around the world. I want to give back as much as I can, and I believe that stems from my love for God and how I believe He cares deeply about each and every person.
Nicole: How has the opportunity to donate your time to a charity like Children International changed the direction of your music career?
Jordan: Working with Children International has really opened my eyes and has totally expanded my career. C.I. gave me a new arena to be involved in using my talents to benefit others. I was at their headquarters recently and I got to pick out a little kid that I got to sponsor personally. It was a very touching moment to read about the hardships and horrible conditions that others experience around the world, and I knew that this was something I wanted to be a part of. Working with them has also helped broaden the music that I write. Instead of just having a target audience in mind when I write a song or plan a tour, I have a bigger vision for what I want to sing and where I want to go. It has also pushed me to use my voice to encourage others to look beyond themself to see the need that is out there, and then reach out and help make a difference.
Nicole: For your fans--will you tell us some of your favorites:
Flavor of ice cream
Jordan: Tin Roof
Brand of tennis shoes
Jordan: DC Shoes
Place to vacation
Jordan: Lake Chelan and Hawaii
Nicole: What music is on top of your playlist these days?
Jordan: Newsboys, Linkin Park, Planetshakers, Jesus Culture, Jeremy Riddle, and Ellie Goulding
“I Am Here” album on iTunes
Genres: Rock, Music, Pop
Released: May 23, 2011
℗ 2011 Jordan Riley
Nicole: What does "Turn Around" on your “I Am Here” album mean to you?
Jordan: The song “Turn Around” was written at a very lonely point in my life where I felt like I was unloveable and that no one really cared about me at all. Many of us pass down hallways or walk down the sidewalks and pass by people we know and there is hardly an acknowledgement or maybe a slight “Hi” if that, and by the time you get a chance to say anything back or ask “How are you” they are long gone past you. I guess there is a part of me that wishes people were not so superficial these days. I want people to care more, to actually take time out of their so-called “busy lives” and say, “Hi.” Ask how you are doing, instead of just heading on their way. Next time you are walking by someone and you notice them try turning around and giving them some of your time and showing them you actually care.
Nicole: You have songs that reflect different genres. "Helpless" is rock with a metal sound on your "I Am Here" album, while "Turn Around" is a softer pop tune off the album. "Next Sunday" has a definite pop-punk sound and your bio says the first song you ever wrote was a rap song. Is there one specific direction you are headed as you move forward or will you keep your sound eclectic?
Jordan: Well I personally listen to pop music in general. There is a small part of me that likes to rock out, and I guess as an artist I want to have a pop/rock sound for my music going forward. However, I do want to stay a bit versatile because I have found that in doing so you don’t limit yourself or your audience, and since my goal is to impact people I want to see people who like different genres of music show up and my concerts. If I just stuck to one genre I think I would only be reaching a limited amount of people who like that specific genre, so by keeping it a little more open I am able to reach into different areas and see people come out to my shows who wouldn’t normally necessarily come.
Nicole: Are you working on a new album now?
Jordan: I hope to start working on my new EP later this year, but my focus is my new music video that is coming out this fall. Since I have teamed up with Children International in shooting this music video, their big vision for taking this video around the world has given me new excitement for future plans. I want to see where this video goes, what new doors it opens and what inspiration it gives me for the music to come.
Nicole: With which other charities are you involved?
Jordan: Other than Children International (www.children.org) I have also partnered with The HopeLine with Dawson McCallister (www.thehopeline.com). They work with young people who are hurting around the nation. I do hope to work and team up with more charities in the coming year.
And we look forward to hearing more from Jordan in the upcoming months!
You can vote for Jordan Riley in the Local Music Project on Spirit 105.3
A message from Jordan: I have been fortunate enough to be placed in the Top 10 for the SPIRIT 105.3 FM Local Music Project. I need your help to get my song played on the radio. It would mean so much to me to have your support and your votes!
Here are two ways you can VOTE!
#1 Starting Sat. Sept 15th-21st, go to www.spirit1053.com/lmp find me (Jordan Riley, click on my picture) and vote for my song.
#2 Starting Sept 15th-21st, Text LMP10 to the number 28201 on your cell
(You can vote by each method once a day, so that’s two votes per day and 14 a week. If you have multiple cell phones you can vote multiple times.)
You can listen to “Do You See What I See” on the JordanRileyMusic.com Music Player
“Do You See What I See”
Copyright: Sunflower Entertainment
Written by: Gloria Shayne and Noel Regney
Arrangement by: Jordan Riley
Follow Children International on Twitter @Children_Intl
Follow Jordan Riley on Twitter @jrileymusic