By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Alt-pop singer-songwriter Kyle Jordan released his debut EP ‘Lost’ in 2019, which further demonstrates his natural ability to craft tunes with hearty lyrics and modern electronic production.
Influenced by everything from smooth 80’s synth-pop to gritty 90’s punk, Jordan earned his stripes as he performed at bars, clubs and festivals across both Boston and his hometown of Long Island, N.Y. before a recent move to Nashville, Tenn..
The Music Bugle had the chance to chat with Jordan about ‘Lost’ and more.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about alt-pop?
Kyle Jordan – I think that the most exciting thing about alt-pop as a genre is the fact that it’s kind of like a new frontier in music. There’s so much freedom to create and not worry too intensely about genre. I think there’s really something to be said for alt-pop when it can encompass everybody from Jeremy Zucker to Billie Eilish and beyond. I love the ability to blend and mix all of the influences that I grew up loving. I think the emergence of alt-pop as a genre is pushing music forward at an incredibly fast pace and it’s also making music much more accessible to a wider audience.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Long Island, New York to someone who has never been there before?
Kyle Jordan – I think of Long Island as a kind of microcosm for New York City. I think the culture of Long Island is similar to Manhattan. You keep your head down and you work hard and you want everything to be done now. The difference between Long Island and New York City is that there is a kind of shared experience that you can’t find anywhere else. People, especially musicians on Long Island – emphasis on “on” Long Island, not “in” – really do want to see each other succeed. I think one of the most impressive things about the Long Island music scene was how willing everybody was to help out everybody else. Love it or hate it, I think there’s really no place like Long Island.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Kyle Jordan – Music-wise, I’m definitely listening to some more “jazzy” artists. I think one of the most surprising things about my music taste is how much I’m influenced by artists like Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday and Miles Davis. I’ve always loved classic jazz music. Right now, I’ve been obsessed with Lawrence. I discovered Lawrence because one of my Instagram followers reached out and told me about one of their songs and then I listened and I listened and I haven’t stopped listening since. There’s something magnetic about mixing that upbeat pop sound with more complex changes and chords. I try to make my playlists as eclectic as possible because I want my music to reflect all of the incredible music that I grew up listening to.
Music Bugle – Which of your songs was the hardest to write or compose?
Kyle Jordan – I think that my hardest song to compose was “Not Afraid.” The track is certainly different from all of the others that are on my Spotify. “Not Afraid” sounds like a gospel track ran headlong into my sad/pop/dark-pop style. “Not Afraid” was actually the first song that I ever started to produce, but it became one of the longest running projects on my computer. I feel like I grew with the song and it evolved into something really different and interesting and it grew to be one of the songs that I’m most proud of.
Music Bugle – What has been the most memorable moment of your musical career so far?
Kyle Jordan – Easy. The most memorable moment of my musical career was when I played my first hometown show at Amityville Music Hall back on Long Island. I remember the crowd was a mix of family, friends, fans and strangers. When I say this, I mean it – it was the most electric crowd that I have ever played to. I remember people were chanting after I stopped playing, they were singing all of the words to my songs, they were dancing. I remember stepping off that stage and being so incredibly moved by the amount of warmth and love that I felt that night.
Music Bugle – Does social media make it easier or harder to stand out as a musician these days?
Kyle Jordan – I think that it’s a little bit complicated. I think that there’s certainly some parts of being a musician that social media made much easier. There has never been a time where it was easier to get your music in front of as many people as possible. Social media makes new music much more accessible to people. The flipside of that is that artists who would never have been able to be heard before are now capable of posting their music to social media. It’s like everybody has the capability to outgrow their small pond and be a big fish, but the size of the pond keeps growing too. I think it really will always boil down to a simple idea – if your music is good and you believe in it, then people will hear it.
Music Bugle – Are you working on any new music at the moment?
Kyle Jordan – I have quite a few songs in the works right now. I have a single that I have scheduled to release on October 16. My collaboration with Gino Lee is called “Only One” and I think it’s truly special. It’s definitely in a league of its own as far as the sound and how it mixes with the lyrics. I think we really broke new ground and pushed the boundaries of pop-music by combining the ballad that I wrote with an electric pop production. I have a lot more pop – and some returns to my acoustic roots – on the way.
Music Bugle – What has been your biggest struggle lately?
Kyle Jordan – My biggest struggle lately has been time management. It’s definitely tempting to spend every second on music. I think there are plenty of people who will tell you that you should eat music, you should drink music, you should breathe music and you should be thinking of music while you sleep. I definitely admire the work ethic, but I think that art can’t be forced. You can and you will make your best work when your body and your mind are ready. Inspiration can’t be put on a production line and pumped out. You have to find it somewhere in your life. If that means taking a break for a day or a week or a month or focusing on something different for awhile, then that’s the most important thing to do. That’s what I’ve been struggling to keep in mind lately.
Music Bugle – What do you miss the most about performing in front of a live audience?
Kyle Jordan – I think that I miss that sharing of music the most. Every time that I go on stage, I never think about finding fame or being admired or impressing anybody. I go up on that stage and I focus on sharing my story. My music has always been about telling a story. I always say that I started off as such a bad singer that if I didn’t focus on my lyrics, then I’d just have to give up the dream right then and there. As I learned how to use my voice and play my guitar and produce my music, I always carried that focus on the lyrics with me. I think that the most important part of being a musician is writing your experience into a lyric and having somebody, whether it’s a stranger or a friend, instantly relate to how you felt when you were writing the song.
Music Bugle – What has been the most productive thing you’ve done while in quarantine?
Kyle Jordan – The most productive thing that I’ve done while in quarantine is focus on building my brand. One of the things that you learn along the way in music is that you have to find something that is important to you and focus on making that your brand. I wanted my brand to be hopeful and inspiring, even if it’s sad sometimes. I wanted people to think of me and think, “It’s okay to not be okay.” When I was making the album art for my debut EP ‘Lost,’ I took that whole idea into consideration. I decided that I wanted the album art to be a really minimal, no-frills frowny face. To me, the frowny face is kind of a mask that we all wear sometimes. I think sometimes you have to allow yourself to be sad. It’s very important to stay in touch with your emotions and come to terms with the fact that you can’t always control your emotions. Building that brand has been incredibly important and I think I used this quarantine as a way to build on that brand and make sure that it’s easily recognizable and instantly relatable.