After spending his career blurring the lines between pop and jazz throughout his songwriting and artistry, Marc Jordan has climbed to the top of the ladder when it comes to being in the music industry. From working harder than anyone in the room because of his dyslexia to writing a big hit with the legend, Rod Stewart. We chatted with Marc about his career and in this interview we hope to give aspiring musicians advice as well as some entertainment.
Your career really took off in the late 70’s – what do you think has changed between then and now in the music industry?
Back in the 70’s, it was easier to access money to live on by just making music and writing songs. Publishers would give you enough money to live on if they wanted your songs, and that had two benefits. 1) You had enough money, so you didn’t have to worry. 2) You could spend the entire day writing songs, and in those days, that was the only way to learn how to write. The industry is now driven by ‘the single’. It is rare for people to release full albums, so the demand for volume of songs has decreased. It is more difficult than ever to break into the songwriting world.
You’ve written tracks for some of the all-time greats like Rod Stewart (I’m very jealous) – can you give us an insight into your songwriting process when writing for people like Rod?
I never wrote specifically for Rod till I had the big hit with him. I find it hard to write for specific artists. Some writers have the skill of writing to order. With me, I have to pretend I was writing a song for me, and that’s how it came to be real and truthful. I also find it hard to get into somebody’s headspace. If I pretend the song is for me, it will be more real.
Listen to Marc Jordan’s latest album “Both Sides” while reading the interview:
I believe you’re spending a lot of time in Nashville? Is it really the songwriting heaven that it’s romanticised to be?
Nashville is really great. There are lots of great players and a lot of different styles of music. It is not limited to just country anymore. It is a supportive community, and the players, producers, songwriters, and singers are first-rate by any world standard.
What inspired the love of painting?
I call my paintings flat music. It is the same part of my brain but just different enough that I can leave a recording, go and paint, then come back to the music ready to get down to it. Sometimes if I’m stuck with a song, I will take a break and paint. It helps me process and be able to finish the song.
With the current climate in mind, are there any new artists or bands you think we should stream or buy?
I think most good music speaks directly to the heart and mind. It is not so much about who you should support; it’s whether or not all music is of value. I would say most music has value to different people for different reasons. I like music from all types of genres!
You grew up in Canada, specifically in Toronto, what’s your best memory from the city?
Yes, I grew up in Toronto, although I was born in New York City. I didn’t care much for Toronto until the Yorkville coffee house scene exploded. Now Toronto is a world-class vibrant town. It’s the most ethnically diverse city in the world, and that’s a great thing.
“Now that there is no money in the system because of the feeling that music is free, it is challenging for all musicians. Music shouldn’t be free, just like any other product. It costs money to make it, so it should cost money to buy. I think the industry can and will get fixed with time.”
With you being dyslexic and your painting helping your songwriting – have you found the industry more challenging?
I always found most things challenging, even music and writing. I worked hard and was able to play and write songs in a way that made sense for me, but it took time. Now that there is no money in the system because of the feeling that music is free, it is challenging for all musicians. Music shouldn’t be free, just like any other product. It costs money to make it, so it should cost money to buy. I think the industry can and will get fixed with time.
In your opinion, what makes you stand out as a singer/songwriter?
I blur the lines between pop and jazz, and that is heard less often than straight pop or straight jazz. I listened to as much of the jazz records of the 40’s/50’s/and 60’s as I did the Beatles. My father, who was a great classical singer (Charles Jordan), once told me, “If you want to really sing, listen to how women connect to a lyric. Listen to Billy and Ella and Nina Simone; they connect to lyric in a profound way.” My dad was correct. The way women sing and add emotion is unique, so I have picked up on a lot of those ques and added them to my music.
Do you think your passion for music will never leave you?
My passion for music continues to grow. I enjoy it now more than ever, and I love performing live shows as well. I get up in the morning, and I am usually in my studio before breakfast on most days.