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Interview: Jordan Davis discusses his self-titled EP, his hopes to get back to the UK and his experiences of making music in quarantine

Jordan Davis is one of the big breakout stars of the Country music genre in the last few years.

His 2018 album Home State catapulted him to the big time with number one singles Singles You Up and Slow Dance in a Parking Lot. Jordan made his first trip to the UK last October to support Old Dominion and in March he was supposed to have performed on the Main Stage at C2C, which was sadly postponed due to the pandemic.

Recently Jordan released his new self-titled EP so I called him up to talk about it, discuss his disappointment at not being able to get back to the UK to perform, and to find out how he’s been keeping creative in quarantine…

Since I saw you back in October, the world has literally changed. How have you been coping?

Man, it’s been pretty crazy but I had my first daughter in November so it’s been pretty cool to get to spend some time with her. I’ve spent some time at home with family. We’re gone the majority of the year so to be at home this much has been the silver lining of everything.

It’s such an uncertain time for everyone right now and for you as an artist, it must be so frustrating that you can’t actually go out there and do your job…

This weekend it hit me. I was looking back through old photos. My everyday life was based around when I was getting on and off stage. It’s been frustrating, but at the same time, it’s what’s best for everybody. You’ve got to think, “this is keeping everybody safe” and we’ve got to start thinking about just us as a country and a world, and whatever’s best for all mankind, and if that’s not playing music, until we can figure this thing out then that’s what it is. I do hope that we can find something here soon to at least bring some normalcy back to everybody because I know everybody misses it just as much as we do.

You got such a fantastic reaction last October on the Old Dominion tour and I couldn’t help but feel for you in March when C2C was postponed and you had been due to play on the main stage. That must have been disappointing for you?

Oh my gosh. We played the show in London (in October) and I had a buddy backstage that has lived in London for about six years now. After that show my manager came in and said, ‘hey man, they want to move you up at C2C’. We’d already confirmed it and I remember I announced it that night, and I wasn’t It’s supposed to, but we weren’t supposed to play on the big stage. After that show we got bumped up, which was really cool for us and the band and we celebrated. It built even more excitement towards getting back over there. Like you said, that tour for us was so great and I feel like we built and made a lot of fans. We were even working on a headlining thing, trying to get over there after C2C. We all packed up, flew over there and they threw the brakes on it. That was a depressing plane ride back home, because I know the band was looking forward to it and I was too. It is what it is. Luckily, I think we’ll get another chance at some point, whenever that is, and we’re just going to have to capitalise on it then.

Jordan Davis
Credit: Snakefarm Records

I was at The O2 the day before as the announcements kept coming and we could see artists were already flying back home. I joined some friends in a bar and drowned our sorrows…

I know, man! I was asleep on the way over and when I had woken up, I checked on my one of my socials and a lot of UK fans were saying, ‘is it true that you’re on a flight back to the States?’ I was trying to respond like, ‘no, I’m flying. I’m about to land in Heathrow here shortly’ and got me thinking, ‘what’s happening?’ It was about 45 minutes to an hour after the landing that we got the news that everything was put on hold.

Despite the current circumstances, you have just put out a self-titled EP with new music and your recent singles on. Was there ever any doubt about putting something out during the pandemic?

Man, I felt a call to. We’d been touring off of Home State. One of the positives and the negatives of that album is that it did really well, which was awesome because we get a lot of radio singles off of it and a lot of success on streaming but (the success) also makes you hold on to records a little bit longer (laughs) when they’re doing as well as Home State did, which was great. As a new artist, you’re trying to get a lot of new content out and release a lot of new music, but you don’t want to step on the toes of a record that’s doing well. We went a little long on that one and we were planning on touring one last tour round for Home State and then putting it to bed and releasing a new record. When everything got stopped, I felt just a call as an entertainer. Touring was up in the air and I know how special music is to me through tough times, and I’ve got an amazing team that felt the same way I did. I thought what better way, if we can bring a little bit of light to our fans, let’s get some new music out and give them something to at least look forward to. It’s been fantastic. The response to it has been amazing to something that wasn’t supposed to happen when it did. With everything that was going on in the world, we bumped it up a little bit

The music on this EP is feel-good and up-lifting. There’s so much positivity in them and your fans must be finding some comfort in them. What response have you had?

I love getting the videos from people with Detours and their stories like ‘that was our story. That was my story before I met my wife’. Songs like Church in a Chevy where people comment on how they feel the same way and how they feel closer to God when they’re as far from a church as they can get. Songs like A Little Lime and Ruin My Weekend. where I love getting videos of people on boats and hanging out in the sun and the music’s blasting, and they’re playing songs like that. Balance is a huge thing. For me, I feel like the more balanced the record is, it’s just easier listening. I feel like this EP is just as balanced as Home State was, so it was just a big thing for us.

Is this EP the pre-cursor to a new album in the new future?

We’re still working on the album. This was gonna be something that I wanted to have it just live on its own and be its own thing. I gotta be honest with you, I didn’t expect the reaction to the EP that it’s gotten. I knew I loved the songs and I thought that they were going to do well but we’ve never had any songs connecting the way that Detours and Church in a Chevy have been connecting with. We’ll see how it looks when it comes to the album as far as if this is going to be a standalone EP, or if this is going to get rolled into an album. The one thing I do know is that the next time we release music, it is going to be a full project so it won’t just be another EP. If this does roll into an album, it may be one of those 18-song records (laughs) but I’ m cool with it. I love putting music out and I love writing songs, and as long as the fans keep wanting to hearing them, I’m gonna keep slinging them out (laughs).

I’m pretty sure no one would be mad if you released an 18-track album…

(laughs) I’m into it myself, man. I got a lot of songs. We cut nine songs for this EP so right off the bat, three of them are in ready to roll. We’ve got a lot of songs that we’ve written throughout the quarantine that I’m really fired up about. I’m ready for people to hear them.

Jordan Davis
Credit: Snakefarm Records

Some artists I’ve spoken to recently have found writing during quarantine to be creatively stifling. It sounds like you’ve had the opposite experience…

Yeah, it’s been amazing to have some time to read and write some stuff down and just reconnect with music that I’ve missed out on, listening to records. When you start doing that the inspiration starts piling up. For me, it was tough at first with the Zoom writes. Writing over the Internet was really, really hard and I actually get to the point where I shut it down just because it was really draining and I didn’t feel like I was doing songs or the ideas justice that I had. I’ve since stopped that and I’ll have people come over to my patio and we’ll do it safely, distance ourselves, but at least just being there with other people and getting the energy has helped a lot. I’ve written a lot of songs through this quarantine that will be on this next album.

At this point it sounds like you might be able to do a Miranda Lambert and put out a double album…

I’d be cool with that! I left some songs off of Home State that I wish I could have got on there. There’ll be a few that’ll be on there and then a lot of new stuff as well. I am not opposed to putting out music. I love when my favourite artists put music out so I’m sure my fans feel the same way. The more the merrier! (laughs)

I appreciate the future is very hard to predict right now but do you think there’ll be any opportunity to play any live shows this year?

I just saw a show come through for October 31st this year, so I just got my fingers crossed on that one. All I’ve seen is the date and somebody tagged me on one of my socials about it. Fingers crossed that it happens. I don’t know what that’s going to look like as far as like full capacity or half capacity. That’s my target that I’m going for. I know, this month is a wash. We don’t have any shows this month. We’ll see maybe how July works. I’ve been trying to keep up with the news as much as I can and it doesn’t seem as if anything is slowing down. I’m just continuing to pray that everything works out right and that we’re able to get back out there whenever it’s safe for us to get back out there. Definitely this year’s up in the air, but I’m kind of praying for October.

Some artists are starting to do drive-in shows. Is that something you’d be interested in doing?

Yeah, man, I would play it in a heartbeat. I would do anything that gets me and my band guys playing music. I’d play Walmart parking lot, no pun intended – I always forget I have a song about that (laughs). I would play anywhere in the world right now if it was safe, and people could do it. If somebody offers me a drive-in convert, I’d be there in a heartbeat.

Have you been taking advantage of doing live streams to stay connected with fans?

Yeah, we’ve done a lot of those, a lot of Instagram lives and stuff like that. They’re a lot of fun. The energy sometimes is weird when you’re so used to playing crowds and all that. The fans love it, they need a break, and we need a chance to play music so we’ll probably do a few more IG live stuff and some streaming.

It must be quite strange to finish a song and have no reaction…

That’s the tough part on the streaming stuff. You’re so used to a reaction. It’s just a weird time we’re in. It’s weird just playing to that little green dot on your computer screen.

Just think how excited, passionate and enthusiastic your fans are going to be when you can get back out on the road…

Oh my gosh! That first show, we’re gonna play for five hours probably (laughs). It’s the old saying that you don’t know how much you love something until it’s gone and this has definitely made me realise how much I love playing music and how grateful I am for the job I have and the fans I have. Because I do man, I miss them. I miss being on the road, I miss my band guys, I miss my crew, I miss my fans. I miss that energy right before walking out on stage when you’re when your pre-show playlist is playing and you’re about to go out there and just leave it all on the stage. I miss that. I’m ready to get back out.

Jordan Davis’ self-titled EP is available to stream and download now via Snakefarm Records. Watch the music video for Detours below:

Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip is the Editor of Entertainment Focus and the Managing Director of agency Piñata Media.

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