What inspired the creation of your new album BOY, and how does this release differ from your debut album Mind Games?
I think the more I grow, the more the music grows as well. “BOY” is a reflection on the past year and a half and the experiences that came with it. After lots of therapy and self-work, there was this acknowledgement of my inner child. The way I feel and behave now is the outcome of those younger years; and so this record is the product of those realizations. These songs are for little JORDY and exist because of little JORDY. Mind Games was the foundation I needed to establish myself, but this project is me taking more creative liberties and risks to showcase myself as authentically as possible.
You mentioned that “these songs are for my inner child.” How do these new songs heal that part of who you are?
I think my younger self was so afraid to feel, because feeling meant being honest. And it was scary to be honest as a closeted kid. Being able to wear my heart on my sleeve and write vulnerable music is so healing in that regard. For all of the years I spent lying to myself and others, this makes up for it. Also it’s worth mentioning that flipping songs from my childhood and making them queer (making “Story of a Girl” into “Story of a Boy”) was also incredibly healing. Creating the songs I needed to hear as a kid in order to feel seen has been such a beautiful experience.
Do you think fans will find these songs to be healing as well? What do you hope they take away from this record?
I certainly hope so. I’d like to think that whatever I’m struggling with, others are as well. We’re all human. And I think we all need to be reminded that our inner child needs love and acknowledgment. We go through so much as kids to just bury the trauma and leave it there in the back of our brain. It’s important to dig through it all, and pat ourselves on the back for getting here. On more of a surface level, these songs are what I am most proud of as a songwriter, and I hope that after fans listen they hear it they feel more valid in their experiences.
How have you grown as an artist since the release of your first album?
As a person, I think that I have just focused on bettering myself. I started working out, going to therapy twice a week, cleaning my spaces, and treating myself with kindness. There’s always stuff to work on, but I am proud of the work I have put into myself and my body. And with that, I think it’s been easier for me to be real with my collaborators in the studio. Making music that’s real to me. Getting more comfortable admitting to certain feelings. It’s made me less afraid.
Tell us about “Story of a Boy” – why did you choose that song specifically to interpolate? And how did it feel performing it on The Kelly Clarkson Show?
It was a song I heard as a kid every time I turned on the radio. I would always imagine the lyrics differently in my mind, but it was a secret. Nobody knew. So flipping the song and making it my own was truly healing for me. And a big shout out to John Hampson for allowing me to do this. He’s become a friend to me, a mentor, a confidant. I am so grateful.
And in regards to Kelly, it was truly magical. Seeing her holding my record is an image that will never leave my mind. I watched her win American Idol when I was young, so talk about healing that inner child!!! So so so so thankful for that opportunity.
What other Y2K era artists inspire you / are your favorites?
Oh my goodness, I could go on and on and on. Avril Lavigne was my first love and my first concert. She’s just a badass. And one of my favorite voices and songwriters. She was bold in her lyricism while also maintaining this vulnerability that was so palpable. I also loved Hilary Duff, Michelle Branch, Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, and so many others. What an era. I wish I could have used Mens Wedding Bands at that time hahaha 😉
Do you have a favorite song on the new album? If so, why is that your favorite?
It’s so hard to choose because a lot of them are so so different. “IDK SH!T” is one of my favorite bops of mine because of its relatability and production. I love the bridge so much, especially performing that live, but also “Unburnable” is probably up there for me too because of the nature of the session. I wrote it in Nashville with Madi Diaz and Mikey Reaves and it was just a magical experience. I really encourage everyone to listen to that one closely, and read through the lyrics. It’s very special to me.
Tell us about attending the GLAAD Media Awards and being nominated for “Outstanding Breakthrough Music Artist.” What did that moment mean to you?
It means everything. Seeing my name in a category filled with someone of my favorite artists (Omar Apollo, Rene Rapp, Ethel Cain) was truly mind blowing to me. At the end of the day I am just honored to be recognized. Especially by an organization like GLAAD that continues to fight the good fight every single day. The queer community, especially the Trans Community, needs protection more than ever right now. And GLAAD is always there raising awareness and offering resources. I feel grateful to be a small part of it all.
Who/what are some of your style icons / fashion inspirations?
I think anyone pushing the boundaries inspires me. Sam Smith has always inspired me musically, but over the past year I feel like they really have fallen into themselves and it’s so beautiful to see. So many cool outfits that have blown me away. Big fan of Sam and always will be.
What’s next for you, and do you have anything fun planned for Pride Month this year?
I’m so excited to tour this record and obviously to continue making music. It’s how I survive. It’s what fuels me. Pride month is also going to be be a very very very insane month. I can’t wait to create safe spaces and celebrate queerness with my community. It’s the best time of the year 🙂