Today’s Spotlight – Jordan Hart. We get to sit down and chat with Jordan about his music. Based out of Toronto we talk Busking and time off with Covid. His new release Only Pieces of The Truth which is out today. Check out more below from our conversation.
You are originally an Edmonton kid, and now have relocated to Toronto. What was the biggest culture shock you felt in your new home?
The first thing that comes to mind is that I noticed that sushi is so good! It’s pretty difficult to find a high level of sushi in the prairies, but the Toronto food scene is on another level. Sushi went from being something that was kind of underwhelming to one of my all-time favourite foods!
While many people know you as the 100 Day Busker, you started busking at 14.
I believe the first time I busked was in the Edmonton International Airport 🙂. Thanks to an incredible music program started by a woman named Barbara McGee, I would go in and play for 4-hour time slots and it quickly became my full-time job, sometimes playing daily for two time slots back-to-back.
I don’t think I have ever done something willingly for 100 days, let alone something as intense as 100 days of busking. What were some of the highs and lows to doing it that long?
The lowest low that comes to mind was when my favourite acoustic guitar cracked down the middle after taking it out during one of the early days in a snowstorm. I had it repaired but it still doesn’t sound the same. Other than that, the hardest days were when my voice was tired, or I being actually sick and had to go out anyway.
The highs outweighed all of that by far though! The biggest high was the sense of the support from the community of Toronto. It felt like the city rallied behind me and the energy grew every day right up until the end. It was something that engaged me with the Toronto music scene daily. Different label reps, producers, dancers, film makers and other creatives would walk by and start a conversation with me. Actually, it led to me having 5 different record deal offers by the end of it, which felt amazing!
Did you learn anything about yourself during the process?
Absolutely! The biggest lesson was that people appreciate me for who I am naturally. I came into music with quite a passionate approach. I was misguided at a young age by a few people in the industry who had a very specific idea of what I needed to do in order to be successful. Busking daily taught me a beautiful truth: what resonates truest and deepest with the artist will be what resonates truest and deepest with their audience. At one point I thought that I had to always play upbeat pop songs to be received well or I thought it had to be power ballads that had me singing at the top of my range. In truth, people gathered to listen most often when I played the music that I felt closest to at the time, no matter the style or genre.
I wanted to give a moment to talk about L’Arche daybreak. They were the organization that you were raising funds for during your busking performances. Can you tell us a bit about who they are, how you got involved, etc?
L’Arche is an international organization that provides loving communities for people with intellectual disabilities. My family has been a part of the organization since I was very young. The cause is something that is very close to my heart. I’ve noticed that people are commonly quite uncomfortable around people with intellectual disabilities. There are many misconceptions about some of them. In this beautiful time when there are so many important conversations happening around social equality and supporting individuality, I wanted to lend my voice to help spark a conversation around this group that would likely not have the means to start it for themselves.
The biggest thing that I am hoping to help spread is the deep love that surrounds this community. In my experience, the core members of L’Arche have more to offer me than I could return. Especially in the way of teaching me to love and be loved. Sitting around a table in these communities, I have always felt valued for who I am beyond titles, money, and material. If there’s only one thing that I could have people take away from the message that I am trying to help shed light on, it would be to ask that they give people with intellectual disabilities as much of a chance as they would give anyone else to become valuable members of their lives.
You newest single ‘Only Pieces of the Truth’, has just exploded. Last I checked the video alone has nearly 300k views on YouTube, and it has only been out 2 weeks? What was it like to see that just explosion of growth and love?
It feels incredible to see the growth and to feel the support around this video. When I released my first two singles, I was amazed by a bunch of dancers who I had never met who were choreographing incredible dances to the songs and I knew that I wanted to collaborate with some of them for my first official music video. It especially means a lot to me to see the continued support from the dance community and beyond!
You self-produced your debut EP ‘’Only Pieces of the Truth’’. What are you hoping to convey to the listeners, and what do you hope they walk away feeling?
I hope that this music takes people to a peaceful, healing place and that it helps them feel more comfortable to be vulnerable with themselves and the people they love. I hope to see these songs become theirs as much as they are mine.
What is something you wish you had known in hindsight throughout the process that you would have maybe done differently, or prepared for differently?
In some ways I wish that I had had the courage to self-produce my first body of work right from the beginning. I have always been comfortable as a songwriter and performer. A highly respected member of my record label told me that I was a great producer that I had the confidence to pursue the project on my own. I am looking forward to collaborating with other producers in the future. It really feels right to be starting with something that is purely representative of who I am with all of its successes and imperfections.
My favorite quote I have heard from you was “It [music] was just like English, it was how you communicate with the people you love.” Coming from a musical family, you have been playing music for your whole life, how has music affected you and your family?
Some of my favourite memories are of improvising ridiculous songs with my family. Drumming on pots and pans while doing the dishes and of listening to my uncles, aunts and grandparents sing in five-part harmony around a campfire. It was a huge part of my life before I ever had judgements about what it meant to be good or bad, and that gave us a freedom not only as musicians, but also as people living together. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything.
There are some very heavy folk Influences in your sound. What are some essential artists that people should listen to get a better feel for you? Folk or otherwise?
I think the most influential albums of my life so far have been:
- ‘Every Kingdom’ – Ben Howard,
- ‘22 a million’ and the self-titled ‘Bon Iver’ – Bon Iver,
- Channel Orange – Frank Ocean,
- Continuum – John Mayer and more recently,
- Leif Vollebekk’s entire catalogue.
Somewhere in that mix you’ll find my sound 🙂
Obviously with 2020 being the way it was, what was it like playing virtual shows for you?
I’m still trying to find a way to enjoy performing virtually. More than anything it just makes me miss playing for people live! It’s the energy that resonates through a crowd of people who are all participating in or connecting to a live performance that really made me want to pursue this as a career in the first place. I can’t wait to feel that again!
With the new EP, and with limited capabilities of planning for the future, what is next for you?
Without the ability to play live, I have been recording a ton and actually have another EP that is almost fully ready to release! I’m hoping to get it out there soon after the first. I am also working on a unique livestream show that is unlike anything else I’ve ever done before, which will hopefully be happening in April.
Obviously, we covered a lot. What is one thing you wish that people knew about you that you never get to mention?
I guess I don’t really wish that people knew this about me for my own sake, but I feel like it would be positive to expose the fact that I’m really unsure and anxious sometimes. I have a feeling that most of us probably are, but we never really talk about it. Feeling like it might be a healthy conversation to start having, just so we know we’re not alone.
What are your self-care and healthy coping mechanisms that are helping you stay grounded this winter? (And you cannot cheat and say music!)
Haha being creative really has been crucial! But beyond that, making time for family has been huge. I haven’t had a chance to spend this much time with family since high school. If there’s one reason I’m grateful for COVID it’s been a chance to reconnect. The other thing that comes to mind is just staying active. As soon as the basketball courts shut down, I had to switch to hockey. I’m really enjoying falling back in love with that sport again.
Lastly as a lot of our favorite independent and smaller businesses have been hit hard this Covid season. What are some of your local favorite places to hype up and give a shout out to?
Thanks for this, what a great idea! In Toronto, Busy Bee Vegan is my #1!! I am not personally vegan. I can honestly say that meat products or not, Michala Brasseur has made all of the best meals that I have ever tasted. It sounds like I’m being paid to say this but I’m honestly not. I just can’t stress enough how incredible this person is at what she does. I didn’t know it was possible to enjoy food that much 😄 check her out on IG @busybeeveganmeals.
Spotlight – Jordan Hart is a wrap. Big thanks to Jordan for taking the time to chat with us
Check out Only Pieces of The Truth out now
Keep up with Jordan right here
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