Released March 1, 2022 “Beautiful Wasteland” is a culmination of Jordan Frye’s last ten years of being a songwriter, artist, band frontman, and producer. Originally from Southern California, Jordan has been traveling the world, producing and co-writing for musical giants like Welshly Arms, The Unlikely Candidates, Zach Williams, Trella, Royal & Serpent, Tyrone Wells, Mama Haze, and more. Alone in his studio, he returned to his guitar, ready to tell his story. Each of the 11 tracks of “Beautiful Wasteland” takes you on an intimate journey as Jordan shares lines from his journals of love, loss, grief, and solidarity. Channeling the essence of James Taylor, the anthemic heights of Brandon Flowers, and nostalgic sounds of Snow Patrol or Keane, this album is sure to be your soundtrack of the year. Check out the Exclusive Interview with songwriter/producer ‘Jordan Frye’ down below.
2. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
Jordan Frye: My parents quickly signed me up for guitar lessons. The first songs I ever learned was Clapton’s (Cream) “Sunshine of Your Love”, “And I Love Her” by the Beatles, and Jimi Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” – did I mention I was raised by children of the 60’s?
3. Who were your first and strongest musical influences and why the name ‘Artist’?
Jordan Frye: To this day I owe my musical influence to James Taylor. He was the first concert I ever I experienced and still have the t-shirt to prove it. His songwriting enveloped me. I went to the places he was singing about in my mind. The melody coupled with such description. He told stories. He took the listener to locations and I’ve been traveling with him ever since.
4. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
Jordan Frye: Indie Folk Pop. My music is designed for those road trip moment out to Joshua Tree. Hands flying out the window and searching for that unknown destination. As acoustic singer-songwriter I try to tell my story but in a way that’s universal and uplifts the human spirit. You’ll also experienced the more vulnerable and often heartbreaking sides of my story – much like Sufjan Stevens and Damien Rice. Raw. Real. I want my music to be the soundtrack for the adventure ahead – the highs and the lows.
5. For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style, which is known as INDIE?
Jordan Frye: As an “indie” artist I relish the fact that I can dip into other genres and not have my hands tied by a giant corporate label. My wife actually started her own independent label here in Los Angeles called Lauretta Records and it centers around the idea of actual artist development – particularly with a focus on placing songs into tv/film. If I was signed to a major I’d be afraid my songs would be get lost in the machine, competing with A-level artists and marketing budgets. But because I’ve taken the indie route, I’ve noticed a much more enjoyable ride, more control over my music, and more financial reward in the content that I’m making.
6. What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative and entertainment?
Jordan Frye: I believe music should be the impetuous for social change. I wrote a song called “Peace Sign Up” that calls out brothers, sisters, soldiers, and preachers alike to stand up against violence, hatred, sexism – whatever form of evil exists in the world, and replace it with peace. While my most recent album “Beautiful Wasteland” is deeply personal and less “preachy” I do speak the idea of finding “happiness” and “contentment” amidst of world that needs more, more, more. As artists, we should always be speaking to the human condition and trying to make a change for good in our world.
7. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfilment as the amount of work you are putting into it, or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
Jordan Frye: Yes. I’m happy. I’m fulfilled. But I also work hard on my own mental health to create that happiness for myself. Nobody and no one thing can make you happy. I’ve found there’s even a sense of deep joy in the middle of sadness and suffering. You have to find the beauty in the wasteland.
8. Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
Jordan Frye: I do constantly collaborate with others. I was a signed writer to Capitol UMG for years and learned the value of creating things together. I wrote most of this album in the middle of the pandemic, which meant most of my sessions were over zoom. For example my friend Jack Nellis mixed the album and we’ve still never met in real life. He was able to glue the entire album together, including producing and creating the interlude tracks, and he did it all over the internet. Collaboration is key, and it’s important to not let obstacles (like living on the other side of the country) get in the way of the creative process.
9. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music career so far?
Jordan Frye: Comparison. Comparison is where my heart goes to die. We live in a comparing world. All our social media outlets are literally designed to keep us comparing ourselves to one another. I find that when I go dow the rabbit trail of comparison, I feel more sad, more depressed, more anxious. But when I can get off my phone for a day or two, write, create, just be – I’m more freed from the burdens the world tries to put on me. Therapy also helps for those (like myself) who struggle with actual depression and anxiety. For anybody reading this wondering where to turn, I’d recommend BetterHelp.com – it’s been life-changing for me personally.
10. On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or music career so far?
Jordan Frye: My proudest moment in music (so far) was having one of my songs used in a commercial or the CDC during the pandemic. I was a song I wrote for my son on his first birthday, and as a new father I had so many things I wanted him to know. “Mine” was used in the campaign all over the country, and I would get text and email everyday from friends (and strangers alike) telling me how much the song meant to them. You can find the commercial on my website: https://www.jordanfrye.com/tvfilm
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