Jor’dan Armstrong Bridges His Influential Sounds To Share A Message of Hope & Love & More
The evolution of Gospel music is known to shift from generation to generation. But of course, we still come across those who are baptized in tradition and do not want a lick of change. Although these sentiments are held near and dear to many hearts, more and more artists aren’t phased at all. We see this in new releases that are influenced by Kirk Franklin, Tye Tribbet, Mary Mary, and more. It’s like listening to the greats mentioned above and hearing the influences of Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, and The Clark Sisters. It’s not taking away from Gospel music, it’s just adding a different feel to it. I think we can all agree that people love it. One artist in particular who is embracing the diversity of his sound is Jor’dan Armstrong.
The Lousiana native is making strides in the music industry bringing eloquent sounds with a message you can take home with you. From the #1 Billboard song “My God” to his newest release “Call” featuring the incomparable Erica Campbell to over 200 million streams, it is his humble beginnings that are noteworthy. Living in a world where everyone believes that overnight success is literally an overnight success, Jor’dan shares just how much work is put into it. In the interview below, you will get a chance to understand the process of how Jor’dan became who he is today.
Check it out here.
Jor’dan, thank you for taking time out today to speak with me. Many people may not know who you are, so can you give a brief spill on who you are, why do people think you’re amazing, what makes you unique, and why people should like, you know, connect with you?
I love the question of why people think I’m amazing. Uh, I’m not sure as to why they think I am, though, but, I was born and raised in Louisiana. I live in Atlanta now. I’m a husband. I’ve been in Atlanta for about 10 years. I’ve been married for about five years now. Um, I’m just, a lover of all things. Music started real early with me. My mom is a singer and she was also a single mother. I’m an only child. So my mom definitely inspired me musically. She’s sung background for tons of huge artists growing up. And so it was really fun, just kind of hanging around her. And my mom was never the lady who would drop her kids off at someone else’s house or grandma’s house. She took me with her. So I was in the late-night rehearsals and studio sessions at the age of like seven and eight years old. So, you know, kinda saw a lot of this stuff early. And, um, that really inspired me to become the artist I am today. And of course, my roots are in the church. My dad’s side of the family is where all of the entrepreneurs and pastors are. And my mom’s side of the family is where all the musicians are. So it’s kind of like, I had the best of both worlds growing up. It was church every day, all day. Jesus, all day, every day. You know! And music, also. I just felt like I was destined to do what I do. It’s been an amazing journey.
So would you say that the church and your mom’s side of the family, with the musicians, that it bridged what you do today?
Absolutely. At the time I didn’t, of course, I didn’t enjoy the lessons at those times in church all day. I wanted to be a kid, you know, have fun and play. And so, of course, I got a lot of my life lessons in church, um, from knowing how to act. You know, growing up in church, running through the church, a couple of spankings and whoopings is through the church. But I think it was later on in life that I started to realize all of those things that I went through growing up, really helped develop the artist I am today. Yeah. So it really merged those two worlds, just like you said. And, um, I think that’s what makes me stand out as the artist I am because I have both of those routes.
And of course, growing up in the nineties, I’m an eighties baby, but I grew up in the nineties; and had the opportunity to hear sounds of R and B, even gospel music, and hip hop really influenced me and kind of molded me with the sound that I have today.
Yeah, definitely. Before we continue with the music conversation, I want to talk about marriage. You mentioned that you are a husband. So would you say that the foundation you have, is present in your marriage? And how important is it to see healthy marriages and today’s time?
Healthy marriages in today’s time are so important. And I actually love marriage. I didn’t get to see it in my household personally. My mom and father split and divorced when I was two, I believe so. It was literally just me and my mom, but the influences that I saw were my grandparents. They were together forever; still together today. And so I kind of got a lot of my principles from watching them.
My grandfather is this old, stubborn, stubborn guy, you know, so some of that stuff I even inherited. So I have my ways at times. But I always wanted the union of marriage. I love that. And I always knew I wanted to get married once. I wanted to make sure I made the right decision with whoever I chose. And it’s been amazing, man. My wife is like, literally my best friend. I know people say that all the time, “this is my best friend, blah, blah, blah”. I didn’t ever think I would marry her. We were really friends first. I told her so many things about me. I would go on dates and she was like, “how was your date, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah”. And I’m telling her things. I was telling her some stuff. If I knew this was going to be my wife, I would have never. So I had no idea we would marry. But it kind of worked out in my favor though. We knew each other so well and we took that step to turn it into an actual relationship. It was on fire from there. It was like rockets; the perfect match. And I’m so grateful to have even found her and decided to ask her to make this happen.
Well, congratulations on the five years, and I pray more and more. Um, that’s how it is with, my family. My parents aren’t together, but my grandparents have been married for 69 years now. So yes, it is a beautiful thing to see. And I ask because family is the foundation of many careers. Speaking of career, back to music now, what age did you say that you realized that you wanted to go into the music industry?
I knew early. I felt like I always knew I wanted to do something with it. I didn’t know exactly what. I also play instruments. So I grew up playing in church, drums, bass, and a little bit of piano. And so I knew I wanted to do something musically. And I also sang. So it was kind of weird because growing up I was kind of living two lives. During school, I would say from middle school to high school, no one knew I was a singer.
At school, we would have talent shows. And I’d be like, man, “if I just had the courage to get up there”, like they think this dude is fire, just wait till you see me. I had all of this courage inside my mind, but I never had the courage to really just stand out and sing in front of my friends at school. But one day, the cat got out of the bag. My aunt asked me to sing a solo at church and about three students from my school were there. And so of course, Monday comes around and everybody at the school knows that I can sing now. Then I started to realize the talent that I had, and how to use it, to get things that I wanted. It was on a popping after that. I was like, man, I wish they wouldn’t have found out, but it worked out in my favor.
I like that. And you keep saying that things worked out in your favor, can you explain that little more?
Yeah. Things work out well. Sometimes we go through things and sometimes we don’t understand why and then later the answers are there. You know? Even with the terrible, not-so-good neighborhoods that I lived in growing up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I still learned a lot. I can somewhat understand the language of the streets, because of how I grew up. Some of my best friends were some of the worst guys in the neighborhoods. I learned how to communicate with them back then. And I also learned how to speak to the church mothers and the elderly. So both worlds, both situations helped mold me into who I am and that I can now communicate with anyone. It worked out in my favor because it really changed my life. It made me who I am and I don’t believe things happen by mistake. I believe God ordains all the situations and things, and those obstacles that I went through growing up, even from the places that I lived to schools that I went to, to the people that I encountered, you know, they made me who I am.
Absolutely. Thank you for that explanation. So let’s say you’re around 18. At 18, what did you say you were going to do? You mentioned that music came to you very early, but at 18, was that the moment you knew exactly what you were going to do with it?
Yeah. I wanted to be a producer. Actually, at 18, I had already started selling tracks, beats, and things like that at my school. I told my mom, I wanted to start creating music and she bought me a Dell computer. This was when Dells were on TV every day. I think computers were like 299 for Dell computers. It’s like a long time ago. So she bought me this computer. And I had a friend at school who had a production program on a CD, actually, it was on a floppy disc. Some folk may not even know what a floppy disk is. But it was on a floppy disc and he was like, man, you can make beats on this program. So I downloaded the program. He let me use it and take it home, put it on the computer. And I started making beats and I was selling beats to folks at school. Everybody was going crazy over the beats. So I was like this is what I really want to do. After high school, I started doing it more and I got better and better and better. I got connected with a lot of artists in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and throughout the southern region. And it kind of started to take off for me and then I made my way to Atlanta. I saw that skyline in Atlanta and I saw all of the past artists and producers who do so well in Atlanta, from LaFace records, with Babyface and LA Reed to Jermaine Dupri, Atlantic records, all of these labels, and I knew that Atlanta is where I needed to be. I felt like I could really do this for a living, so yeah. I wanted to be a producer.
You’re naturally gifted but did you also go to school for this?
That’s a great question. I had a best friend who was going to Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was a music major. It was crazy because I never officially became a student there, but I would go to school with him on days and sit in some of his music classes. I’m actually just remembering this. I was sitting in the classes like I was an actual student there. I shouldn’t have even been on campus. But everybody just loved me. They thought I was such a great kid. Nobody asked questions. They just let me sit in the class. And I learned so many things during that time. That’s so crazy. And again, it worked out in my favor because I got a couple of those great lessons from professors and I didn’t have to pay tuition. I’m not in debt like a lot of my other friends who went to college. But I got a chance to go in there and kind of experience a little bit of college life and learn a little bit more about music. But high school was really my place of learning. I had great band teachers and amazing music directors that really took time with me even after school on my instruments. They really helped me.
That’s amazing. So when did your first single come out?
I would say 2008 was my first single. It was released locally at that time. I had big dreams. I had big plans. I had no idea that my living in the city of Baton Rouge was probably a crutch or a setback for me. I thought that once you get your song played on the radio, then everybody starts playing it on the radio. I thought if I could just get my local station to play, then everybody else would play it. But it didn’t work out that way. I learned the hard way. But my first single came out, it did really well locally. It opened up a door for me to open up for a couple of artists at the House of Blues in New Orleans, which is about maybe 45 minutes to an hour away from where I was born and raised. That really launched my career. The House of Blues is such a historic place. People travel from all over the world to come there. I was able to open up for artists in that city; in that venue. I think that’s what kind of put me in the game. I learned that music is a great gift that I have, but it is also a business. That’s where things started to change for me to where I was like, you know, I’m gifted, but I need to get my business straight. So I got a manager; my first cousin became my manager. She was one of the smartest people that I knew at the time. She’s organized. So I was like, you should be my manager. So she became my manager and she helped out a lot because like I said, she was organized, she was on it and she enjoyed doing it. She really helped me get my start on the business side of everything. So shout out to her man. If it wasn’t for her and my best friend, Teddy, I think I probably would have been a disaster.
Wow, that’s awesome. So from local to now having a single with Erica Campbell, that’s noteworthy! How does it feel? Is it surreal?
Oh my goodness. You know, it’s full circle because one of those House of Blues gigs that I was telling you about was me opening up for Mary Mary. I was like, oh my God, we got to kill it. I got my band together. We were rehearsing for like two months straight before the date. And we’re young, so we were rehearsing until three o’clock in the morning because we didn’t have any real responsibilities. Just musicians that love music! And our goal was to give such a huge performance that people can’t forget about. And we killed it! And I just knew Mary Mary was going to be there and see us and tell us how great we were but they weren’t even out there. They didn’t even hear us. I did take a picture with them after the show. But it was full circle to just tell her this story. Her being a part of it this song brought me back to that moment. When I first started back in 09, I wanted to do what they were doing. They were traveling the world. They were making great music.
People’s lives were being changed by what they were doing. They were inspiring people. And I wanted to do that. And so it was just like a really great full-circle moment that we flew out to LA and asked her to be a part of the song. She sang the lyrics that I wrote and she was singing on my track and I actually had a chance to record her myself. So I was on a computer telling her what to do and she was game. It was super fun working with her. She’s an amazing person. Of course her husband, Warren Campbell is probably one of my top five favorite producers. He inspired me as well. And love them as husband and wife; they inspired me.
That is amazing! Mary Mary is my all the time fav girls’ group. I remember hearing them in 2001 on the radio and immediately fell in love. With this new song, is it already out and how can people get it?
Yeah, the song is out. It’s actually doing really well now. We just hit the top 30 on Billboard, radio airplay. So the record is doing amazingly well. You can get it everywhere music is available. It’s entitled ‘Call’ by myself and my sister Erica Campbell, again.
I know you have other songs out as well, and an album, talk a little bit more about that.
So the album is entitled Church Girls Love R&B. First of all, I think the Church Girls Love R&B statement is a fact. As a Christian, people think we don’t go through heartbreak or breakups or divorce, but it’s not true. Even if it’s not a relationship like a husband and a wife or boyfriend and girlfriend situation, it could just be a friend, but how do I get past that? And I wanted to make a project that kind of gave people tools on how to make it through those things while being a Christian. And I didn’t want it to be cheesy, you know? A lot of times there is this gap between R&B/Hip Hop and being a Christian and sometimes it can get a little cheesy. But I felt like God gave me something really special with that project and I want it to tell a story. And if you listen to it from top to finish, man, you can, I think people would definitely enjoy and pull some nuggets from what we created. And it was really fun because R&B is a huge part of me. I wanted to use that R&B sound to get my message across. I feel like God uses me through everything. So Church Girls Love R&B is out everywhere.
And that’s very cutting edge because I don’t, I haven’t heard any music that actually shares a story like that from that perspective, and to be a Christian.
I remember at times growing up that when people had a heartbreak, they usually, especially the lady, would run to some, Mary J Blige or Keyshia Cole because they’re talking about what they’re going through. We Jazmine Sullivan saying, bust the windows out your car. She’s upset and people relate to that. You know what I mean? So I’m like, where’s the message for what you do after that? You know, after you bust the windows you’re going to get arrested, right? So let’s give some people some tools on how to handle the heartbreak or how to handle being disappointed or how to handle not being friends with the person anymore.
Oh, definitely. Yeah. That’s beautiful. I love it already. Will definitely be taking a listen. Is there one thing that you want to leave the readers?
I definitely want to tell people to stay strong and stay positive. You know, in these times it gets really rough. We’re outraged with what has happened in Buffalo. We get upset. We’re tired of being ridiculed and handled the way that we’ve been handled for years and it seems like things won’t change. But keep a strong, positive mind. Find outlets to get rid of any rage that you have inside. You know, I got so upset when I heard about what happened. I still haven’t watched the actual video of it and I don’t know if I can. But just try to stay strong and keep positive people around you. And stay prayed up. Get to know who God is in your life. And be sure to allow him to order your steps.
So I just want to say to all black folks, beautiful black people, that I love you. If nobody else said it. I do. I love y’all. I love being a black man. And it’s been an honor being a black person. There’s a reason why they coming after us. But keep living in your truth!
Thank you! It was so awesome speaking with you Jor’dan. Be sure to check all of his music on streaming platforms today. And follow him on social media @wheresjor_dan