J. Gordon is an LA based songwriter / artist originally from Dallas, Tx. Gordon grew up singing in church and school choirs and began formal vocal training at fourteen. He was extremely interested in English and creative writing as well, and spent a lot of time reading and writing essays and poetry. After graduating David W. Carter High School, Gordon went on to study vocal performance at the University of Texas at Austin. His love for music and the written word collided when he got his first professional songwriting opportunity with Warner Music Group. Gordon began pursuing songwriting professionally after that experience. After graduating, he relocated to Los Angeles and built a name for himself by writing for independent artists and releasing writing compilation projects. Gordon recently signed his first publishing contract with Blackspace Music Group and is gearing up to make some huge waves in the music industry.
One on One with J. Gordon
Who are you?
This is always the hardest question. Well I am a songwriter / artist / vocal producer / vocal coach from Dallas, Texas. I wear a lot of hats lol! I’ve always loved music. I have been in school and church choirs for as long as I can remember. I fell in love with the written word when I was 14. My English teacher gave us this poetry assignment that I knocked out of the park! From then on I had been infatuated with how things are said and the various ways in which to say the same thing. My two passions married each other in college when I got my first professional writing opportunity with Warner Music Group. I remember just being so obsessed during that experience. I would be sitting in class so anxious to get home and finish writing. I studied music at the University of Texas in Austin and after graduation threw caution to the wind and moved to LA to pursue songwriting professionally. I had the typical LA story, leaving Texas with $700 in my pocket, the matchbox room in COMPTON I was renting was $500 and it took about $180 in gas to drive my now deceased Ford Mustang out here. But somehow God pushed me on through and I survived off prayer, hope, and my dream. I’ve lived in LA for about 4 years and have recently signed my first publishing deal so I’m finally getting to do what I love professionally.
Where are you from?
Born and raised in Dallas, Texas
Do you think your upbringing has contributed to your style as an artist/songwriter?
Oh absolutely! Growing up my parents didn’t really allow me to listen to anything that had profanity in it so I was always searching for music that said all the taboo things I wasn’t allowed to hear in ways that flew under my parent’s radar. Through that I just fell in love with words. My friends will tell you to this day that I constantly flip phrases and words and will find a way to say the same thing in 20 different ways, one more interesting than the last!
Describe the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome as an artist?
For me honestly it’s been insecurity. Its been me not trusting my gift. It kept my mouth shut and me out of the room on a lot of instances. Falling in love with me and trusting my spiritual wellspring of creativity was the best thing that could have ever happened to my career.
How have you developed in your career?
I trust myself more. I believe in myself more. I lived such a doubtful life for so long. Not feeling good enough or attractive enough, or feeling like everything that someone else did was so much better than what I had going on. That was the vein of my existence for so long. It took years of prayer to break free from those lies I was living with. Now I walk into a space with so much humble confidence and my work commands
attention. I know I am valuable, I know that my superpower is that there isn’t another me. I may not write like Sevyn Streeter but guess what, Sevyn can’t write like me and that’s powerful! That’s when the magic happened. When I fell in love with my own gift and saw the value in simply being me.
How do you navigate the music industry?
I fly way under the radar. People know me mainly for my work and honestly that’s how I like it. I love being that unexpected ball of light that walks into a session that nobody expects to be amazing, and then boom, two hours later I’ve written you a hit and somehow become your new bff lol. But honestly though, I simply try and move through this industry with all the love, light, and God that I can, and trust that to provide me with what my idea of success is.
What’s a typical day like for you artistically?
So typically I wake up at about 5am. I do my 5-10 minute meditation, 10 minute creative writing exercise, pray and then drag myself to the gym. Workout and then come home and cook while I listen to random playlists on Apple Music and Tidal. I keep my notebook near me because if I hear a clever line in a record I’ll flip it somehow and then jot down the idea that stemmed from hearing that line. After that I go in to the studio and write the day away!
What inspires you musically?
I’m inspired by literally everything I hear, be it conversations or melodies. I’m like a human tape recorder, I store sounds in my head all day long. Then when I get into a creative space I just experiment with it all until I shape it into something that I like.
When do your ideas come to you?
It weird but I have to be in a creative space in order to create. Like trying to write at home is very challenging for me. I find it extremely hard to focus. But when I’m in the studio I have to fight off all the ideas with a stick lol. I can come up with fragments, or lines for things when I’m just walking around doing life, but they don’t really begin to take shape until I step into the studio.
What is your favorite song you have written and why?
Oh my God, do you know how many songs I’ve written? I’d never be able to answer that lol! Honestly, and I think every songwriter would agree with me on this, my favorite song is whatever I wrote recently. As of late, I’ve been working on material for myself as an artist and I am truly in love with what I’m creating because I’m finally saying the things I want to say and the message is powerful and honest. But I’ll have a session tomorrow and be obsessed for the next few days with whatever we create in there lol. So my favorite is always going to be whatever my latest masterpiece is.
What’s your favorite piece of music and why?
I honestly don’t have a favorite. I’m an extremely progressive listener so once a sound is old to me I really don’t revisit it.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
I know it’s cliche but it is hands down the queen, Mrs. Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter. People don’t realize the musicality that goes into her work. Since I vocal produce as well as songwriter, I’m always listening to what’s happening around the main vocals and how they’re contributing to the work as a whole. The vocal intricacies that are in Beyonce’s music are literally groundbreaking! She is a musical genius! Next would have to be Jazmine Sullivan. Her writing is pure genius and I love how she creates separations in her music primarily with her voice. The beat will literally just be a loop but we have undeniable hook and verse separation. Its brilliant and a little magical lol!
Which artist would you love to collaborate with and why?
I would love to work with Jazmine Sullivan I think her writing is brilliant. I’d love to do some stuff with Jhene Aiko, Brandy, Chris Brown, Ariana Grande, and Normani. I just love writing for really controlled voices. It makes it where melodically I can do whatever I want.
Where can we expect to see you in 5 years?
At my celebratory party after winning my 5th Grammy!
What’s your idea of success as an artist/songwriter? When will you feel like you’ve made it?
When we are really dealing with something painful in our lives at some point we all have the “go in my room or my car and find that song that says exactly how I feel and sing at the top of my lungs and let it all out” moment. I always wanted to be the person that facilitated that healing. I want to pour all of my pain into a work that lets you know that you’re not alone in your experience or your feelings and the fact that I’m still here after it is proof that there is life, love, peace and joy on the other side of it. So success for me is simply knowing that my music is reaching the masses and that it is getting people through things that they otherwise wouldn’t even talk about to people. Knowing that my work is facilitating that healing is a win for me. I’ll know I have made it then and I did what I created and gifted to do in this life.
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