The Jordan Okrend Experience is more than one thing. First, there is the signature sound, vintage pop imbued with an infectious funky jazz edge. There is also something else. Soulful music with socially conscious lyrics, that has all been but lost in today’s current pop climate.
The North Carolina raised singer/songwriter released his first two EP’s, Unpredictable and Rising Up, between 2010 and 2012 while attending Berklee College of Music in Boston and has been performing extensively throughout the East Coast ever since. Has performed at notable venues such as Rockwood Music Hall, The Bitter End, Smiths Olde Bar, Gypsy Sally's and The Grey Eagle. His 2015 EP World Keeps Turnin was a clear indication that Okrend had thrown his hat into the ring of other soul revival upstarts such as Allen Stone and Michael Kiwanuka. The EP blended the old school with the contemporary while echoing the conscious elements of his musical heroes-Lennon, Hendrix and Marley.
Okrend's last full album, Dance By The Riverside (2017) is a buoyant meditation of the stresses of the modern world, with a distinctively funk and retro soul vibe. IndieMinded says" Okrend’s latest offering delivers in a big way, Soulful vocals in the vein of Amos Lee and Allen Stone, expert instrumentation that includes everything from electric guitars to horns, and meaningful lyrics. "
Since the release of Dance By the Riverside, Okrend has released a slew of singles reflecting issues he sees pressing in the modern world. The upbeat songs Competition(2018) and Higher Mind(2019) speak to a longing for change and self empowerment. The retro-soul feel of How Many Days(2019) speaks to a longing for love that seems elusive. The just released single, Streets On Fire(2020) speaks to the cry for racial justice since the killing of George Floyd and the protests occurring in the United States and around the world. Since 2019 Okrend has been touring the world and currently lives in Nice, France.
Notable Openers :
Crystal garden ft. Boyd Tinsley of Dave Matthews Band
Asheville Music Hall
Jimmy Herring Band
Isis Music Hall
What inspires you to make music?
I think life itself inspires me to make music. I’ve always had the creative spirit in me and from a young age I began to write music and put my observations of the world into songs. Music to me is my essence and I think the world around me inspires me to write. By writing music, I can channel my emotional energy, my inner contemplations and also just have fun with it. Each moment and experience is an inspiration so the best way to capture that is with creating music.
Tell us about this project?
Go My Way is a song that talks about seeing possibilities and positivity in a world that seems the contrary. The world today seems especially challenging, crazy, and full of limitations. With this song I wanted to portray the power of the human spirit in going beyond the darkness of the world and experiencing the true vitality life has to offer. With this music video, I take the viewer on a journey through the subway and streets of NYC to show something can go your way in a crazy world.
Who were your musical inspirations growing up?
Growing up I was exposed to all different kinds of music. My dad listened to a lot of classic rock like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, Van Morrison, Bob Marley. The Beatles became a huge inspiration for me and as a songwriter. In my teenage years, I took a trip to Memphis and it changed my life. I was exposed to soul music in a new way. I began to fall in love with artists like Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding etc. Soul music really inspired me as a musician and I definitely like to channel the soul when I’m singing and performing. I also grew up hearing a lot of Jazz and modern acoustic pop acts like Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, and Jason Mraz. I’ve had so many influences that it all kind of blends together for me and helped to create my own musical style.