Nashville-based pop singer/songwriter Spencer Jordan recently released his newest single “Maroon Five.” With relatable lyrics like “Radio’s silent, my memories turned up so high, and it’s been so long since you’ve been in my passenger side, but I can still hear the Maroon 5 playin’,” Jordan reminisces on summertime love which is sure to tug on nostalgic heartstrings.
Spencer, can you give us a little bio about yourself.
- Born February 21st, 1994 to Ruth and Philip Jordan
- Oldest of 3 kids, 2 younger sisters named Sydney (22) and Abbie (17)
- My dog’s name is Tanner, he’s a good boy, and my cat’s name is Izzy, who is an attention whore. I don’t know the names of all our fish, but our two clownfish are named Kip and LaFawnduh from Napoleon Dynamite.
- Born and raised in Jupiter, FL, and attended the University of Florida from 2012–2017 (GO GATORS!)
- Moved to Nashville after graduation, where I’ve lived since.
- Released my first ever single “Maroon Five” on Feb. 21, 2019
How did you start getting interested in music and songwriting?
My parents were actually leaders on the praise team at our church since I was like a very little kid. I used to color in the pews while they practiced with the band. My first real memory of having a visceral response to music was in church. They put me in classical guitar lessons at 10 because sports just were not working out (and still don’t), and I went from there.
I learned I could sing at 14 at church around youth group campfires, and started getting more confident with it all. I started playing weekly cover gigs and I wrote a little bit throughout high school, but I didn’t really start taking writing seriously until my junior year of college at the University of Florida.
Up until that point, I’d very much done the college thing. I had 2 majors, joined a fraternity, but still got to play 2–3 cover gigs a week solo and with my band at local venues and college parties. Then I wrote my first real song, started my band “Latchkey”, and for the next 2 years of college I absolutely fell head over heels in love with music.
We played everywhere in town, and people started to actually know us and know our songs. The writing was my favorite part, because after 4 years of college, I definitely had a lot to get out, and there is absolutely nothing like singing to a crowd of people singing your lyrics back at you. By my last semester of college, I was focusing way more on my next song than where I would be trying to get a summer internship. So, with my parents blessing, I moved to Nashville after graduation to pursue music and songwriting full time. And here we are now!
How have you grown as a musician since you started?
Other than technically (like being able to hit higher notes and graduating from stumbling through “Time of Your Life”) I’d say the biggest thing I’ve learned and internalized is that old saying “If you’re the best in the room, you’re in the wrong room”. I used to love being the best in my town, among my friends or at school, but now I know I need to surround myself with people way better than me.
Some of my friends just baffle me with their talent and drive, it’s insane. Iron sharpens iron, and the moment you think you’ve made it, or that you don’t have any more growing to do, that’s when you’ve lost. I’ve also just become a much better and more confident performer, and I think it’s because I’ve learned to not take it all so seriously.
Can you describe your songwriting process?
I don’t necessarily have a process, but I will tend to come up with a chorus hook or melodic line or quick concept first, and then that will start me on my way towards writing the song. I think it really depends on whether I’m writing alone or not. If I’m not, I’ll try to find someone who I know shares my sensibilities or at least kind of has what that specific song needs, and we can probably finish the tune in under 3 hours.
If I’m writing it by myself, it could literally take me 3 months or 30 minutes to finish a song, it really just depends. For example, 2 week ago I wrote an entire song in under 20 minutes in the steam room at the YMCA. This week I also finished a song I’ve been working on for about 2 months. If there’s any real process, it’s a process of trying to convey as much of my own reality into the song as possible. If the song doesn’t have at least a little “me” in it, it’s almost impossible for me to get into it.
Where do you find the inspiration for songs?
If I looked at my list of favorite songs I’ve written right now, it would tell you my main inspirations are love and growing up. I can milk one bad relationship, or hell, a bad fling, for years of song content. I’m currently milking one currently very good relationship to fill up my love-song quota.
For a really long time as a kid, I used to think nothing would ever happen to me. I didn’t have any major life changing experience, no love or heartbreak, and so I wrote about friends, things I’d witnessed but not experienced. Until I was 21, I didn’t think I’d ever really have anything to write about.
Then life punched me in the face and every awesome and horrible thing I thought I’d never experience was crammed into the last 4 years. So, my writing is really inspired by attempting to make sense of all the things happening around me and inside me. As with my new single “Maroon Five” a good amount of my songs look at a certain emotion I’m feeling through the lens of a thing that I love, connect with, or shaped me in some way. A band I loved as a kid, a TV show or movie, superheroes …. (I’m a huge nerd). So yeah, relationships, growing up, Spiderman, the usual inspirations.
We all have songs that connect us to memories. Is there a particular Maroon 5 song memory that inspired your new single?
I can name at least ten Maroon 5 songs that I can assign to very specific memories. When I hear “Harder to Breathe” I’m 13 and sitting in the back of a MasterCraft on a lake in Tennessee watching my friend wakeboard. When I hear “Just a Feeling” I’m driving myself and my younger sister home from high school on US-1.
For this song, though, most of the imagery and nostalgia came from their song “Beautiful Goodbye” which I listened to a ton during my first few years of college driving around Gainesville, with various people in my “passenger side.” It was the background to a lot of late-night drives on University Avenue, good conversations and some really hard ones, and yeah, the actual imagery in the song of being with someone I loved at the time (I tend to drive a song into the ground until I hate it). Even though “Maroon Five” itself is mostly bittersweet, the memories attached to “Beautiful Goodbye” are predominately positive.
Is there anything in particular that you’d like people to take away from listening to your music?
I guess I just want them to be like “I totally get that.” I never want to write a song that people can’t relate to. I want the listeners to see themselves in my music as much as I want them to get a glimpse of me. I try to be as true-to-life and genuine as I can with my writing. I guess I just want people to know me, and if maybe they’re experiencing something similar, they can listen to my music and think “someone gets it.”
More times than not, influences tend to bleed through. What artists have consistently inspired you?
I feel like I’ll get in trouble if I don’t say Maroon 5 …. just kidding, everything they’ve done has very much been a part of building my musical identity. I still think “Songs About Jane” is one of the most perfect albums of all time. The biggest influences for me though have definitely been John Mayer, Jason Mraz, and Jack Johnson. They wrote (and write) in a way that just made me feel like I knew them. It made me want to write songs like that, songs that a stadium of people just absolutely felt and believed and related to and screamed out because it was true to them. I swear I used to know every song by them when I was 16, and their influence still shows up in my writing.
Over the last few years my tastes have really expanded too, though, and I started to incorporate styles of some of my favorite artists like Quinn XCII and Hoodie Allen. I love the marriage of what I loved growing up and the people who are inspiring me right now.
Any pre-performance rituals?
My soundcheck song is “Hit Me Baby One More Time” for every single gig, because I like messing with people, and I don’t know if it’s really a ritual, but for every gig I like to wear a shirt with some kind of fruit on it. My favorite is my banana shirt. Also, when I got my first college gig, my mom told me to always drink a beer before I play to loosen myself up a little. I still follow her advice, but I’ve since graduated to whiskey gingers. Thanks mom!
With whom would you sing your dream duet?
This is a ridiculously hard question. I have an extensive list. But another one of my all-time favorites, really formative bands growing up, was Paramore, and I think Hailey Williams has the absolute best voice and just seems like such a cool person. So, I will say Hailey Williams of Paramore. Hailey, if you’re reading this, we should hang out sometime!
What are your favorite music venues to play in town?
Alley Taps on Printers Alley, the bar that I played my first ever writers round at 2 days after I moved here, and that I now run writer’s rounds at. It really feels like home to me, and thankfully home has a great sound system :P I also really love playing on the rooftop of Pancho & Lefty’s Cantina downtown. When the weather is nice, its honestly stunning up there with Bridgestone Arena in the background. I also love it because they were the first place in Nashville to hire me as a musician, so there’s some sentimental value there.
And while it’s not in town, I would not be the musician I am without The Swamp Bar & Grill at the University of Florida. That front lawn is my favorite place in the world, and that place pretty much made me who I am as a musician AND person. I’ll also give a shout out to the High Dive, where I played so many full band shows and really learned how much I love making and performing music that was fully my own.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
It’s less advice and more of a life motto, but one of my best friend’s grandfathers used to tell her that, “We never really grow up, we just have to do a little play-acting every once in a while.” She gave me that little nugget of wisdom while we were sitting at the beach in my hometown after my senior year of college. It really hit me and kind of validated my struggles regarding trying to be an adult. I feel like I’m in a constant struggle to reconcile the kid I was with the man I’m becoming, and that has really stuck with me over the last few years. I’ve even started incorporating stuff I was super into as a kid into my writing.
When you’re not performing what do you like to do?
I’m a huge bookworm. I love to read, the kindle app on my phone is my best friend. I read the entire Harry Potter series every year. I also really enjoy going to the gym, it helps me stay focused since I’m pretty ADD and honestly, other than being healthy, it just really calms me down. If I actually get the chance to, I love playing ultimate frisbee and ping-pong. I have yet to lose a game of ping-pong since I moved to Nashville.
I’m also an absolute super nerd so you can catch me watching or reading anything related to superheroes. Shows, movies, comics, you name it, I did it, or am doing it currently. I also just bought a Nintendo Switch to play the new Super Smash Bros. game in my spare time. Falco is my character of choice. On top of it all, I just love movies and TV. My friends and family hate to talk about them with me because I can get really into movies and critiquing and am pretty opinionated. I just love stories, especially when they’re executed well.
If you were driving cross-country and could only bring one CD, what would it be?
Hands down John Mayer’s “Where the Light Is” album, no question.
1) John Mayer at his PEAK.
2) Its long as heck, so there’d be less turnover.
3)There are so many different styles and sounds on that album that on a straight listen, I wouldn’t get bored sonically, and I feel like I get something new out of those songs on every listen.
4) JOHN. FREAKIN. MAYER.
5) “In Your Atmosphere” is my actual favorite song of all time.
If you weren’t singing, what would you be doing?
I’d probably be following another of my dreams, which is writing. I’ve always wanted to be an author, and totally still plan to be, but right now music is taking the focus. Since I was a kid I’ve dreamed up worlds and story lines and characters, and I’ve grown up with these stories I’ve created. I have whole series in my head that I’m just waiting to fully realize on paper, and the older I get the more I really start to flesh out the people I made up when I was 12. So regardless, I’d be doing something I love. I think I’d also really enjoy being a film, tv, or literary critic, too. No matter what I think I’d be within spitting distance of something creative.
A movie of your life is being filmed — who are the leads?
I would want Timothee Chalamet to play me to make people think I was way more attractive than I actually am. Also, I know it’s not in the question, but I would want Christopher Nolan to direct it. He’s my favorite director and he does such cool things with time in his films that I bet he’d do a kick-ass job. Also, I would want the screenwriter to be Amy Sherman-Palladino, who is the main writer on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” which is one of my favorite shows of all time, and has the absolute best, funniest, and most well executed dialogue I’ve ever heard.
What are the five things you can’t live without?
1) I’ll start off basic and say my phone. My whole life is on it. Aside from actually contacting people, it has ALL of my notes for songs and concepts and voice memos. And don’t even get me started on music. I’m always listening to something.
2) You’re gonna roll your eyes, but y’all I freaking LOVE my Air Pods. I know they’re a joke and a meme, but I got them as a gift a year ago for my birthday and they changed my life. I thought they were the dumbest things until I started going to the gym with them and there were no wires to catch. Absolutely magical. And as I said, I’m always listening to something. I hate myself for it, but, yeah, my Air Pods definitely.
3) SOBE Citrus Energy. You know, the drink with the lizard on it? Yeah, I’ve had, on average, one a day since I was 14. It’s actually a personal constant that I think everyone in my life knows about. I’m absolutely addicted. And I’ve never even had a different flavor, just the citrus energy. Someday I’ll probably reach out to them to see if they’ll sponsor me or something.
4) Dad jokes. Bad Puns. Whatever. It is so deeply ingrained into my being to comment on things with puns or really cheesy jokes that I really don’t think I could exist apart from that aspect of my personality. I get this sick satisfaction from a good hearty group groan after you drop just an absolutely God-awful pun.
5) My mom’s Taylor guitar. I learned my first song on it (Sweet Home Alabama), and played some of the most impactful shows I’ve ever played with it. I’m not out here winning any best guitarist awards, but this guitar has been with me since it was literally bigger than me. I’ve played it my whole life and at every stage I’ve been at (and on! haha). Logically I know I’ll play other, better guitars, but I just don’t think I could ever leave it behind.
If you were granted one wish, what would you ask for?
This isn’t very body positive of me, but I really wish I was taller. Mostly for logical reasons, like I’d finally be able to see at concerts, and that top shelf really is a BITCH. So yeah, I’d wish to be taller, 6 ft. sounds nice. Hit me up if you find any old lamps that need rubbing.
What’s in your musical future?
This is such a fun and terrifying question, because I’m currently in the process of figuring it out for myself. I’ve been so overwhelmed by the positive response to “Maroon Five”, and the general consensus from listeners has been “yes, we like this, please do more!”
So what listeners can expect from me is at least 2 more singles between now and August, and after that I’m even already thinking about concepts for a potential EP. And it’s not so much in my future as it is a fun goal, but I really hope that somewhere down the line Maroon 5 actually hears the song (and DOESN’T sue me)! So yeah, 2 more singles for sure, and then we’ll see what happens. And since I just put everyone in their feels, it looks like I’m gonna have to put out a bop next!
Maroon Five Lyrics (S. Jordan & M. Gardner)
Why do I why do I why do I keep holding it?
Just because it’s in my head don’t make it real
Tryna find, tryna find something to get over it
Cuz what I know can’t change the way I feel
Radio’s silent, my memories turned up so high
And it’s been so long since you’ve been in my passenger side
But I can still hear the maroon 5 playin
See your right hand swayin
out the window
Closing your eyes
Takes me back to watching white lines blurring
Laughin while you’re slurring
Messing up the words every time
And even though I know that I’m fine
I can still hear the maroon 5
And even though we’ll never be right
I can still hear the maroon 5
Another night, ‘nother bar, ‘nother drink another one
I don’t wonder where you’re at or how you’ve been
Then a new song hits every time I think I’m done
And this love it takes a hold of me again
And I know the way back, but I know that it leads me nowhere
Even though the collateral damage ain’t worth the repairs
Maroon 5 playin
Your right hand swayin
White lines blurring
I wish I never heard it
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