Listen to “Wyd?”
Spencer Jordan is a pop Singer/Songwriter from Jupiter, Florida. After graduating from the University of Florida in 2016, he began his songwriting and artist career in Nashville, Tennessee. Jordan’s music is a mixture of the music he listened to growing up in his small beach town and the prevailing sounds found in today’s pop, and his writing focuses on the everyday struggles and victories that come with life, love, and growing up.
How has your classical guitar training influenced the music you write?
I wish I retained more of what I learned when I was younger, but I guess what learning classical guitar really left with me was the ability to read music, really solid relative pitch, and a love of finger picking. Lately I’ve actually been writing a lot more in that style, in the sense that I have a few more quiet and intimate finger picked songs, that really utilize what I learned as a young kid. Hopefully we’ll be hearing one of them, “Kryptonite”, sooner rather than later!
You’ve mentioned using songwriting to ‘get out things’. How difficult is it to perform the lyrics you’ve lived?
Great question! A lot of songs are an amalgamation of experiences, sometimes not even all your own experiences, like my current single “wyd?”. They’re easy to play out because regardless of song quality or emotion in that song, they’re not exactly bearing your very soul in front of an audience. I have a few songs, especially lately, that I either wrote by myself over time or were basically full on therapy sessions between my co-writer and I. (spoiler alert, I was the one laying on the couch) and they are some of the most special songs I’ve ever written because they are not only what I consider some of my favorite songs in my roster, but they are 100% true to me.
That being said, those songs that are taken almost word-for-word from experience are actually my favorite to play out. Maybe its because Im surrounded by incredible people here in Nashville who really promote emotional honesty in music, but I actually get more in the zone and feel like I’m more of a legitimate artist when I get to play those songs in front of people. A bop is a bop is a bop, but when you have the chance to write and play something genuine and specific that has the potential to relate to people, that’s a really special thing and one of my favorite parts of being a songwriter.
How did your music evolve during the time you fronted the band Latchkey?
Latchkey! Full disclosure, I think less than a handful of my friends here even know I was in a band in college, much less that we released music. I have to give so much credit to that band and my bandmates, though, for the musician and performer I am today. Up until then I’d been a solo acoustic kid, and being in that band taught me about how to collaborate in music and really communicate what I was looking for sonically to other people.
One thing then that is still true now is I wanted to surround myself with people who were better at what they did, than I was at what I did. I had a lot to learn about music and the business and I learned it from my bandmates. I’d say my main takeaway was learning to not only accept criticism, but love it and use it to become better. I also learned to stop writing 6 minute emotional ballads…
What was it like hearing your songs in the film “What Happened Last Night”?
At 22, I have to tell you it felt like we were famous. Looking back now that was hilariously not the case, but it gave me my first real look at recording music and working within a time frame. That whole process showed me the side of music that was more business than art, and that’s an important and equally interesting side of music that I’ve grown to become very interested in. Fun fact, the director of the movie ended up using the title of the intro song we wrote, “New Dogs, Old Tricks”, as the title for the Amazon streaming show based off of the characters from the movie!
What degrees do you have from the University of Florida?
I have a Family, Youth, and Community Sciences degree and an English degree, and was aiming for law school. Both degrees are basically glorified drink coasters at this point, but I am blessed to have been able to study my two favorite subjects, writing and people!
What field of law would you have pursued if you hadn’t chosen a career in music?
As I said, I love people, and I love working with kids. I was a youth intern for my church for a few summers and was a camp counselor for every summer throughout college. If I had gone into the law field out of college, I would have studied family law. It’s a high stress low reward job, but I always liked the idea of being an advocate for a demographic of people (kids) that couldn’t advocate for themselves.
Backstory for “Wyd?”, your follow-up single to “Maroon Five”?
This song is a lot like the chocolate chip cookie, or my youngest sister, in the sense that it was a very happy accident! The idea of a “booty call” isn’t exactly uncharted territory as far as songwriting goes, but I think that so much has changed in dating, especially with people my age, that there are so many new and interesting ways to broach the subjects of feeling used, confused, or unappreciated by someone who you’ve caught feelings for. The “Wyd?” or “U up?” text has almost become a parody of itself for my generation and is heavily associated with the rise in dating apps, and there’s just so much to play with lyrically there which is what drew me to the idea in the first place.
I had the idea for the hook of the song for a long time but kept attaching it to very mid-tempo, kind of sad boi songs that I was never passionate about enough to finish. Then I had a co-write with Levi Burwell, Joey McCarrick, and Cody Johnson, and Levi played the baseline and sang what is now the first line of the song and I just knew this was the perfect place for my song concept. It went from a contemplative and emotional song to an upbeat and funny anthem for anyone who’s ever been on the receiving end of one of those texts.
It’s a pretty universal concept, and we learned in the process of writing that this was something Levi was having personal experience with at the moment, being left in the no-man’s land of an undefined relationship. I say that because (and I’m going to get in so much trouble for this) that same girl we wrote about was, unbeknownst to me at the time, one of my best friends! The story has a happy ending though, because they started actually dating a short time later and are super in love haha. The funniest part about the whole thing was before they were dating I used to have her sing the song with me because she’s so great at harmonies, which I later learned was DEEPLY uncomfortable for her. Oops.
An instrument you’d like to learn and why?
This is going to sound bad, especially after releasing my last single “Maroon Five” which is very reliant on piano, but I’m actually objectively not good at piano and I really want to start taking the time to learn. I just released the video for “Maroon Five” and my scenes are all just me singing and playing keys, which was funny because I literally had to learn the chords to the song 10 minutes before the video shoot! It’s such a beautiful instrument and I definitely write differently when I’m writing with keys instead of a guitar, so yeah, piano is my next instrument to learn!
What do you enjoy most about being a musician?
It HAS to be whenever all my friends from home ask me why I’m not famous yet….kidding! I joked earlier about not really utilizing what I learned in college, but that’s not all true. My favorite thing about music is my favorite thing about life in general; People! I get to be constantly surrounded by like-minded people who are, at best, growing together and building each other up. My best friends are my co-writers are my therapists are my best critics and there can be bad aspects to that, but I’ve mostly just seen the postive. My favorite part of being a musician is the people, those within the business who are figuring it all out next to me, and those who we do all this crazy stuff for a.k.a. The drunk dudes in the back of the bar yelling “FREE BIRD”.
What songs are on your current playlist?
I’ve been listening to so much music right now, but I’ll throw you my top 10 as of today!
You mentioned you’d be a writer if you weren’t in music, any new beach-reading-worthy books you’d recommend?
So I think I’ve mentioned before that I love fiction, especially the best of the YA genre even though I’m a little over the age demographic at this point. My favorite books right now are probably:
The Illuminae Files- Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
The Red Rising Saga- Pierce Brown
Lockwood & Co Series- Jonathan Stroud
The Night Circus- Erin Morgenstern
Scythe- Neal Shusterman
So has SOBE contacted you for an endorsement?
Not yet, but I’m crossing my fingers. I’m honestly drinking one while answering these questions. I’m pretty sure I’m the sole reason that company is still in business. I can truthfully say it is a dream of mine to be sponsored by them and get a lifetime supply of citrus sobes.
And what are you currently working on?
This is exciting because the last time we talked, I was honestly on the fence about what direction I was heading and was still waiting to see how “Maroon Five” would be received. That release ended up surprising me and everyone involved with how well it did, and I am proud to say I’m in the process of producing two more singles off this project that will be released within the next few months! After that is blank, but I have an idea of where I want to take this thing. Lets just say I’m saving my best…
On a technical level, I’m working on getting my live show up to snuff, and I would love to start playing legitimate shows in and outside of Nashville. My goal for 2020 is to play at least one music festival, and I’m really hoping its “Sunfest” the music festival in my hometown that I grew up going to every year. Hopefully with 4 singles, a music video, and a practiced, full-band set, I can start making real moves as an artist soon! I’m so excited for the next few months and honestly a little overwhelmed, but I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.