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The importance of Jordan Ward’s latest project

Talking about the things that need to be talked about, LA-based indie singer/dancer Jordan Ward’s recent project is everything the world needs right now.

He explores important topics of mental health, self-actualisation, growing and imparts life lessons about still having fun and enjoying your youth while you can in his recent project ‘Valley Hopefuls’, thus propelling his career in the best possible direction.

Drawing from his own experience as a freelance artist in LA, he explains the inspiration behind his project,” It was inspired by my time here, in LA, or the Valley specifically. I moved here a few years ago to be a dancer. Just like so many people do around the world every day. A lot of us live in the Valley around Noho and we kind of live similar lifestyles – we cross paths a lot by running in small circles, we eat at the same food spots in the Valley and go to the same studios and live in the same places and I just wanted to make music that paid tribute to that kinship.”

Further delving into the personal importance of the topics covered in the project, Jordan says “ There are only a few things that nobody can take away from you after a certain point in life. Your own peace, your own mental health, your ability to find joy in what you do. So it’s very important, and I’d say it’s critical to make sure you maintain those.”

This positive outlook extends not only to his work but to his own life. Recalling the one piece of advice that keeps him going through tough times, he says,” One thing that I always remind myself about life is that it’s about focusing on the positives. Life naturally is going to have good parts and have parts that are not your favourite, but that’s just life. Life is a balance.

“Everything is a balance. So when I experience moments of struggle or hardship or difficulty, I just remind myself you know life is about focusing on the positives as much as possible. It’s not always going to be my favourite circumstances but what I could have control over is my thinking and the energy that I channel through me. I just want to be positive, optimistic.”

Besides being a beacon of his positive, life-affirming ways for his listeners, ‘Valley Hopefuls’ is also indicative of his evolving sound. On the topic, he says, “When I first started making music, I was only rapping. I was only trying to write bars, and I still do love writing raps and freestyling. Then once I started meeting more musicians and started doing more shows, I started understanding what it’s like to perform a song and what an audience member is experiencing in a show and you know opening my musical palette.

“ My current sound is definitely more musical, and I can attribute that to all the amazing producers and musicians I’ve been able to work with. I also think it’s become more show friendly because I’ve been playing more shows and now that’s in the back of my mind as I make music. I want to make music that rocks a show.”

With that goal and more in mind, Jordan who has already several notches on his creative belt – including being one of the main dancers on Beyoncé’s Homecoming set at Coachella + Documentary and touring world-wide with Bieber as well as achieving
over 1 million streams for the standout single, “Okok (hibachi)”- still has a long bucket list that he has his heart on completing.

He explains,” I’d say definitely playing The Pageant in St Louis, as I’ve grown up going there and going to see shows there and you know it put that desire in me to want to have my own show there one time. I would love to play at the o2 Academy in London. I would love to just be able to go around the world with this. I’d say a dream come true for me would be to work with an artist that has really inspired me from far away — someone like Erykah Badu or Nas or Frank Ocean or Kanye or Drake.

“My boys and I have a company called lamecool, so I would love to have an event that travels around the world, allowing us and other people to put our art on a platform that we believe in. Obviously, at any time I’m always trying to move forward, so I never want to stop at one thing, but I feel if I cross those moments in my career, I’ll know I’m doing something.”

As extensive as his list might be, it pales in comparison- and seems very easily achievable- to his list of career highlights. Recalling his most memorable moment, he says,” It would probably be my show at the peppermint club this summer on the night my project dropped. Just because it was my first show by myself, and I felt like a lot was leading up to that moment. And when I walked on that stage and just saw the venue FULL of people.. packed wall to wall. I mean I knew it was already real. I knew I was supposed to be here and do this, but that moment was surreal for me and very affirming. I need to do this. It’s what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.”

With wise, well-thought-out answers to every question, Jordan exudes a calm energy. But he knows how to have fun if the message of his popular single ‘Okok (hibachi)’ is anything to go by. He says, “It really just created from fun. From me wanting to have fun and not overthink my creative process. So it’s no real message behind Okok, but I guess the underlying message is just that you know no matter what you have on your plate, it’s all going to work out.”

If this wasn’t enough, his brief discussion of his favourite cartoon is enough to establish his easy-going, childlike nature. Answering what question he’d love to be asked, he says, “I’d say I’d like to talk about cartoons. I wish someone would want to ask me about my favourite cartoon. Then I’d tell you that my favourite cartoons is the Simpsons. Arguably one of the greatest shows of all-time man. Animation style, Classic. The voices, hilarious. I also enjoy early SpongeBob- late 90’s to early 2000’s – before the movie. And oh yeah the lamecool cartoon as well!”

Optimistic, passionate and doing all the right things, all Jordan Ward wants is to leave his mark around the world as one of the best in his craft and he’s definitely on the right path.

Words by Malvika Padin / Photographer by Ricky Alvarez

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