Jordan Reimer the 18 year old singer, songwriter, guitarist, performer phenomenon is the next breakout artist in the music industry. She truly is a triple threat as her songwriting has received honorable mention at the Malibu Music Awards (“Jaded Angels’), her acoustic styling was nominated for Best Acoustic at the 2010 and 2009 San Diego Music Awards (youngest musician nominated), and she has a voice and stage presence that captivates every crowd.
Jordan, give us a little of your journey to where you are now.
I started with playing piano when I was quite young, from there I learned flute, and picked up guitar when I was 12. I took lessons through the House of Blues Make an Impression Program in Las Vegas, NV, and started writing songs as soon as I knew a few chords. in 2005 I moved to San Diego, CA where at 13 I told my parents I wanted to play a show, and they told me to go for it. I looked up places to play, contacted Twiggs coffee house, and sent the booker 3 of my songs. He gave me a show. That was March 18th, 2006.
Who has influenced you musically and why?
I have a lot of influences musically, and just keep adding to the list. Although, I am a big believer that whoever you listen to, even if you don’t like them, they have an influence on you. Some of my favorites include Jeff Buckley for his gorgeous/angelic voice and pop-rock sound. Joni Mitchell because she is, to frankly put it, one of the best bad ass original singer-songwriter chicks. Elliott Smith because he can make depressing sound utterly beautiful. Ingrid Michaelson for her girly and quirky lyrics and sound. Jenny Owen Youngs because man that girl is dark and it sounds so good! Right now I’ve got a boat load of Rosi Golan, Gregory Alan Isakov, and Greg Laswell on repeat, as well as Ray LaMontagne, and Britney Spears (everyone needs a guilty pleasure!)
Your songwriting has a delightfully quirky and real quality- no mincing and at times a little whimsical. What do you need to have in a song you write?
I need to have a plot. All of my songs are stories, and most of the time the truth. I’ve always had a hard time writing something that isn’t, ‘real,’ or a happy ending that hasn’t come.
What inspires you to write a song?
Hurt. It sounds terrible but it’s so true. I never write as much as when I’m sad, and I find that when I’m happy I have severe writers block! This hurt of course usually stems from love and happiness at sometimes. I guess that is where you could say the whimsy comes from. A nostalgic, longing, place.
Something maybe most fans wouldn’t notice, your guitar playing is wonderful – spot on rhythms and you sing often in a rhythmic counterpoint – creating a very catchy style. How did that come about?
Well, thank you! I started playing guitar before I started singing, and have had quite a few teachers that got me to a good point. I’ve never been one to over-think my style. I decided when I first started to let it happen how it does. When I first started writing songs, I only knew three chords. My music has always been a medium for me to say what I need and want to say, even when the musical skill set really wasn’t developed. I suppose my style started on a lack of technique, simple and rhythmic, and then I had a great teacher who influenced that technique and helped me turn it into a style.
You do a lot of performing – would you suggest that to other artists as well? Why?
Everyone knows when you’re nervous, but maybe one or two people notice when you mess up. I feel so bad when I see new performers, gazing around like a deer in headlights, their voice getting shaky, and stopping if they mess up. All I ever want to tell him is that over the years I’ve found that not many people actually notice if you flub up a song as long as you keep going.
As far as banter goes, it’s a lifesaver, and really helps me develop a relationship with the audience. If you have a three hour set, you can save your voice if you don’t have to belt constantly if you can talk a few moments between songs. Banter also helps establish rapport with the people watching you. If you can make a room full of people feel like you’re talking to each and every one of them individually, and make them smile and laugh, they are more forgiving and friendly.
Do you pitch songs to others?
I wouldn’t call it pitching, but I think I do. Mostly I send scraps of new songs to friends who tell me what they think.
There is a very poetic feel to your lyrics – do you write poetry as well?
I sometimes write poems, and before I knew how to play music I wrote poems (but I always considered them lyrics, as I’d write harmonies to them that I one day planned on adding music to). But I also just like to write.
Would you give us a peek at one of your poems?
Sure! It’s odd, I’m searching my computer for a poem to share, and I find I’m much more wary of sharing my poems than I am lyrics.
Here is one:
Still the waves of reminiscing would crash over my heart.
Over my head.
I couldn’t stop myself from watching.
From keeping up with his moves.
As if I were his opponent in chess, and every move would affect my own final outcome.
My life or death. My rule, or the fall of my empire.
For years I had tossed out pawns–let his own gobble them down.
For years I didn’t care, but I was getting close to the end.
I was white knuckling the final moments of this game.
Every swift draw of a rook or castle across the board meant everything in those moments.
stolen piece from my dwindling army meant a lesser chance of winning the waging war.
So I watch.
I watch, and watch, and watch, and watch.
And it gets more cloudy, more hazy, more frail.
Strategies lost to his hands.
To his eyes.
To his own.
So I aim for the core.
I send my Queen to his.
But his escapes in time to stab mine in the back.
He saved his Queen as he killed the King. His King.
A position from which he could not escape, and therefore would eventually die.
This is a question dear to me as well as other poets and songwriters. How often do your poems become songs?
Usually they are one in the same. I always consider them lyrics by nature, so I guess all the time!
‘Brian Wilson will never know how you harmonize – so nice.”
I Don’t Want’ is a great example where lyric and music interact in a creative way. The quirky vocal choices make this song memorable and coaxes the listener to listen over and over. Does that come after the song is written, discovered in performance, or do you make those choices in the writing?
It’s a big combination of all of the above. The best way I smooth my songs is through performance. That is where I start to play with it more and more, but I had a teacher who taught me that music should breathe, so that is my one rule. Music is living and it needs dimension and to breathe. Swooping up and down.
Here is a question I have never asked – why do you write and sing?
The only answer is because it’s just what I do. Nobody in my family is musical, and I didn’t grow up around musicians. It was something I insisted on picking up on, and I’m very lucky to have a super supportive family who gave me the opportunity to take lessons, learn, and listen to me while I was in my more rough stages. I sing and write because I can’t not sing and write.
‘You know what they say – you get further with honey anyway’
I love lyrics that are unexpected and creative. ‘Beekeeper and Me’ is a whimsical delight. Would you give us a little songwriter’s workshop on this song.
This song is literally the narrative of a dream I had about a friend who I’ve had quite a big crush on for years, who is with another girl. Both of them were in my dream and he was a beekeeper, and told me I had to be friends with his girlfriend or he wouldn’t be friends with me. This song had to be buzzy and dazed and dreamy, because of the situation. I absolutely have always loved to write in metaphors and clearly this one had to be all about bees! I also love using well known phrases, like the old, “You get further with honey than you do with vinegar ”.
Fun Fact: I say the, “Beekeepers wife” to refer to his girlfriend, but six months later, they got engaged and are now married. I totally called that one!
‘Love hurts and the
truth does too
I wish I could shake the feeling
It’s better with you’
‘Slam the Door’ surprised me. A definite bluesy/country feel growled out and a little gritty. After listening and enjoying the ‘lighter’ offerings this one sold me. So, will we hear more of this cool edgy work in the future?
I love country music, it’s just not a natural writing style for me. I wrote this one when I had a cold, and my voice was edgy which influenced the style of the song greatly. I like writing in as many genres as possible and my songs tend to take after whatever I’m listening to a lot. I hope to get more country-bluesy songs. I think a lot of it is having confidence to belt it out, even if it doesn’t always sound, “Pretty” which is something I’m working on :)
Singer. Songwriter, poet and ….you are a novelist. You have written a novel ‘Love On Lemon Lane’. What is the novel about?
This book is about a young musician new to a scene, who meets another musician at her first show. The two develop an odd sort of friendship, and the main character, Lucy, falls madly in love with the male lead Marshall. The book is their story, and all the ups and downs, secretly written songs, conversations on stage via lyrics (you know that wonderful connection only you and another musician friend could share), the struggles of being a musician joining into a tough scene, and growing up.
What’s going on with the novel? Is it available?
It is available world wide via my website lucyginger.com (free shipping), and Amazon.com, it is $14.95 and comes with a 12 song soundtrack.
What do you think about the music scene in San Diego?
In all honesty I’ve always felt like an outsider. It’s probably because I started out really young and couldn’t hang out with most other musicians. I’ve found a few special people, and a few special places that I enjoy spending time with and at, and I’ve also managed to find some of my favorite stages and coffee to sip while there. There are a lot of talented people.
What projects do you have working? What’s on the horizon?
I couldn’t be more excited to tell you that I have a four song, fully-produced EP in the works. I run away to LA for the weekend sometimes to work with a great producer (Prime Rib Productions) and this is the most proud I’ve ever been of my music. I really can’t wait for you to hear it. I’m also hoping to finish at least one other novel, but those are so much more time consuming, haha!
What do you want your fans and soon to be fans to know about Jordan Reimer?
I want them to know that I appreciate each and every person who listens to my music. When I see a video I post on youtube gets 1,000 it is amazing to think that maybe 1,000 people in this world actually gave me a shot. I also want them to know that I love talking to them so they should add me on facebook as a friend- facebook.com/jordanreimermusic
And I’d like them to keep an eye out for the new EP and snag a copy!
Have a listen to Jordan: