TikTok Star on the Rise
Out singer-songwriter JORDY on being a new music sensation.
JORDY, the latest in the long tradition of mono-monikered performers in the music world—from Cher to Madonna and Beyoncé—gets up close and personal with listeners on his viral TikTok hit single “Long Distance.” The song, which tells a story about the challen ges of falling for a guy who lives far away, is the runaway song of the season. JORDY has made the most of various viral-video platforms throughout his career, and is poised for stardom. A proud Pisces and out singer-songwriter, JORDY’s infectious enthusiasm and expressive vocals are a winning combination.
The young performer was kind enough to take time out of an incredibly busy week in April to answer a few questions for OutSmart.
Gregg Shapiro: JORDY, I’d like to begin by congratulating you on your thrilling week, beginning with signing your first record deal with 300 Entertainment. What does such an accomplishment mean to you?
JORDY: Oh, my gosh! Thank you so much, I really appreciate the kind words. To me, it means that we’re just going to keep working harder than ever. I’m gonna keep grinding harder than ever, and the hard work doesn’t stop. It also means that we have more people in my corner and we’re expanding the family. There’s going to be more hands on deck getting the music to more ears around the world. For that, I’m very, very excited.
In addition to your record deal, you also performed on The Today Show. What was that experience like for you?
Completely surreal. I grew up with The Today Show. It was one of those moments where my mother is like crying herself crazy. Very exciting for me and my family. It’s really cool to be able to see this little song I wrote on national TV. It’s pretty cool.
Earlier this year, you competed in the Battle of the Instant Songwriters on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, where you won $1,000 and a Tonight Show notebook for the song you wrote, “Wedgie in My Ski Pants.” [Laughs] I loved when you picked up your guitar to sing the song and there were rainbow stickers visible on the back.
Oh, my God! The best part is that the guitar is one of my really good friend Dom’s guitars. She’s also queer, like me. I needed a guitar, and she was like, “Oh, I got you!” She provided! It was perfect—everything I stand for, obviously.
And as if your record deal and Today Show performance and interview didn’t provide enough excitement for one week, your song “Long Distance” continues to grow in popularity. The song is especially notable for the out gay content of the lyrics. How important is it to you, as a gay artist, to share your identity in your work?
It’s essential—there is no alternate option. That’s how I’ve been doing it from the start. I was lucky enough to come out at an early age and have a super-supportive and loving family. I grew up in the Chicagoland area, and felt really at home and welcome. I want to use that voice for those who feel that they don’t have the power to speak out yet.
I’m really glad you mentioned your family and their support. While you were still a student at Glenbrook North High School, you and your mother did an interview about your coming out that ran on the Your Teen magazine website. Can you please describe what that experience was like for you?
Oh my God! I haven’t thought about that in a really long time, actually. My mom is the best! She is a huge reason why I am where I am. I think we had this opportunity to write this article from each of our perspectives. It’s special to have such a close relationship with her. Her validation and support is definitely the reason why I’m so comfortable being who I am. I’m very lucky. She is the absolute best.
“Long Distance” already has an irresistible dance beat. Is there a remix in the works?
Yes, there actually is. There’s a remix out right now by one of my favorite DJs, Luca Schreiner. It is on Spotify, Apple—wherever you listen to music. It’s very fun, and perfect for the dance floor.
Speaking of dance floors, what would it mean to you if “Long Distance” became popular with DJs spinning at tea dances this summer in gay hot spots like Key West, Provincetown, and Fire Island?
Honey, go for it! All the way! That’s why it’s there. Please, by all means. That would make me the most happy.
When things return to normal and Pride festivities resume, would you perform at a Pride festival if you were invited to do so?
One million percent! I was supposed to last summer, and then COVID happened. We’re very excited for Pride events.
Were you scheduled for L.A. Pride or somewhere else?
I was doing L.A. and San Diego. We were excited, and then everything happened. So we’re excited for Prides to start up again. I think that’ll be like a really great time for all of us to get together and have a really good time.
I agree. When do you think your fans can expect your full-length album to be released?
I think they can expect it sooner rather than later. Maybe this summer! No dates in the works, but we do have an album.
You recently announced 15 fall tour dates, including one in your Chicago hometown. What are you looking forward to most about performing in concert?
I’m so excited. I did my first hometown show at Schubas last January, and we sold out. We will be back on November 27 at Lincoln Hall. We’re growing, and we’re very excited. Hometown shows are always the most special, so we’re looking forward to getting back out.
Keep up with JORDY on Instagram @jordymusic.
This article appears in the May 2021 edition of OutSmart magazine.