Soul-inspired singer and multi-instrumentalist dishes on new album, his beginnings, and hopes for the future
Last year, Jordan Rakei released his debut solo album, Cloak, and a dance floor-driven EP under alias Dan Kye. Over the course of that time, the singer and multi-instrumentalist showed he’s been more than ready to make a name for himself in the music scene. Now, he has returned with a new album, Wallflower.
Blending soul and R&B with electronic sounds, the New Zealand-born, London-based artist wrote and recorded his second album in the immediate wake of a 10,000-mile move to London from his hometown of Brisbane in Australia, where he had lived since the age of three. On the LP, Rakei steps confidently into his own, marking his most self-assured and thoughtful release to date.
ARTISTdirect caught up with Jordan to discuss his new album, his variety of hometowns, and where he hopes to be a year from now.
Hello – Please introduce yourself.
I’m Jordan Rakei.
Where are you right now?
Sitting in my lounge room, with crazy jetlag.
Please name your fellow band members and their roles… oh, and who has the best dance moves?
Jim Macrae (Drummer), Tom Guy (Bass), Sheldon Agwu (Guitar), Imraan Paleker (Guitar + Keys), Ernesto Marichales (Percussion).
Tell us about your new project: Who did you work with? Where was it recorded? What’s it about? Is there candy?
I recorded and wrote all of it at Old Paradise Audio. That’s my drummers studio. It was pretty much just him and I making it. It’s about dealing with my anxiety and commentating on how it manifests into different parts of my life…
How do you describe your music to new friends?
I usually joke and just say it’s deep…Haha, but seriously I probably consider it Alternative Soul.
How did you first meet, and where exactly did you become a band?
I met them all when I moved to London. Literally a few weeks in, my drummer Jim messaged me and wanted to jam. From there, I met Tom and then I brought in Sheldon. We’ve been playing together ever since.
Other than Jordan Rakei, what should your hometown be known for?
I sort of consider three places home for different reasons. I mean my parents are from Tokoroa and I spent my first years there as a child. Then I moved to Brisbane where I lived until I was 21, however I now consider London my hometown. I feel like this city resonates with me the most and usually when I leave, I can’t wait to get back.
Please look around you right now and describe the first item or person you see that’s significant to you (and your relationship with it/them). Can we see a photo?
I see my sippy cup…Haha it enables me to get moisture to the back of my throat so that I can keep singing with a healthy voice for the rest of my life!
What first inspired you to pursue music? If it was a musician or a specific piece of music, please tell us all about why you find it so inspirational…
I think hearing the guitar solo on Bob Marley’s – Waiting In Vain. That really had an effect of me and I’ve loved music ever since.
What’s the best advice anyone has given you about pursuing a life in music?
Don’t compromise early on, and work hard. It just takes time. The more you spend making music…the better you will get. Don’t worry too much about technical ability. Worry about writing songs and learning how to produce for yourself.
Not including your current crew, who (alive or dead) would you love to have in your van for an all day drive from gig to gig?
Dave Chappelle or Hannibal Burress. Those dudes would make eight hour drives go by…
What song best sums up your life right now?
Hmmm. Bob Marley – Jamming.
What is the best reaction to your music you have experienced so far?
Playing in LA just recently, the crowd was amazing. I still can’t believe I managed to get fans like that on the other side of the world.
Take a moment to dream – Where do hope to be a year from now?
I hope to be writing my third album and still living off music. I’m living the dream now!
What’s your next step towards that dream?
Finishing touring Wallflower and then cracking on with writing next February…!