There’s something about Jordan
Credit: SYDNEY MCARTHUR
Jordan Raycroft, a singer/songwriter from Welland, is currently based in Guelph and still geeking out over his first Juno nomination.
Above all, he remains humble.
Jordan Raycroft, a Welland native and fresh University of Guelph grad, grew up around music. With a mother with a “phenomenal” voice, singing in church and being enrolled in piano and drum lessons at young ages, it’s safe to say music is in his DNA.
“I never really recognized I had a voice until I got asked to join the musical in high school because they were short [some] guys,” he said. “Through the [experience], I got comfortable singing in front of people.”
Raycroft took his father’s guitar with him to his dorm room at the University of Guelph where he started to learn the basics and played covers, and he eventually started writing his own songs.
“In high school, I won a set of microphones ... I ended up winning these microphones that I would later use to record my first demos – songs that are now on the album,” he said.
He took his demos to the open mic night on campus. The host was coincidentally booking a show for Peter Katz, a singer/songwriter from Toronto and asked Raycroft to open.
“That’s how I got my first gig. I played my first gig for 100 people and it was such a rush,” he recalled. “I remember after it thinking, ‘Man, I’ve got to do this again.’”
“I recorded two demos that I used to sell at shows. I actually felt bad for selling them to people because they were such bad quality,” he laughed. “Once I started reworking some of those songs, I had an idea of what I wanted to put on the album, but the opportunity never came up...I did not see how I could have time to make an album or [have] the financial resources.”
Raycroft ended up being connected to a fellow churchgoer in Guelph who had a recording studio in his home. “I remember thinking, ‘Oh yeah he’s probably just some guy who has Garage Band in his basement.’”
“I went over to his house and it was actually a studio in his basement. Far better than any Garage Band kind of stuff – just awesome space,” he said. “I didn’t go over there thinking I would actually come up with a track list...but the conversation just went to the point where we wrote down a track list ... and I left.”
“At the end of the conversation I was like, ‘I guess I’m making an album.’ We set up our first studio time from there and I just started going to the studio.”
When it came time to record, he needed $10,000 to produce his debut album, Jordan Raycroft, and as of February 6, Raycroft still had $300 left to pay off.
Jordan Raycroft was released in April 2013 and quickly became a favourite amongst moms.
“When it first came out, I had a lot of people emailing me telling me that their moms like it ... got a bit of a niche there,” he laughed. “People have been supportive.”
His debut has garnered notice from award shows, but being recognized as a nominee in the Juno Christian & Gospel album of the year category takes the cake.
“I’m hoping with this Juno nomination, we can just take it to the next level, and by ‘we,’ I mean my band and I,” Raycroft said. “Just playing more shows, opening for bigger names.”
Raycroft said being nominated for a Christian category doesn’t mean listeners have to be Christian to relate to his songs.
“I’m a Christian, so obviously it’s going to come out in my personal life and my songs,” he explained. “My songs are written from personal, real-life experiences that anyone can relate to. I just happen to be a Christian writer.”
His faith trickles into his music, from writing something meant to be a worship song to influencing his compassion for justice issues like human trafficking.
In the end, he hopes listeners can relate to his songs.
“I just hope they can connect, I think it’s so important ... for a lot of people, music is such a fantastic way to relate your experiences, no matter what you’re going through,” he said. “I think a successful song allows someone to feel as though that song was written about them.”
Raycroft is hoping the Juno nomination will open doors.
“I’d like to play more shows ... We’ve got a music video coming up, and there’s definitely going to be some touring coming up,” he divulged. “I’m hoping the Juno nomination will pull some weight and get us on some festival bills.”
The Juno Awards will take place in Winnipeg on March 30 and voting ends March 28. In the meantime, Raycroft’s debut album Jordan Raycroft is available for sale on iTunes. To stay up to date, follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/jordanraycroftmusic.