'It's all about refusing to stop'
● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw, Staff Writer
Four years ago, when the Chester County Press first profiled singer-songwriter Jordan White, he was preparing to play a solo gig at the Ugly Mutt in Oxford. There, his voice ached to be heard over the din of a largely indifferent audience, more interested in the contents of their beer glass than in the lyrics of a young man pouring his heart out.
It is now four years later, and that same voice is about to be heard by hundreds of thousands of listeners across the United States. This fall, he will embark on a tour that will introduce him to new audiences along the East Coast.
On July 21, Flexitone Records will release White's "Crazy Girl" single on i-tunes and over 500 radio stations across the nation, as well as include White on a tour of Flexitone artists that will take him to 400-seat venues and clubs from New York to Florida. For White, who will perform at the Four Dogs Tavern in West Chester on July 24, it is the high point in a musical journey that began when he met David Ivory, the chairman and chief executive officer of Philadelphia-based Flexitone records.
"I saw David at an awards show, and afterward, I wouldn't let him alone until I could be able to audition for him," White said. "He eventually invited me to the studio a year and a half ago, and when I asked him what he wanted to hear, he said, 'Just bring your guitar and play.'"
White played six of his original songs for Ivory, and one stuck in Ivory's head. It was "Crazy Girl," and it had the right hook and lyrics that Ivory needed to hear. White went back into the Flexitone studio a month ago and recorded the song, which was mastered by Dann Huff, who has produced albums for Faith Hill, Keith Urban, Rascall Flatts and Taylor Swift.
"It's a song I wrote six years ago while sitting on my bed, and it's about a four-week relationship I had with a girl at the time I wrote it," White said. "It's a trip knowing that something so personal and private is now going to be out there for all of these people to hear. A song is like any type of creative work. Once you get it down on paper and then into the studio, it doesn't belong to you anymore."
For White, 31, who is based in the Lehigh Valley but has played frequently in Chester County, seeing a life-long dream finally being realized is peculiar, he said, but one that is attributable to his own dogged determination. He began playing keyboards in elementary school, and was later inspired by his father's vinyl record collection, where his first influences were Van Morrison, Jackson Browne and Billy Joel.
Throughout his 20s, he played both with bands and as a solo act, performing a play list of his own making that offered a deep look into personal relationships and the hardships he has known. He shared the stage and opened for national acts such as Third Eye Blind. He also advanced through the early rounds of "American Idol" during season 5.
In 2007, White was a finalist in the Lehigh Valley Acoustic Competition and in 2008, his former band KineticBlu was nominated for two Lehigh Valley Music Awards. In February 2010, White's original song "September" recorded with KineticBlu, was selected by Sony Music/Red Distribution for inclusion on a national release of hot new musical acts and is available on Amazon.com, iTunes, Rhapsody, and Napster.
"I've seen so many talented musicians just throw away their guitar and their dreams after being rejected once," White said. "I've been rejected more times than I can even count, but for me, it's all about refusing to stop. I can't stop, and I won't stop. That's what has gotten me this far. I would take someone with 100 percent persistence and 50 percent talent over someone with 100 percent talent and 50 percent persistence, any day."
Analogies are very often the supernatural stuff that we cling to for answers and reasoning, and for White, they have marked the many stops and starts of his musical career. On his way to Flexitone to record "Crazy Girl," he drove through a torrential downpour. A tree collapsed in front of his car while he drove. A bridge that led to the studio was damaged in the storm and closed.
"In many ways, the storm represented the very relationship that I wrote about in 'Crazy Girl,' and here I was, driving through a storm in order to record it," he said. "But I got there. I got through the storm, in order to get to the end result."
Jordan White will be performing at the Four Dogs Tavern in West Chester on July 24, beginning at 2 p.m. The restaurant is located at 1300 W. Strasburg Road, in West Chester. To learn more about Jordan White, visit his website at www.jordanwhitemusic.com.