Jordan Adetunji "For me, it means they're listening. A lot of the stuff I'm doing is alternative. So hearing it on radio stations gives that confidence that I'm starting a new wave, and I'm starting to put that stuff that wouldn't typically always be on radios onto them. It makes me happy because it means I'm doing something right now."
In a short time, Belfast-based artist Jordan Adetunji has gained the respect of legendary artists, including Bring Me The Horizon's Oli Sykes, and tastemaker support, including BBC Radio 1 and Huw Stephens. Having signed to RCA records with a blessing and introduction from Mr. Sykes, Jordan has been making waves unapologetically.
HATC: So why not start from the beginning? Tell me a little about growing up and where music fits into that.
J: So I was born in London and lived there for about 10 years before moving to Belfast. I started music at about 15, 15/16, but I was playing instruments. I started playing trumpet in school. I was doing great in that and learning classical music. Then going into drums around 18, it developed into rap. I wasn't always allowed to listen to rap in my house, so I heard many soundtracks in my video games, like Need for Speed. I was put into grime in the early days, but that was more of my cousin's taste. I had a family friend who got me an iPod, and he put all of his favourite music on there. So whatever was on that was all I knew. So those songs that I grew with in the early days, were like Drake and J.Cole.
HATC: I love the mixtape throwback, which felt biblical. The true mixtape era we had growing up. Did you end up doing orchestra when growing up training classically?
J: I did I was in the school band playing trumpet and learning many pieces. It helped me read music, so I developed that skill from doing that, which was quite good.
HATC: What inspired you to move into different genres and push the boundaries of your music.
J: My obsession with alternative music helped me push back. I was listening to alternative music like early Bring Me The Horizon. So many times, they had a significant shift in their music. Everyone would be used to what they were doing, and they would change it again. It made me think, I can do that.
HATC: Have you found that you're most comfortable pushing these boundaries?
J: Yes, I love it. That's why I still make music for me as well as I make it for other people. I need to make it for myself. I want people to go through the sounds I go through with me. So it's more of a journey than just doing the same thing. I want them to feel my creatively and how I express that.
HATC: When you write your music, are you focused on yourself and your experiences?
J: It's always something that's happened, something I've felt in my head at the time.
HATC: Tell me about your latest track and the writing process of what's behind the track itself.
J: So it dilutes what's going on for me. So just putting down a rough or calm feeling, sample, something scratches your brain. So it's about putting down an upbeat type of thing. I often do an acoustic version on SoundCloud, so when you break it down, you can see and hear what I'm saying and how raw it is. It's overpowering and has a vibe, and I love doing that.
HATC: You've been signed to RCA, which is great because they're a great label. I hear on the grapevine that there was a nod from Oli Sykes regarding putting your music right in front of them.
J: It's really crazy. When it first happened, I was like, damn. He commented on a track, then I put up another one, and he commented again. He was taking in what I was. That's a big thing, that someone I look up to and actually listen and talk about, you know, likes my music.
HATC: Seeing someone you look up to and their response must have been a dream. And for them to put it out there to people. I'm guessing it's similar for you that you want to make music where people look up to you and aim to produce something with the same effect.
J: 100%. I want them to relate to that in their life. Everybody goes through things, so to put that down and have somebody relate to it feels like something is resolved in my life.
HATC: Do you feel pressure hitting the right note, literally and metaphorically, with people.
J: It's art at the end of the day. And it's subjective, so I feel like only some people will like everything you do. So, at the end of the day, if I put out something, whether people take it in or not, that's how I felt. That's how I wanted to express that feeling or that thought.
HATC: It's a healthy boundary. Speaking of influences, what effect, over the years, have fans had on you and your confidence in yourself and your art.
J: Even my influences go into many creative aspects, from visual elements to performances. I love that because it's like having a character sort of image. That's why I've always looked up to Ollie. Even people like Jaden Smith, I'm really inspired by his creativity, work, and albums.
HATC: He is so explorative of his music. You've also had enormous feedback from not only radio one but other publications. How does it feel to see that?
J: For me, it means they're listening. A lot of the stuff I'm doing is alternative. So hearing it on radio stations gives that confidence that I'm starting a new wave, and I'm starting to put that stuff that wouldn't typically always be on radios onto them. It makes me happy because it means I'm doing something right.
HATC: As we close, what's on the horizon for you or something you'd love to do?
J: Definitely headlining a big festival. It's more about creating a culture around what I'm doing. So more than anything, it's not just a big moment or award. And being a pioneer of something that's the thing that will make me the happiest because it means that I've created something that other people can do as well.
HATC: And when is your next track out?
J: I have a new single out on the 23rd, and I'm bringing another one in July. So you'll also see a lot more stuff, creativity, and videos.
Photography Shamaal Bloodman