Jordana Nye doesn’t mince words with her latest, eponymously released LP Something to Say To You – but musically, it provides a soothing and intimate experience, with its lightly-sung melodies and anecdotal lyrical compositions, manifesting an auditory sanctuary to listeners. The Kansas-based bedroom pop artist explores relationships, coping mechanisms, and the search for happiness through the lens of a 19-year-old creative. In her own words, the album compiles “messages to people mixed with storytelling” and is an illustration for her progressive path in music production.
Mesmerized by music from an early age, Jordana naturally picked up a wide range of instruments, from the keyboard to the violin to ukulele and guitar, kicking off her musical journey essentially as a one-woman band. Her allure for alternative rock and indie folk music sparked the urge to make use of her instrumental skills. In her early years, tunes from groups like Grizzly Bear and Vance Joy regularly vibrated through her “chunky headphones, sitting on the bus” as she remembers. Consequently, over the course of three years, Jordana avidly covered songs from her favorite artists with her ukulele and guitar in hand. “In 2018, I just decided to try and make something of my own,” Jordana remembers. “I didn’t think I could do it – I was like, I’m not interesting, I’m just taking all of these other songs and playing them. But I was like, there has to be some originality there, there’s got to be something – little did I know I would be here.” The young multi-instrumentalist went on to play and collaborate with fellow musicians she encountered on Twitter, including members of the local Wichita group The Cavves while also touring with indie-pop group TV Girl.
Jordana soon began cranking out self-produced tracks and plastering them on the vast music library of Soundcloud, swiftly catching the attention of NYC-based record label Grand Jury Music. After she was signed, Jordana began reamping her sound, in collaboration with producer Jeffery Melvin (aka MELVV). She says that her existing work, ability, and potential was intensified through the guidance of experienced talent. “My creative freedom really is pushed out working with Jeff, because he knows what I’m capable of… It’s refreshing. I know that I’m there to work on my music and to focus on that, and these people are kind enough to take the time to help me,” she explains. “I was so in this headspace of recording on my own that I had to make something perfectly suitable for me, or else I wouldn’t feel proud of it, like it wouldn’t feel worthy. [It’s] fucked up that your brain tricks you out of working, and out of going to the limit that you can actually go to. But yay! We’re here now.”
Something To Say To You is the artist’s second album, initially released as two EPs – Something To Say on July 31st and To You on December 4th. The album follows Jordana’s self-released 2019 debut, Classical Notions of Happiness, also re-released by Grand Jury earlier this year. The rapid onslaught of music serves as an example of the artist’s progression, in particular with the combination of these two EPs. Something To Say To You demonstrates the musician’s development, flowing from a minimal, harmonious sound in her early discography to a more complex one with the incorporation of experimental elements and genres throughout the production process.
Jordana carries on with coming-of-age themes in this latest release, which has been a continual theme in her work – sharing stories inspired by events in her life and laying out her own emotions and internal thoughts. Each song tells a different story as the artist navigates the world from her perspective while also indirectly aiming personal notes to significant people in her life, yet it’s as relatable as if reading an excerpt from one’s own journal. “A lot of the songs on this LP are messages to people I know personally, but it’s not direct. There are negative aspects of it, like ‘Fuck You,’ but also positive ones like this,” Jordana explains, pointing to her pittie mix comfortably lounging next to her. Her furry friend was the inspiration behind “Interlude,” and also appears on the cover of “I Guess This Is Life,” released as a single in October this year.
Diversity is also evident in the album’s mix of sounds. Continuing to take a folk-pop approach, Jordana manages to intertwine different styles from a variety of genres. Songs like “Hitman” and “Big” let out some frustration with distorted guitar riffs and grunge-like motifs, while “I Guess This Is Life”, “Reason,” and “Forgetter” suit a more floaty, meditative state. The simple drum beats and airy echoing of Jordana’s vocals singing, “I couldn’t tell you in words how I’m feeling” in “I Guess This Is Life” offers a great sense of comfort despite her uncertainty, while the track “Divine,” takes a more upbeat approach, with its bell-like percussion suitable for jamming out to.
Whatever sonic notion of Jordana’s work attracts fans, her music offers a form of escapism from the unpleasant realities of our world. Multiple coping methods are conveyed within the lyrics of “I Guess This is Life” as she lightly sings, “the burn of a cigarette with a good, good friend – it made me forget.” The reliability of coping mechanisms is also hinted in “Forgetter” with the lyrical phrase, “I just want to feel better – I want all of these thoughts just to mellow out.” The musician’s narrative lyrics coupled with the delicate twangs of her musical expression soothes audiences into a tranquil state, providing a form of therapy for all.
“I really saw my music from that perspective,” she says. “Going into the studio and getting those emotions into a song – it’s therapeutic.” The album is both intimate and personal, but speaks to a variety of individuals on myriad levels. “As far as my discography now, I think I might have something for everyone,” Jordana says. “That’s my goal pretty much… figuring out the big mystery of life.”
As for the future of her music, Jordana expects to stay within the realms of folk while incorporating a bit of classic jazz styles, finding inspiration in artists like Nat King Cole and Bob Crosby. Driven to create music inspired by her own introspective thoughts, more narrative approaches can be expected in her discography to come.
“That’s going to be all of my music, just writing about life. I don’t know how to not write about that,” she says. “I’m just giving all I’ve got and putting it into one place and hopefully people like it or find comfort in it.”