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Jordan Xidas Talks Breaking Barriers as a Gay Artist

For 21-year-old Jordan Xidas, music is a form of liberation. The up and coming star went to college, came out and dropped out within the past two years, leading him to pursuing his passion for music with his brother Niko. The resulting tracks have been better and better pop bops — listen to them on Jordan’s artist spotlight.

Recently, Xidas took the time to talk with POParazzi about his latest single, life in Nashville and breaking barriers as a gay artist. Read the full interview below.

Connect with Jordan Xidas on his official website, Spotify, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

  • Hey Jordan! You just released your latest single, ‘Steam.’ What was it like recording the song?

Recording this one in particular was a challenge. I believe we recorded vocals a few times. The track seemed to call for a quintessential powerful pop vocal, so that’s what I tried to deliver and it took some trial and error. I was definitely pushing myself vocally at the time.

  • When did you first realize you had a passion for music?

There’s no specific moment I remember realizing I had a passion for music, but I have a memory of being probably five or six years old in my parents’ bathroom singing Britney Spears and thinking that I sounded just like her and could probably do what she does.

  • In the past two years, you’ve went to college, came out of the closet, dropped out of college, and started making music with your brother. Which of those things was the most challenging and why?

Hmmm. Coming out was definitely the most challenging, just because it was such a prolonged process (eighteen years minus however much of my childhood I was unconscious). It felt monumental and I still refer to it as the most liberating experience of my life!

  • What’s it like getting to record with your brother Niko? Do you have a particular favorite memory with him from working on the songs you guys have done together so far?

Working with my brother has been one of the greatest joys of my life! It’s seriously such a special situation and I’m so grateful it is the way it is. I always knew if I were to actually pursue music, Niko would have to be a huge part of it, and then all of a sudden I was dropping out of school and he was coming off the road as a touring drummer to produce my music. It’s really felt like fate. As far as a favorite memory – I remember a day or so after I wrote ‘Down Together,’ I went over to his house to lay down a piano-vocal so he could start building the track. The emotion of the song was still raw and he and his wife Megan were in the control room while I was in the vocal booth we built recording a scratch vocal, and there was just a really special energy in the house. When I came out of the booth, they’d both been crying and it just felt special. We ended up using most of the scratch vocal in the final and still refer to Down Together when we talk about trying to capture magic.

  • How has life in Nashville shaped your music? Is it different than Chicago?

Jeez. I’m not even sure how to explain how life in Nashville has shaped my music – it’s been hugely influential. Nashville has been the backdrop for this chapter of my life, and all of the growth I’ve experienced in my three years here has totally bled into my music. I feel like I’ve really come into my own as a person, writer, and artist in this city. Chicago will always be home and I always miss my family, friends, the lake, food, and culture there, but I’m grateful for what Nashville has been for me.

  • What was it like having Spotify feature your song ‘TWILY‘?

Having TWILY featured on some Spotify editorial playlists was a huge victory. I just want to be able to make my living off of music, so to have Spotify promote my music and help me find my audience is invaluable.

  • As a gay artist, is it a challenge to write the romantic lyrics and have them appeal to a wider audience?

Honestly, I gave up trying to “appeal to a wider audience” a few years ago. I used to think that to be successful in music you had to “appeal to the masses”, and in some sense that’s true, but my priority is to make music that feeds my soul, and I think that people connect to that authenticity more than anything. Especially in this new age of streaming, I think any artist making good, honest music will find their fans if they stay the course long enough.

  • More and more LGBT artists, like Troye Sivan and Hayley Kiyoko, are breaking stereotypes and becoming mainstream. Is it exciting to be creating music when the pop music landscape is becoming more and more diverse?

God I love them. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be a gay artist right now. Even the fact that I can call myself a gay artist without worrying about jeopardizing my career is huge. We’re at such a unique point in time where somebody like me is allowed to make honest music and I’m just grateful as hell to have been born here and now, and grateful for all the brave LGBTQ people who’ve paved the way. I’m so excited and honored to carry the baton and continue the work they began. It’s really a privilege and there’s still plenty of work to be done.

  • What other artists inspire your sound? Are there any other artists/producers that it would be a dream to work with?

There are so many. I grew up listening to singer-songwriters like John Mayer, Steve Moakler, and Jon McLaughlin, but also lots of mainstream pop stuff like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Jason Derulo, and Coldplay. More lately I’ve been loving Jarryd James, Troye Sivan, Tove Lo, Astrid S, Lennon Stella, Charlotte Lawrence, and SG Lewis. Working with any of these incredible artists would be a dream!

  • What’s one thing you hope people will take away after listening to your music?

I talk a lot about liberation and I think that’s what I’d like to spread through my music. It took a lot of internal work for me to get to where I am now, and I hope that by creating from this space, others will experience a bit of that liberation for themselves.

  • When you’re not working on your music career, what do you like to do for fun?

Music is definitely at the center, but when I’m not creating I love to spend quality time with people. Deep conversation feeds my soul, so I love talking politics, religion, and health with whoever I’m with. I also love photography, spontaneous adventures, and anything to do with food. Also Mario Kart.

  • With each of your new songs, you’ve grown and shown more and more depth to who you are as an artist. With that said, what are your plans for the future?

Aw, thanks! I’ll be releasing the next single in a few weeks and I’m stoked because it’s definitely the most tender, heartfelt thing I’ve ever written. I’ve cried over it many times and it really is precious to me. I have two more singles lined up after that, and we’ve already started getting the next batch ready! I feel like I’ve really found my style and voice and I can’t wait to get what we’re working on now into the world.

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Written by Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett is the creator and editor of POParazzi. He works primarily in Washington, DC. You can contact him at sam@poparazzi.org and visit his portfolio at sam-bennett.com.

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