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Louise Jordan at Ort Cafe, Balsall Heath - Interview

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
Event: -
Singer returns to Birmingham for a double date
Singer/ songwriter/ musician Louise Jordan is launching her third album, Veritas, with a UK tour that visits the Ort Cafe in Balsall Heath on October 10. She returns to Birmingham on October 29 to support The Old Dance School at the Red Lion Folk Club in Kings Heath. She took time out to answer some questions.

What are your Birmingham/ Midland connections?

I studied law at Birmingham University and had a number of jobs during the three years I was in the city, in pubs and bars, from the Black Horse in Northfield to Bar Epernay in the Mailbox. I also worked for Birmingham City Council as a detached youth worker on the Masefield and Chaddesley estates with a team of wonderful and passionate people - I am still in touch with my manager. My brother also studied and now lives in Birmingham with his family and I stay over whenever I can when performing in Birmingham.

Louise Jordan
Reflecting on her UK tour: Louise Jordan


How did you become a professional musician?

Working as a professional musician is certainly not for the faint-hearted and is something I went into with my eyes wide open. I have always used music in my work – I was previously a teacher, although not a music teacher, and set up a choir in my first school in the East London Docklands. Music has always been my first love. I stumbled into my first folk club in my early 20s, shortly after qualifying as a teacher. Despite much prodding from staff and students to go on X Factor(!) I decided to set up as a full time musician and to see where this path would take me. Nearly four years later, I am still enjoying the ride.

What are your musical influences?

I draw lots of influence from classical composers like Debussy, Bartok and Handel. Where'er You Walk from my new album is an arrangement of an aria written by Handel. I play both piano and guitar on each of my three albums. The piano reflects my classical training from the age of eight, whilst I didn't pick up the guitar until I was 17 and learnt to play by ear songs I heard on CDs such as Simon & Garfunkel, the Seekers and Carole King.


Louise Jordan
Classical influences: Louise Jordan


What influences your writing and how do you choose which tracks to record?

I am increasingly conscious of the world around me. I am currently based in the New Forest in Hampshire and I run/ walk/ cycle in the forest which is beautiful and diverse, so nature is a significant influence. I am also inspired by human resilience and in our ability to adapt and survive. I have worked with a diverse range of people as a teacher, youth worker and education project manager for the homelessness charity Shelter, from refugees and asylum seekers to young runaways, and I currently deliver music workshops for young adults with learning disabilities which has been one of my most rewarding experiences to date –the unique abilities we all have and the way music can help us to communicate is truly amazing. Each of my three albums has been focused around a concept and that is determined almost subconsciously by events in my life. It is really a very natural and organic process for me. For example, Veritas is Latin for truth and is also the name for the Roman goddess of Truth who was the mother of virtue but who was at times hard to find. The album came at a point when I was coming to terms with the importance of being honest with myself and within certain relationships in my life. The songs are a range of empowering and reflective songs, as well as songs which tell other people's truths and question how we find out the truth on occasions.

What has been your career highlight?

Supporting Ralph McTell at Worcester's Huntingdon Hall was a joy. After the concert I introduced my dad (who had introduced me to Ralph's music many years ago) to Ralph who told my father that HE thought I was a talented musician. To see my Dad beam with pride was priceless.

Mirror image: Louise Jordan


What are your plans when your current tour is completed?

I will have a little time to catch my breath whilst I plan more performances for 2015. I will tour in Germany in April 2015 and again in the UK in May. I am currently working on a commission with a local arts centre which will see me researching some untold stories of women through different centuries. This appeals to the social historian in me and follows on from the song Lovey Warne, which I researched for Veritas, about a feisty female smuggler from the New Forest. Dates are coming in for October 2015 and into 2016 when I will be performing this new material. I hope to get time for more music workshops as this helps me focus on the broader value of music aside from performance. I am also interested in writing music for theatre and film.

What can we expect at the Ort Cafe gig?

I will be mainly playing songs from Veritas which include original and empowering songs as well as reflective and challenging songs, original settings of literature to music and my own take on some traditional folk songs. There is always room on my set list for requests and some of my favourite 'older' songs.

What is the best and worst thing about being an independent musician?

Having creative control to choose the music I put out is very rewarding and it ultimately places responsibility at my door. Travelling around the country and in Europe is a fantastic way of life and I meet some wonderful people who support and appreciate what I do by coming along to gigs, buying CDs and putting me up in their homes. It's a lot of work and people often comment it must be a lonely lifestyle but I really enjoy it.

What words of advice do you have for those wanting a career in music?

Try it if you think you can make it work. Don't regret not trying. Set your own measures of success and make sure you realise when you have achieved them. Be proud of what you do.

If you could choose one musician to guest on your next album who would it be, and why?

Carole King. Her album, Tapestry, made me want to write songs that connected with people.
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Why? New album launch by thought-provoking singer.
When: October 10, 2014
Phone: 07845 083 322
Where: Ort Cafe, 500-504 Moseley Road, Balsall Heath, Birmingham, B12 9AH
Cost: £4
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