All photos and interview by Rita Plante
I had the opportunity to chat with up and coming indie pop artist Jordana Nye before her performance at Firefly Music Festival. She opened up about her struggles with alcohol, confidence and performance anxiety, and how working through those challenges has improved upon her work.
How did you get your start?
I started playing violin when I was 9, I was in an orchestra throughout grade school and I expanded and start playing ukulele and then went to guitar. I started writing music in 2017 and then released it in 2017. I moved to Kansas for love and then I released my own album there, then I got picked up by my managers and my record label. Then I moved to New York, and now I live there and I tour now.
Are you excited to be at your first festival?
Yeah I am. It’s really cool to see behind the scenes, it’s just how I expected it would be, like just people kind of minding their business doing PR work.
How would you say your most recent album, “Face The Wall,” is different from your last two, since this one is your debut studio album?
It’s definitely fuller production, and I get a second opinion with the other person I’m working with, he understands my vision, it’s more polished.
How has touring been this year?
I just got off a tour supporting Local Natives, I did a headlining tour earlier this year, and before that was with Wallows, and now I’m doing Remi Wolf next month, I’m really excited about that.
What are some of your favorite memories from tour?
I got stung by a scorpion. I think it’s my favorite because I get to tell this story. I think I carried it from Texas in my bag because I was in Atlanta and I put my bag on the ground and I opened it up because I was gonna grab a jacket I was gonna wear for the show that day, and then I picked it up, I felt like a sting, and I was just like, “what the fuck, there must be something in there like a tac,” so I threw the jacket on this air mattress that we had, and then I opened it up and there’s a fucking scorpion that’s just like right there on my jacket. I screamed and I was like “no way, I just got stung by a scorpion from my bag.” This was something that would only happen in a movie. I ended up being fine, but I was freaking out.
So, you’re going on a UK tour, are you excited for that?
Yes I am excited, I mean another festival, we’re knocking out the festivals. It’s gonna be fun, I actually don’t know how I’m getting round yet, I’ll figure it out I guess.
What are you most excited for on your first UK tour?
I’ve been to the UK, but I haven’t played there. I am excited to go back to this one Ukulele store called “Duke of Uke,” in London. That’s gonna be fun. The food in London is really nice they have vegan cheese at Pizza Hut in London. I had it last time I went in like 2018. I’m just excited to go shopping and eat good food. It’s gonna be a solo tour, which I’m kind of scared for.
How would you describe your inspiration and how you formed your style in your musical performances?
I have a lot of influences, recently I’ve had a big obsession with Aldous Harding. She’s like, everything I want to be. She’s so cool and just does weird shit and does whatever she wants. So I just want to do whatever I want and have fun with it.
So you moved to New York City, how did that change your song writing or influence your artistry?
Well I definitely get to work with people more in the studio, collaboration wise. Before that, I was doing it alone and I had kind of a problem with self worth where I was like, “if I’m going to create something with somebody else, it’s not gonna be mine anymore.” I had a big problem with that, but now I’ve worked with so many people I’m just at the level where I can still call it my creation, just because somebody is helping bring it to life, doesn’t mean it’s not mine, it can be ours.
What advice would you give an up-and-coming artist who is struggling with a confidence in their work?
As dumb as it sounds, just do whatever the fuck you want, that’s kind of what I did. Just try to make sure that you would listen to it and that you like it I guess. Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s lame or whatever because when does that help anybody’s case, worrying about that shit. Just do whatever the fuck you want, make it weird. Make it real weird.
So you’re going out all these tours with a whole bunch of different acts like Local Natives and Remi Wolf. How has going on tour with them influenced how you perform on stage, or how your art has changed being around these different people?
My first tour ever was last year with TV girl, that was a solo tour for me, I played bass in the band after I would open up for them, and that was a big test to limits, I guess touring wise. Like a personal thing with limits with performing and alcohol. That was a really big thing, I’m sober now, I’m fully sober. I don’t know how long for, I mean it got pretty bad. I feel like this past year, not that it was a bad tour, it was a fucking amazing tour, it’s been nice to know that I can not rely on alcohol to play and not be anxious. It’s been a big part.
What have you found to help with that and be a more healthy way to deal with that performance anxiety?
Just focusing on performing the best I can and not overthinking everything right before I go on stage, which is really hard sometimes to do still, I get really anxious. Usually, I would just drink a little and be fine, but then I would get fucked up and be like “oh oops, I’m drunk again, I’m hungover again.” Yeah so just not overthinking about the crowds or whatever, mostly focusing on sounding the best that I can sound and having fun. I’m really focused on just having fun now because I’m gonna get real fucking sick of it if I don’t make that my main priority, and that’s scary.
What have you found to be your favorite part of performing?
Shredding, doing the solos, but sometimes I fuck them up.
Nobody can tell.
How are they gonna know, nobody’s gonna know.
So you’ve made a lot of your projects solo, how has the process been of finding a band and starting touring, not just on your own?
My teams great, it was mostly with people that I had recorded with during my first visits in New York to record albums and songs. I thought that it would be kinda hard to put a band together, but honestly in the scene in New York, it’s kind of easier to find people who have mutual friends with really talented people who you are just like “hey would you go full on with this.” I got blessed because I’m with people that I’ve worked with from the start.
Is there anything big coming up that you can tease?
I have a new EP going out that I’m very excited about. I’ve got some tunes on there that I really like and am really excited for people to hear.
What is something someone who has never heard your music before need to know about you?
I’m a vegan, I’ve been a vegan for like almost 8 years now and no I don’t miss cheese. I have a dog named ducky, he’s a Chihuahua and he’s really cute. I’m not related to Bill Nye the science guy, as much as it pains me to say, even though my last name is Nye.
So you’re hanging around the fest today, are you excited to see any sets?
I am, I want to stay for Haim because I haven’t seen them, and I was fucking obsessed with Haim when I was 15, like I had my hair down to here, like “yeah sisters, sister rockers yeah.” After being obsessed with them for so many years, I really want to catch that.