q&A: jordanna

Reported by Jacob Dagit, Staff Writer

Jordanna performing at the Shredded One Year Celebration. Photo courtesy of Wendy Davis

Jordanna performing at the Shredded One Year Celebration. Photo courtesy of Wendy Davis

Beginning as the frontwoman for the Chicago indie-punk band, Glamour Hotline, Hayley Jordanna has officially launched her solo career as a blues singer/songwriter called Jordanna. Combining performance art with emotional verses, Jordanna is heart wrenching and seductive. When performing live she is backed by R&B/Soul Jazz band, 8:33. You can see her perform at a Sofar Sounds event here.


Shredded: I know you have band practice tonight, however from what I’ve heard from your performances as Jordanna you typically perform solo. Why did you decide to start incorporating a band when you already can fill the stage by yourself?


Jordanna: “Yeah, so I started out using a Looper by myself which was new and innovative for myself whereas Glamour Hotline was simple, straightforward chord-work, but I just write naturally for a band structure, ya know? I’ve been playing in bands since I was 15, and I would rather share the stage with other people. It adds different energy to the performance to have someone to work with.”

(Jordanna is backed by 8:33, a local R&B/soul jazz band.)


Shredded: Your music now as a jazz/Blues solo artist is defiantly a far cry from the Riot Grrrl energy that you had with Glamour Hotline. Can you talk a bit about where you draw your inspiration for this new direction?


Jordanna: “Glamour Hotline was a time of growing up for all 3 members. For myself, it was finding my voice, strength, and independence. Musical feminism made up most of my life at that point, but now on the other end of all that is digging deeper into my own experiences rather than my idols. Glamour Hotline songs were often focused on my idols, even our song ‘Carrie’ is about Carrie Brownstein, whereas the music in Jordanna is about exploring myself.


Glamour Hotline was strong independent, outward, etc. but didn’t really allow for a chance to admit to feeling sad, upset, or vulnerable. Being sad didn’t feel very Riot Grrrl. The fact that you are vulnerable sometimes was something that I had to learn at the end of Glamour Hotline, which some feminists find it hard to admit. My new work as Jordanna is about expressing that without feeling weak because of it.


Additionally, I wanted to explore more abstract poetry. I’ve performed at and am inspired by Growing Concerns (a Chicago Poetry Collective) which pushed me to look for lyrics that are beautiful in the way that they are poetry without needing some huge political statement.”

Shredded: I’ve heard your shows described as visual performance art, could you tell me a little bit about what inspires that?


Jordanna: “My first show by myself was about exploring romance and relationships between people. I would get on stage wearing something trendy or whatever, start a loop of guitar and strip to plain, neutral, base layer to get rid of the barrier of judgement based on her appearances before handing out roses. There’s the romantic quality to red roses that I feel like I’ve missed out on in life and I wanted to give that experience to people who might also have never been given a rose before.

People react in so many ways to getting a rose, some will shy away, some will try and shove their way to the front to get one, but of course you give it to the one who isn’t trying so hard. I just think that performances are meant to create intimate experiences between people, and I want to do whatever I can to help encourage that. Whether it’s the roses, or passing around a clipboard with ideas where people can see what different things have been written. It just creates a community.”


Shredded: So, then what is your community?


Jordanna: “My community is, I guess just, within the DIY scene it’s whatever artists are open to collaboration. For instance, the video used every form of art I could get my hands on, was filmed within a DIY space, everything. I just feel like there’s no reason to turn someone down who wants to collaborate, you know what I’m saying? I would not limit even all those art forms I’ve collaborated with to being my community, because my community is ever growing.”


Shredded: Any final pearls of wisdom you’d like to leave us with?


Jordanna: “No matter who you are, if you consider yourself an artist or not, don’t stop yourself from asking to create something with someone. Even if you think they are out of your reach, it never hurts to ask.”


Find Jordanna on Soundcloud or follow her on Facebook. Watch her music video for Chances/One Night Thing here: 

Contact Jacob by email at Jacob.dagit@loop.colum.edu.