The story of a girl is now the story of a boy with JORDY’s new take on a classic song.
Playing on Nine Days’ 2000s hit, “Absolutely (Story of a Girl),” JORDY’s “Story of a Boy” leans on the original track’s message but with same-sex pronouns and a more modern spin. The music video, which even features a cameo from Nine Days’ John Hampson, allows JORDY to explore his crushes he had on other boys as a young child. At 27, he now gets to express his crushes freely without the desire to conceal his own feelings. The song furthers JORDY’s musical themes of championing inclusivity and creating art out of honesty. “Story of a Boy” is another catchy banger added to the talented pop star’s discography, and it’s a great marker for what else JORDY has in store for fans this year.
After using 2022 as a time for self-reflection and self-work, JORDY is ready to blast back into 2023 with his sophomore album, BOY, releasing April 21. Having a more mature perspective and outlook on growing up, the project is sure to carry over JORDY’s sensational songwriting skills from his debut album, Mind Games, which blew listeners away back in 2021 for its emotive and vulnerable lyricism. His prior work, including phenomenal singles like “i get high” and “Dry Spell” from last year, has even earned him a nomination at the GLAAD Media Awards for “Outstanding Breakthrough Music Artist.”
Pop Crave spoke with JORDY about his new song, “Story of a Boy,” his freshly announced sophomore album, BOY, and the incredible progress that’s been made for queer voices within the music industry. Keep reading for the full interview!
Hi JORDY! Congratulations on your new song, “Story of a Boy.” Could you tell us about the concept behind the song and your idea to interpolate Nine Days’ “Absolutely (Story of a Girl)”?
Honestly, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t immediately recognize the lyrics and the melody. As soon as the original song starts, you’re like, “Oh, I love this song! I know this song!” And I think that at this stage in my life over the past year, there’s been a lot of self-reflection, self-work, and looking back on those childhood experiences. I think with that came a lot of musical reflections with what music I was listening to as a kid. Looking back, I felt very connected to a lot of the female artists at the time: Hilary Duff, Avril [Lavigne], Spice Girls. It was all of those artists because I didn’t really have any queer male artists to listen to or look up to. That was as close as I could get, but it still never felt like I was listening to someone who fully understood me, and I feel like I was waiting to hear that from an artist.
This year, that song by Nine Days came back into my realm. I was like, “Damn, this could be a really cool moment for me to flip it and take a song from my childhood that I constantly would sing differently in my head.” Like, I would listen to it and whisper “boy” to myself or “him” instead of “she.” I was like, “What if we just made this a reality?” And so I got into the studio with some of my good friends, and we made our own version. We loved it, but the next step was like, “Okay, but do you think the original band will be down?” Once we sent it to them, they were so excited and really pumped at this new perspective which just made me feel so good and grateful. It’s really just taking that childhood song and creating a new perspective in this new age where we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by incredible queer artists.
“Story of a Boy” has a music video which encapsulates that 2000s vibe incredibly well. What was the inspiration behind the music video and the idea to have most of it take place at a garage sale?
I knew I wanted to do the band-in-the-garage kind of energy just to make that nostalgic feel really palpable. I’m lucky enough to work with one of my greatest friends [Ryan Wagner]. I’ve known him since first grade, actually, and he directs a lot of my music videos. I trust him with my whole heart, and every time I bring him a new song for a new video, we’ll sit down and we’ll talk concepts. He brought up this idea to me that we would somehow connect the child version of me that you see when the chorus hits in the first chorus. We would somehow connect this connection to my childhood boy crush to the lunchbox that you end up seeing being sold at the garage sale; that was this little time capsule that I had with this boy I liked. It was really his idea, and I was like, “I trust your vision and am so down to go with it!” It just worked out so well.
I feel like it was just a nice, real life, real time, in the moment energy that obviously references the inner child of myself, my younger self that would hear the song all the time, and my younger self that also had boy crushes! I wasn’t comfortable enough to really speak that out loud when I was that age. It’s kind of like an homage to the younger version of myself and kind of bringing that into my adult life, and we used the garage sale as that middleman, I guess.
John Hampson of Nine Days makes a cameo in the music video, which was such a cool surprise! What were his thoughts on the song, and what was it like getting to work with him on the music video?
Honestly, this whole process has been so healing for me. As I said, Avril Lavigne was one of my favorite artists, but when I was listening to rock bands or male rock or whatever, there was always this feeling inside of me that I didn’t fit in. Like, I just felt different. I didn’t feel manly enough to be listening to that kind of music, you know what I mean? I just felt like an outcast. I was closeted and wasn’t confident in myself. When we sent John the song, he was immediately so excited. I think for me to look back on this artist that I listened to on the radio time and time again as a kid – also, he’s a straight man – I feel like the inner gay child in me is like, “This rockstar of a guy who’s not even queer hears this version of the song, and it makes him so much more proud of the original song too!” To me, that was so special.
Once we were able to get him in LA for the music video, we were able to finally sit down and chat. I was just telling him my story, and I was asking him questions about his journey in the band and what it was like to have a hit song. I was telling him the importance of the song to me, how special it is to me, and what it means, and we just really connected. It’s so cute. He’s commenting on all the posts. He’ll comment from the Nine Days account and sign it being like, “- John,” at the end [laughs]. It’s so cute! I actually saw a comment from his wife the other day on one of my TikToks that was like, “Sending love from ‘the girl.’ I hope you find your boy at some point.” It’s just really cute, and I think that it seems he’s excited that this new interpolation might give the original song another life as well. They’re just really excited and happy to be a part of it. It’s really great.
You’ve clearly been having so much fun promoting “Story of a Boy” on social media! Do you have a favorite video you’ve done to promote the song? My personal favorite is the video you did with the hot dad from Inside Out [laughs].
Oh my God! I was trying to make that trendy thing a thing where it’s all of your boy crushes. I did give Chris Olsen a little shoutout. People seemed to respond to that one well. Chris is a ray of sunshine, I adore him, and I was like, “I hope that this is just a nice little flattering video. I hope he takes it as a compliment,” which he totally did! He threw me a little comment, and we were messaging a little bit. He loved the song, and he’s just such a sweetie.
I’ve been having fun taking all of the childhood crushes – or like the dad from Inside Out, I guess – as one of my subjects. Those videos have been really fun, and then obviously kind of working with like, “What if this original song that everyone recognizes, what if we changed it and made it queer?” That’s been fun too.
Your anticipated sophomore album, BOY, is also on its way! How excited are you to share that news with the world?
So, so excited! I put out my first album in 2021, and so I took 2022 to put out some singles but also really hone in on writing, getting this project together, making sure it was cohesive, and working with such incredible people. I feel like these songs are truly the past year and a half for me. I think for me that year has been, as I said earlier, lots of therapy and lots of self-work. I think I’m just learning that it’s so easy to look at adults when you’re a kid, and you’re like, “Damn, I want to be them! I want to have the freedoms of an adult, know what I’m doing, and know my purpose,” and I’m 27 and like, “Hate to break it to you young JORDY, but you don’t really know shit yet, and that’s okay!” And I think that’s what it means to be this weird late 20s, not-yet-30 something age where it just feels like adulthood is pulling at your neck. I feel like all of these songs represent all of the experiences that have made me feel that way, and so I’m very excited to share it with the world. I can’t wait!
How would you say BOY is going to differ from your debut album, Mind Games?
I don’t know. I think it’s more mature, I’d like to think. As I grow, my writing grows and evolves, and there are certainly a handful of songs that are on this record where nothing like these songs had a place on Mind Games. We were vulnerable, obviously, on Mind Games, but I think we’re having some more stripped moments, we’re having a power ballad moment, we’re having some hyperpop moments. I think that it’s been fun to explore with different production and lyrics that are always pushing it to the edge of, you know, “Is this cool? Is this okay?” For me, I always like saying the hard thing. Yeah, I just feel like it’s evolved and more grown up, I think.
In other exciting news, you’ve also just been nominated at the 34th annual GLAAD Media Awards for “Outstanding Breakthrough Music Artist.” It’s an incredibly stacked lineup to say the least, with other nominees including Ethel Cain, Dove Cameron, Omar Apollo, etc. How did it feel when you initially found out you were nominated?
I woke up to a text from my A&R at my label, and she was like, “Congrats on the nomination! Oh my God!” And I was like, “Literally what are you talking about?” It was like eight o’clock, and I was just crusty and not even awake. I called my manager, I went on the internet, and I was like, “Oh my God, this is so cool!” I mean, I’m out of my mind. I think it’s so easy to get in your head, it’s so easy to be your worst critic, and I think that it’s moments like these that kind of remind me I’m on the right track. Again, as you said, it’s such a stacked lineup. I think it’s so beautiful and validating for me to see my name amongst artists I look up to so much. I feel super grateful and really thankful to GLAAD for recognizing me and my music, and I’m just really excited!
Looking down the list of nominees, it’s clear that there’ve been so many queer artists this year (including yourself) who have made massive impacts on the music industry. What is it like to be part of this vastly changing industry where there are now more queer voices being heard than ever before?
It’s so amazing. All of these artists in my category, too, I just listen to because I’m a fan and the music is fantastic. That’s the thing, it’s like… No queer artist wants to be like, “Oh, you’re that gay artist!” Like, we are all musicians, we’re all pop writers, we’re all pop artists, we have things to say. I think that at the end of the day, what’s so cool is that we’re just doing our thing. I think more queer artists and more queer people are just becoming more comfortable being themselves in music, and I think the best music is honest music. It’s so special to have such a strong community of people and musicians supporting each other and cheering each other on, and it’s cool to think back 10 years and look at us and where we are now. I think it’s very cool to see how much we’ve progressed. It’s very awesome.
You toured quite a bit last year, and I especially love the video you have of your mom attending one of your shows in LA. What is your favorite part about the touring experience, and how soon can fans expect to see you on the road again?
Oh my gosh! Well, touring is like my favorite thing. I started as a theater kid, I was a choir kid, and I always wanted to be on stage. That was like my first love, and then later in life songwriting came. For me, just performing, seeing everyone, meeting all the fans, and connecting with them in person is just so special, and I have so much fun. I think my favorite part is obviously the performances but also exploring different cities, eating yummy food, and just kind of enjoying the moment. I feel very present when I’m on tour, and I feel like I’m able to really live in the moment which is hard to do when I’m not. And you can expect me to be on the road sooner than later, so that’s all I’m gonna say [laughs]!
Alongside the social media promoting, you really are a social media star. What are your thoughts on TikTok’s evolving relationship with artists and the music industry? With more social media power at play nowadays, do you think there are more positive opportunities for artists trying to break into the industry?
Totally, totally. I think the biggest thing is it’s free to use, and I think that’s what’s cool. The biggest marketing tool that we have at our fingertips is just an app that we can download on our phones, and I think that that’s really revolutionary. You don’t need an insane radio budget anymore or label budget. You can post a TikTok, and it can change your life. I think that with all of the good things, it’s important to take breaks when you need them and take steps back when you need it, because I think it’s really easy to get sucked into the instant gratification and validation of a video going viral. While it’s such an amazing thing and while it’s changed things for me, I think it’s equally been important to remember to focus on living in the moment, not being too hard on myself, and understanding that the algorithm is something none of us can control. At the end of the day, it’s incredible that it can change an artist’s life in an instant, and same with people who haven’t even established themselves as artists yet. You post a song, it goes viral, and their life is changed. It’s a very, very, very important tool and very cool tool that we get to use, so yeah. I’m very grateful for social media platforms. I think it’s a great way to market your music.
What would you like to leave with fans about what they can anticipate from JORDY throughout this wonderful new year of 2023?
Obviously a new album, more shows, just expanding the family and continuing to grow together, supporting each other, and spreading good vibes, big hugs, and I don’t know! We’re just moving forward. We’re gonna keep on chugging. We’re gonna keep grinding away. I think a lot of what’s beautiful is we don’t know what’s to come, but I’m excited for whatever it is! I feel good.
JORDY’s new song, Story of a Boy, is out now.
Pre-order JORDY’s sophomore album, BOY, here: https://jordy.lnk.to/BOY
Article cover taken by Dante Velasquez.