Ezra Jordan carries on a musical tradition

Musician talks growing up in a musical family 

Ezra Jordan will be playing the Mansion on March 8. 
Credit: 
Photo supplied by Lukas Lennon

Ezra Jordan has never been a stranger to music.

The Toronto-based singer-songwriter grew up immersed in creative talent, with both parents—Amy Sky and Marc Jordan—prominent names in Canadian and American music industries. 

From a young age, Jordan was clinking away at keyboards and exploring new chord progressions. Now 25, he’s reached over 2.5 million hits on Spotify and is about to embark on his second Canadian tour as a solo artist, with a stop at The Mansion on March 8. 

But Jordan didn’t always want to be a songwriter.

“I always thought I wanted to be a piano player, or to be more involved in film scoring or producing,” he said in an interview with The Journal. “I never even considered writing songs until later on. I think it was my way of differentiating myself from my parents.” 

That all changed in 2012 when then-18-year-old Jordan suffered a life-threatening injury while waterskiing. The accident tore all the ligaments in his knee, and he sustained considerable nerve damage. For over a year, he was unable to properly sit at a piano.

“I almost lost my leg and it took a long time for me to recover enough to play piano again. But during that time, I started playing guitar a little more and started singing and writing my own stuff as a musical outlet,” Jordan recalled.

Shortly after his recovery, he toured as a keyboardist and backup singer with Juno-nominated artist Scott Helman, and graduated from the Musician’s Institute in Los Angeles. In 2017, he released his first singles, “Drag me Down” and “I Only Got Eyes for Her,” the latter of which recently hit over one million plays on Spotify.

His style blends bluesy synths with rhythmic keyboard riffs, all set against an ambient R&B landscape. The diversity of genres woven into his music speaks to Jordan’s vast array of musical influences. 

“My parents were definitely big ones—my mom is an amazing cellist and recorder player, and my dad plays piano and guitar,” Jordan said. He also draws inspiration from contemporary singer-songwriters—John Mayer and D’Angelo being his favourites.

“There aren’t many songwriters out there these days who are also virtuosic musicians in their own rights,” Jordan said. “John Mayer’s talent blows me away, and there isn’t a single song on his latest album I don’t like.”

Jordan’s piano-infused melodies and soulful style also reflect the influence of James Blake, whose musical novelty continuously inspires him to explore new melodic territory.

“[Blake’s] not afraid to try crazy things. He’ll throw voice riffs and classical chord progressions into his songs, and somehow it just works. There’s something about him that just works,” Jordan said.

Although Jordan writes mainly on guitar and piano, his songs often start with stray notes on his phone, where he jots down ideas, concepts, and titles to keep his inspiration flowing. Whether he starts with a chord progression, a lyric, or a melody, he always stops to think about the mood his work is trying to convey.

“I learned from my dad the most impactful songs are impactful because every aspect of the song is working toward the same goal. It’s all speaking to the same emotion or telling the same story,” Jordan said. “For me, it’s really about writing music that feels right, and what resonates with the story I’m trying to tell.” 

This songwriting process is reflected in the advice Jordan often gives to aspiring musicians. 

“If it sounds right to you, then it’s right. Don’t listen to what others say,” he said. 

Jordan also urges young musicians to stick to their goals, acknowledging the cutthroat nature of the modern music industry. Growing up in a musical family and watching his parents work hard in their offices and studios every day, he’s witnessed the dedication it takes to establish oneself as a musician.

“You need to be prepared to work your ass off for what you want.” 

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