Singer-Songwriter Jordy Searcy Stuns With Tender, Honest EP
Jordy Searcy has been doing this music thing forever. Raised in Alabama and now residing in Nashville, the singer-songwriter is no stranger to late nights with his guitar and spinning songs with a cup of tea in one hand and a pen in the other.
Back in 2014, the world got to see just how much talent a young Southern songsmith could possibly boast when he landed a spot on Pharrell Williams' team on NBC vocal competition The Voice after turning all four judges' chairs. Fast forward a few years and Jordy's still got the world swooning. This past February, he dropped his latest EP, Dark In The City, a decadent collection of indie gems.
Dark In The City opens with "Love & War In Your Twenties," a song that honestly and expertly encapsulates the tumultuous monotony and tragedy of young adulthood. Armed with his acoustic guitar and his emotive pipes, Jordy delivers an immersive soundscape that pulses and howls and stomps. He gets real here, admitting that "The more I live I am convinced / Everyone just wants to be in love," his voice a steady croon at times and at others, an impassioned cry. Above rollicking layers of percussion and echoing vocal riffs, Jordy vehemently unveils the truth about our twenties: that we're all just trying to find someone to share it with.
After you've played "Love & War In Your Twenties" a couple hundred times and you finally make your way to the next track, "Explaining Jesus" qualifies for a little replay action too. Here, Jordy offers a tender folk tune that feels peaceful but is actually a poignant, devastating apology. Above a soft guitar strum and sparkling piano line, Jordy addresses those who have been failed by the Christian church's often polarizing hypocrisy -- its frequent contempt for the LGBT+ community, specifically.
Next comes "Always / Almost," pulsing with rapid-fire strums woven within forceful slaps of pop percussion as Jordy's vocals are once again desperate as he sings the hook, "building burning bridges to you," with growing urgency before the song dissolves in a swell of disjointed, explosive multi-instrumentation. On "Rosalyn," gentle guitar merges with moments of shimmering rhythm while Jordy questions society's bullshit habit of launching microaggressions (in this instance, at women of color), asking "Rosalyn, how come we judge your skin / And never give a damn about your heart?" Once again, Jordy Searcy crafts a stunner of a song but with so much more than what we hear on the surface.
For "Dajanae Reads 'Colorblind Christianity'," Jordy enlists his friend and fellow creative Dajanae Cole to read her spoken word piece "Colorblind Christianity" over a simple guitar line and deep drum beat. The poem is gorgeous, a too-quick reflective piece that finds Dajanae delivering an important kind of soul-bearing: "I love my melanin and the way it radiates; watch me glow magically." On its own, and with Dajanae at the helm, the piece is a humble triumph, but accompanied by soft swells of instrumentation, it's given a platform to bear its weight.
On the EP's title track, "Dark In The City," we get one of the record's most delicious and addictive moments. Here, Jordy's vocals are at their most powerful and versatile, steady in its delivery of the verses and frenzied during its wild singalong pleas. A crescendo of instrumental unity bursts towards the end, closing it out with a high-energy vibrancy. Dark In The City ends with a live version of "Jenny," a profound narrative following a character named Jenny as she struggles to be loved in the midst of learning to love somebody new. An acoustic guitar rhythm and soft sprinkles of organic percussion guide the track, but Jordy's strong vocals lead it, a raw snapshot of a more complicated story that Jordy was "privileged to know and very honored to share," he writes of the track.
Dark In The City is a masterpiece, seven tracks teeming with near-tangible emotion and a wildly impressive ability for heart-gripping. Endless elements, from mellow acoustic arrangements to vivid percussive accompaniment, contribute to the record's success, but the real mastermind will forever be Jordy. His voice is shaped by undeniable talent, but his hunger to get real about the things that matter is why he succeeds so notably. He implicates his listeners in a way that forces us, amid sweet indie strums and vocals to fall for, to question our own shortcomings and be better people. We need this.
Listen to Dark In The City below and read on for an exclusive interview between Jordy Searcy and The Music Mermaid right here. You can connect with Jordy on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and his website.
The Music Mermaid: First, can you tell The Music Mermaid a little about yourself and your music?
Jordy Searcy: I am a 24 year old artist from Louisiana and Alabama, [but] I live in Nashville now! I’m a dude with a guitar -- I write songs about life and friends and the things that I see and feel in the world. I play lots and lots of shows, because performing is my favorite way to present my music. I’m lucky enough to do it for a living and to make music with my friends every day!
TMM: You’re now based in Nashville -- the endlessly talented Music City. How has the music scene there influenced your work?
JS: I remember moving to Nashville and thinking, “Wow, I have to get better at everything now." There’s so much excellence here and it's really inspiring and motivating. I'm also grateful that I’m playing out of town a lot, because the over-saturation of musicians in Nashville can sometimes make you feel like what you do isn’t valuable. I think living in Nashville is a balance of constantly absorbing and being inspired by your friends that do music and also making sure to hold on to your own authenticity, your own methods, and your own “why” in the process.
TMM: What was the production process like for Dark In The City?
JS: I worked with my good friend Lucas Morton on that record! He’s an absolutely brilliant producer and friend. We tracked it song-by-song out of his studio. I was really glad to be able to play most of the songs on that record many times live before we tracked them, which I think really helped me put them into context.
TMM: This album is packed with emotion -- what I notice most about your work is that it’s palpable. We’re not just hearing you, we’re feeling you (this is especially true in your soul-gripping ~live in the attic~ performance of “Love & War In Your Twenties,” btw). Can you speak to why music has such a hold on you?
JS: I write a lot of songs, for one! I usually wait to play something or record something until I’m sure that it really moves me personally. John Mayer says, “You connect with other people when you connect with yourself," which I think is so, so true. When I get something that I know affects me, it's a lot easier to honestly communicate it to other people!
TMM: What’s the songwriting process usually like for you? It seems like this EP is heavily focused on storytelling about people, well, just being people -- we learn about love, insecurity, religious hypocrisy, the dualities of light, and so much more through a series of characters. Where do you pull your lyrical inspiration from?
JS: I remember 2 or 3 years ago realizing, “Wait a second -- what if I wrote about whatever I wanted to?" It was a really important realization for me because I just started taking the things I was passionate about in everyday life and putting them down. I’ve really seen my songwriting grow from something I did to impress people into something I do as an overflow of who I am, the good and the bad. I also write a ton of songs -- that's my main process! Taking the best of what I’ve written.
TMM: What are the advantages and disadvantages of being an independent artist today?
JS: The industry is undergoing such a change right now! I think the benefits of being on a label these days are mostly [about] relationships. Having good contacts to advance your music forward these days is way more important than having dollars behind what you do!
I think the benefit of being an independent artist is that you get to do whatever you want creatively! I think at the end of the day, the thing that drives the career of musicians will always be the songs they make -- having the room to create those songs is such a huge asset.
TMM: After your stint on The Voice a few years ago, you dropped your EP, Seasons, followed by this new record. How has your music evolved since your earlier endeavors?
JS: I think the biggest difference in my music now is that I'm touring! The experience of playing music in front of an audience night after night has been so foundational to my songwriting and I really think it has changed my music from a me-in-my-bedroom type process to a me-in-a-room-with-humans type process!
TMM: What has been your most memorable musical moment so far?
JS: I think recently, making music with my friends in Nashville has been the best. Getting to the point where my best friends are also the people that I hire is really one of the biggest joys in my life.
The Music Mermaid: Finally, what’s next for Jordy Searcy?
Jordy Searcy: I’m releasing a song with my friend Stephen Day under the band name The Tuesday Crew on June 22! I can’t wait!