Tell us about yourself as an artist. What kind of music do you write?
I’m a singer and songwriter and I write under the genres of alternative/pop/jazz. I often tend to write lyrics about love and relationships.
I used to tell people I was the "darker" Taylor Swift when explaining my music to them. Now I find that incredibly embarrassing.
I still think it's kinda true though...
What is your writing process like? How do you come up with your songs/musical ideas?
I tend to write in the late hours of the night when everyone in my house is asleep, since I sing way too loudly. I just press record on my phone and start to sing until something—a line or melody hits me—and sticks. Then I continue to develop on whatever little pieces I created in that moment. I usually try to time my writing and connect it with something that's going on in my life. If there's not much going on I simply can't write anything genuine. Essentially, a lot of my songs are developed from some sort of turmoil—like I can't figure out what to do or what to say in my own life, so I just sing it out.
There are hundreds of vocal snippets on my iPhone so if you ever wanna really embarrass me just go through them and press play.
Tell us about your time at Norco Music.
I was still in high school when I joined the Norco Music program. Then, when I graduated, I went off to a private arts college in Chicago to continue my dreams of being a singer. It wasn't what I had hoped it was going to be and was incomparable to the time I had spent at Norco, so I left and continued with the music program that I left behind at Norco College. It was a life changing choice. This program didn't just help and mold me to pursue my dream of releasing an EP, it led me to meeting and working with some of the most incredible people and musicians I've ever met. I've never met so many people that just “get it.” So much passion and talent.
Do you have a favorite memory or experience from being in Norco Music?
I get really nostalgic when I think about all the amazing memories that were created through the program. I think laughing, crying (in a good way), working until the late hours in the studio are my favorite. Recording at Norco College was such an amazing experience—one that just doesn't happen in a professional studio anywhere else! Working [with] and writing music with your peers and watching them overcome [situations] and work through difficult pieces of music was really beautiful to me. I'll never forget the moments where I or my classmates felt really proud of ourselves about a song; it was the best feeling in the world to see and to feel. When you break through that wall of frustration or get over the fact that you're voice is probably gonna crack in front of a room full of people that you look up to… that’s when the real work gets done.
Also all the times we went out to dinner for no reason after a day of recording or class; those were always good times.
Have you heard the one about my 21st birthday?
You’ve released an EP, tell us about that.
My EP, Nightfall, which I released In October of 2015 tells a few stories of how I fell in-and-out of love with different people over the course of four years. The album starts with songs about a curiosity towards a person, then the intimate side of the relationships, [and] ultimately it ends with goodbyes. My goal was to make it feel like different chapters of a book and that's my favorite part about it. It makes the listener feel like you're in a relationship with so much potential but at the end it all falls apart and comes to a spinning halt. It was such a metamorphosis, starting the EP when I was just 18 and then finishing it in my early twenties. The writing sessions towards the end were much more emotional and raw than when I had first started in the creating process. I'd write a song then a month later I'd go, "WOW, that's what this really is about." It was a lot of delayed self-discovery which was cool. Sometimes I still listen to it now and I'll think of a song differently.
What are you doing now as far as school, musically, professionally, any other pursuits?
Currently I'm finishing up my communication studies degree at Humboldt State University. I hope to always continue to write and to sing music, and maybe even eventually release a full-length album.
Do you have any hobbies outside of music?
I really enjoy just being creative or watching others be creative. I've been really interested in graphic design lately. I also like to screen write in my spare time.
Do you have any goals you've set for yourself, either short-term or long-term?
Overall? Just to always be happy. I don't know what I'll be doing or where I'll be living in the next year...five years...it's all very up in the air, but it keeps life interesting!
And I hope to always keep music flowing into my life somehow. I never want it to just become a “hobby.”
Is there anything else you'd like to say or add?
Norco music was an incredible experience for me and I totally stumbled into it without knowing anything about it. I can't thank everyone enough who helped me musically, with my EP, or emotionally as I worked on it.
Brady Kerr, who has been leading the program for many years, helped mold me into the person I am today. Without him I never would have had the confidence to continue my college studies or to develop more as a musician. I am forever grateful for his endless friendship and mentorship. He's literally the best person I know.
MUC family for life!
Out of the Darkness | Into the Light
- Drive written by Jourdan Montano and Judith Quán • Jourdan Montano (vocals) Ricardo Santiago (guitar/bass) Judith Quán (piano) Stephen Taylor (drums)
- Gamble Away written by Ricardo Santiago and Jourdan Montano • Jourdan Montano (vocals) Judith Quán (backing vocals/piano) Ricardo Santiago (guitar/bass) Stephen Taylor (drums)
- Almost written by Jourdan Montano and Brady Kerr • Jourdan Montano (vocals) Brady Kerr (piano/programming)
- Look Up written by Eduardo Arvilla, Daniel Chavez and BigMan • BigMan (vocals) Daniel Chavez (vocals/piano) Jourdan Montano (vocals) Eduardo Arvilla (lead guitar) Ryan Hickman (rhythm guitar) Steen Kevett (bass) Jake Kelley (drums)
- New Religion written by Jourdan Montano, Brady Kerr, and Judith Quán • Jourdan Montano (vocals) Ricardo Santiago (guitar/bass) Judith Quán (piano) Stephen Taylor (drums)
- Come Alive written by Kris Ottinger and Jourdan Montano • Jourdan Montano (vocals) Kris Ottinger (guitar) Brady Kerr (piano) Steen Kevett (bass) Stephen Taylor (drums/congas)
- The Ivy written by Jourdan Montano • Jourdan Montano (vocals) Erich Jackson (vocals/piano) Leandro Barrientos (rhythm guitar) Michael Rosenblum (lead guitar) Steen Kevett (bass) Sterling Fairfield (drums)