You’ve got to understand music’s traditions in order to reinvent them. Jordan Bratton certainly does. The 18-year-old singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer possesses a prodigious grasp on all aspects of music. His critically applauded 2014 mixtape, The Grey Area, and debut single “Danger 3” are wholly the products of his personal production and songwriting vision. Armed with a multitude of talents, he stands poised to truly break ground.
At only four-years-old, the New York native realized his innate passion for singing. Encouraged by his “musical” family, he joined the choir in Kindergarten and enjoyed his first moment in the spotlight singing a solo at Lincoln Center during the holidays. Young Jordan also learned the drums before picking up piano and organ at age eleven followed by guitar, bass, and even clarinet. Immersed in the likes of Earth Wind & Fire and Kim Burrell among other R&B and gospel icons, he even started performing live with his dad’s band as well as playing organ at church.
“I built a great feel and vibe for soulful music,” he explains. “I really admired those artists, and they impacted my singing so much.”
Around the same time, Jordan also hit Broadway. After joining the touring production of The Lion King as “Young Simba,” he went on to star in The Color Purple. All the while, he amassed an impressive collection of songs and productions created in his parent’s basement.
In 2013, he made the daily trek from West Hempstead, New York to Weehawken, New Jersey in order to cut what would eventually become The Grey Area. He personally produced 13 of the collection’s 14 tracks, working with Grammy Award-winner 88 Keys [Kanye West, Jay-Z, Kid Cudi] on a powerful cover of Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble.”
“I naturally veer left-of-center,” he goes on. “I just tap into that inspiration when it comes. The music is different, unprecedented, and unconventional. I try to implement the musical changes and chord progressions I found in soul and gospel into my music, while going down a different path.”
As a result of that approach, “Danger 3” combines a fluttering beat with shining synths and Jordan’s captivating delivery and expansive vocal range. In the remix, Fabolous carries a nimble verse through the production, adding yet another dimension to this gem.
“It’s about my opinion on drugs,” sighs Jordan. “I was pondering the subject. The verses talk about how I avoid getting into things that don’t align with who I am. I try to know myself, and I don’t want to build bad habits. I think Fab’s one of the coolest dudes ever. That made it easy for us to vibe in the studio.”
Elsewhere on The Grey Area, his falsetto scorches during “Midnight Rage,” which examines divorce. He adds, “People aren’t as patient as they used to be. I was discussing that. I wish everyone would get back to how it was back in the day when there was patience when it came to marriage.”
As soon as he released the mixtape, buzz surged across the internet. Everybody from The Guardian, Complex and Noisey, to Stupid Dope, Hypetrak, Earmilk, and more embraced Jordan, clamoring to learn more. Shortly after, he also inked a deal with 1009 Records and is readying a bevy of music now.
Just listen, and you’ll get to know him. You might get a glimpse of the future too. “I hope listeners can love this music, take it with them, and use it in their everyday lives,” Jordan leaves off. “I love music. I love making it. I love performing it. That keeps me going, inspired, and motivated. I want to share that inspiration so maybe somebody else elevates his or her mindset and starts creating too.”