With a fistful of highly praised releases under his belt, and a soulful, jazz and hip-hop driven sound, 25 year old Jordan Rakei is a rare talent whose artistry transcends the confines of age.
Born in a quiet town in New Zealand, Jordan Rakei moved to Australia at the age of three, spending most of his childhood in Brisbane. In 2014, his ‘Groove Curse’ EP garnered strong support from North America and Europe, coaxing Jordan to make the 10,000 mile journey to live in London.
He furnished a name for himself in the UK, collaborating with the likes of Tom Misch and lending vocals to Disclosure’s album ‘Caracal’. It was his 2016 self-released debut album, ‘Cloak’, that proved he was an artist ready and able to make waves.
ALTHOUGH YOU HAVE RELEASED A LOT OF MUSIC, AND WORKED ON VARIOUS COLLABORATIONS, SOME OF OUR READERS MAY NOT KNOW MUCH ABOUT YOUR STORY. BUT THIS APPEARS TO BE THE CENTRE OF YOUR NEW ALBUM…
The album is about my experience in dealing with social anxiety and how it has manifested into different parts of my life. It’s the first time I’ve been so personal with the lyrics and it was quite a cathartic experience writing this album.
HOW DID THE COLLABORATIONS WITH TOM MISCH AND DISCLOSURE COME TO BE?
Just through mutual interest in each others music. Both of them reached out to me a few years ago and wanted to have some songwriting sessions. Luckily enough, some good songs came out of those, and now I feature on both of their albums.
WITH THIS BEING YOUR SECOND ALBUM, WHAT WERE THE EXPECTATIONS?
To be honest I didn’t have much expectation. The only difference here was that a label was releasing the record. So obviously there’s some element to expect that it should be serviced to a wider audience. However, when writing the album, I was really focussed on being as authentic as possible. How an album is received is definitely something out of my control, and I don’t usually worry about that too much!
YOU HAVE ALSO RELEASED MUSIC UNDER SOME DIFFERENT ALIAS’. WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO WRITING FOR DIFFERENT NAMES?
Just letting the ideas flow without judgement. The Dan Kye project is quite a fun one to do. The focus of that music is to create a party vibe, so I can let the ideas flow and channel that energy.
THE LATEST ALBUM THEMES AROUND MENTAL HEALTH. WHAT INSPIRED THIS?
I guess my own experiences. I’ve spent my whole life with the burden of anxiety and speaking about it throughout the album has revealed, to me, that a lot of people go through similar troubles. It’s quite refreshing to know we all have our own demons.
WORKING IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AS AN ARTIST, DO YOU BELIEVE THERE IS A STIGMA AROUND DISCUSSING MENTAL HEALTH?
Hmm that’s a good question. I’m not entirely sure though. The reality is a lot of lyricists write about love or political stuff. There seems to be a lack on interest from a consumer point of view to delve into music that taps into the themes that ‘Wallflower’ does. People use music to escape from their own realities, so that’s why you’d assume that the consumer is looking to find stuff more positive etc. However as a listener myself, I’m always up for challenging my views on life and the way I use introspection. That’s why I’ve gone in that direction with my lyrics for this album.
WITH THE ALBUM RELEASED ON NINJA TUNE, WHAT’S NEXT?
I will be touring all around Europe, and then heading to Australia to do another ‘Wallflower’ tour! I’m also really excited to start writing again too!
New album ‘Wallflower’ is out now via Ninja Tune
Photography by Jake Turney | @jaketurneyphoto