Exclusive interview with Jordan LaFaver! He is an American musician, producer, and record executive known for his work as frontman of Diary of Snow and founding Snowbound Records. Today I had the pleasure to know more about himself as a solo artist, and he reveals everything about his music and his life… Go read what Jordan shared with us, you’ll be impressed!
1 – Many people will know you from the band, Diary of Snow, What would you say are the differences between being a solo artist and being part of a band?
I had this terrible moral dilemma for the longest time when it came to DOS. I was dedicated to only making meaningful music that would speak to people on an emotional level, but every once in awhile I just wanted to make a fun pop record. Back then I viewed that as selling out, so I buried that part of me until I couldn’t stand it anymore.
Everyone needs to cut loose every once in awhile, so being solo gives me the freedom to just write for fun and make something for the people who pushed me to do pop for years. There’s no doubt in my mind I’ll return to Diary of Snow (it’ll always be where my heart is), but for now, this is a long overdue vacation.
2 – Were you surrounded by music growing up?
I was, but probably not what people would expect! My parents listened to a lot of gospel music and I barely recall listening to anything non-Christian when I was really young (except for a Spice Girls cassette tape my dad had for some reason). My grandmother had an old piano that she played around me all the time, and I credit that to my love of music.
I taught myself how to play by ear when I was very young, and my family bought me my own keyboard when I was old enough to appreciate it. That keyboard would be the first part of the amateur recording studio I would set up in my parent’s basement when I was 14, where I would record the first draft’s of Diary of Snow’s first EP.
3 – Did you take singing lessons?
Nope, but to this day I still want to. I tried to take piano lessons twice and both times the instructor got frustrated that I could play fluently by ear, but not understand a single note of sheet music. Ironically I never wanted to be a singer, I grew up dreaming of being a keyboardist for a Christian rock band, but when I purchased my first copy of Autotune I loved the way it sounded and aspired to sound good without it. From that day forward it’s just been trial and error, and a lot of practice. I love singing now.
4 – What sort of artist do you want to be? Please define your music genre.
This has always been a difficult question because I want to do two different things; be a solo artist, and be the lead singer of an alternative-rock band. Depending on which project I’m focused on, my genre will change, and I think I’ll always want to do both. As for what I’m doing right now, I’d like to be comparable to Bryson Tiller and The Weeknd. My album is a mash-up of a few genres but primarily R&B.
5 – Your debut EP is due in this year. How close is it to being finished?
Admittedly, we jumped the gun in announcing the EP this year. Originally I wanted to put out something new as soon as possible (the last Diary of Snow album was released over three years ago), but I had forgotten how rushing that same album had caused me to regret it in the first place. When I announced the EP, I only had four prospective songs. That number is now closer to twenty, spanning multiple genres.
I’ve decided to take the rest of 2016 and really hone my sound, build some buzz, and release a full-length solo album in 2017. That said, I do plan on releasing a few singles this year to keep people interested! I also plan to shoot at least one music video and start a Youtube series documenting the progress of the album on our Snowbound Records Youtube channel.
6 – What inspired you to create the song “Lipstick Stains”?
For years I wanted to release a semi-sexual pop record, but I lacked the confidence to ever achieve it. Whenever I tried it sounded hilarious because you could tell I didn’t take myself seriously. However, I spent the entire year of 2015 losing weight, getting in shape and completely transforming myself into a different person; one who wasn’t afraid to make records like that.
When I showed the first demo of Lipstick Stains to my producer, I played it off like a joke. The thought of the old me doing a record like that was hilarious, so I pitched it as a comedy song. Unexpectedly, he absolutely loved it and pushed me to finish it as a legitimate single. 6 months later, we released it and the wave of support was overwhelming! I felt incredible, and decided that day to pursue a full solo album.
Yes, but also no. Right now I’m not signed to anyone, but I operate under my own Snowbound Records to bring attention to my label that I would love to develop someday. The benefit of being unsigned is I can feely negotiate my own royalties, book my own shows, pick and pay the producers I see fit for each song, and handle my own promotion and social media.
The obvious downside is that every cent required for all those services comes from my own pocket. Promotion, production, copyrighting, touring, and all the other aspects of being a serious musician are incredibly expensive, and I’ve spent thousands of dollars since my last album working on this one.
Being a part of a major label would drastically help with getting my name out there (and take a lot of pressure off me), but you do lose a degree of creative freedom and certainly the ability to choose who you work with. I’ve been offered contracts in the past but every time, it would have put me in debt and the labels cared nothing for me as an artist. For at least this first album I plan to remain solo. Whatever happens after will happen, but I’m very excited and I can’t wait to see how people react to it!
8 – What’s the most surprising thing that has happened to you in a live show?
Once in New Hampshire, while I was a keyboardist for a friend’s band, I started playing Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” while we were setting up between bands. Several people up front started laughing and belting out the words, so I finished playing the entire song while they sang it!
Also when I did my first piano show in Bangor, Maine, I got a standing ovation at the end. I never expected it, but that was definitely one of the best days of my life and motivated me to pursue a career in music.
9 – Is there any local artist that you admire?
Local is a tough word because in the past 6 years I’ve lived in 5 different places, but I’ll speak for my home in Northern Maine. I’ll always be the biggest fan of my producer and artist Erik Mason, who is not only a successful, full-time music producer (and my best friend), but also a very talented singer and rapper. Through dedication alone he’s moved up in the music industry, and I wouldn’t have anyone else handling my vocals for this album!
I also need to give a shout out to my friends in the band Turner, who are far better live performers than myself, and just released their first music video!
10 – Where can we find you on the Internet and social media?