Interviewed by Joe Montague
"It's not about how many
records we sell but it is about how many souls we save," said Jazzy Jordan,
one of the most sincere people you will ever meet. Jordan is the owner
of Jordan Entertainment Group an upstart record label that began in January
of 2006. The label made a big splash in June when three of it's artist's
made Billboard's Gospel music charts. The Reverend Robert Lowe, pastor
of a 4,000 person congregation, in Queens, New York is no stranger to the
Billboard charts. Lowe's most recent CD Together Again debuted at number
9. Tony Terry's album Changed was charting in the number 24 spot and 58
on the R&B rankings. Rapper/Hip Hop artist Izzy occupied the number
26 position on the Gospel Music board.
In recent years there have
been several small labels and imprints that have appeared on the music
scene but what makes the Jordan Entertainment Group story intriguing is
Jazzy Jordan's reputation in mainstream music. Unlike others who are seeking
to fulfill a dream Jordan has already lived it and is now pursuing a new
venture. In late 2005 he resigned his position as the Senior Vice President
and General Manager with Verity Records to launch Jordan Entertainment.
During his career Jordan has also served as the Vice President of Marketing
for Jive Records, the National Promotions Director with Tommy Boy Records
and National Director of Black Music Promotions with RCA Records and spearheaded
the marketing efforts of eight labels for PolyGram.
As busy as Jordan's music
career has been he has still found time to manage the Jordan Racing Group,
an Indy series open wheel racing team. Other endeavors include; Jalap,
Inc., an urban marketing group, and the sportswear company Church Geer.
Jordan talked about his
vision for the new label, "We have to get the music out and God will take
care of the rest. Our purpose is to put the music where it can be heard."
He made the point that he hopes that the music will be heard by people
who are not familiar with the Christian music scene.
"This is an opportunity
for me to build something brand new. (I have) an opportunity to give newcomers
a chance to shine in the music business and get their records out. The
Donnie McClurkins and Kirk Franklins are getting their message out already.
I believe in my heart it is time to give someone else the same opportunity,"
said Jordan. He was also quick to point out, "That was the only reason
that I left Verity because it was a wonderful environment. It was a very
nurturing environment where I learned a lot. I believed that God wanted
me to do more than I was doing so that is why I left."
Chatting with Jordan, his
conversation was filled with anecdotes about angels guiding him from one
spot to another or God's blessings. At other times he recalled how fortunate
he is to have met people who assisted him along the way. For a man who
began his music career by sweeping the floor in his brother-in-law's record
store it would be easy to talk about his own accomplishments but he isn't
taking the bait. He is one of those individuals with whom you get excited
about sharing his vision.
The man who helped launch
the careers of household names such as Britney Spears, Will Smith, the
Backstreet Boys and Salt "N" Pepa now is attempting to reignite the careers
of R&B man Tony Terry and fellow artist Phil Driscoll. In addition
he has a stable of quality artists that includes Kim Jordan and Darien
"I'm not the messenger.
I'm just someone who is moving the message along. It is my job to create
opportunities to get the message out from these artists that I work with.
They have been inspired to write these beautiful songs. My job is to make
sure that I can create a bit of a platform for them," he said.
He speaks glowingly about
his artists, "Tony (Terry) has an incredible voice. I asked Tony
one question before we started to work together, "Why would you leave R&B
and do a Christian or a Gospel album?" He said, "I have a fourteen
year old daughter and I want her to have something to be proud of and that
I can be proud to share with her."
Jordan said, "One of the
reasons that I started the company was (to give) the world an alternative
to bump and grind records. I want to have music that has the same kind
of beat but the message is pure and clean. Tony is perfect for that."
Jordan enthused when he
talked about the Reverend Robert Lowe and his spectacular cover of Al Green's
"Let's Stay Together". He describes the silky voiced baritone as a charismatic
person who is trying to "drive the message home."
Although most of Jordan
Entertainment Group's current roster of artists possess more of a soulful
sound the record executive made the point that this is more a product of
where his contacts and exposure are right now and he would like to eventually
represent a broader base of genres. "I want to open this company
up to everybody. One of the things that I really detest when it comes to
music is lines," he said. He said he is opposed to both color lines and
denominational lines. "(Such as) I am a Baptist and you are this or that.
(It seems) we can't melt (together). We are all trying to reach the same
goal or at least we should be."
In response to my question
concerning the Christian community's fixation on attaching labels to everything
Jordan replied, "Aren't we? You got that right. That is another wall that
I would like to tear down because I think that is horrendous. Anybody who
has a problem with that doesn't have a problem with me (but they) have
a problem with God."
Jordan believes that the
inability of certain groups to work together has impeded the ability of
Christian artists from firmly establishing music careers. He says it blows
his mind when he thinks of how many Christians there are in the world and
the limited exposure that the artists get. "I just don't understand that,"
he said. He does admit however that finances do play a significant role.
He points to the disparity in budgets that a general market artist has
at his or her disposal compared to the modest budgets usually associated
with Christian artists. He believes the answer is two fold. First the Christian
community needs to do a better job of persuading corporate America to invest
in the careers and sponsorship of the artists. Secondly the same companies
need to realize the substantial number of people associated with what has
always been treated as a niche market. Jordan believes until now companies
have been piggybacking on the belief that they will catch the majority
of that market on the spillover that occurs as people listen to general
market radio and watch mainstream television.
Jordan, who adopted the
moniker "Jazzy" during his days as a radio DJ in Connecticut, is so passionate
about his God-ordained mission in the music industry that his enthusiasm
is contagious. "I know when God gives you a vision that sometimes you don't
know how you are going to do it but you (still) carry it out," he says.
He wants us to know, "Anytime I move closer to what God wants me to do
it makes me smile."
He is carrying that same
passion into his most recent endeavor Church Geer. "I'm not looking
to create anything brand new. What I want to do is make it (sportswear)
available to Christians in a style and fashion that they will really appreciate.
(I want them) to look at it and go, 'Wow that looks great. I will wear
that.' Whatever I am doing that is how I feel about it. I don't want to
cross over I just want to take the cross with me wherever I go," Jordan
By Joe Montague, exclusive
Joe Montague is an internationally
published journalist / photographer. His ministry is dedicated to the memory
of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven at the age of 18.
All copyright and distribution rights remain the property of Joe Montague.