The Exclusive Interview With Guitar Guru, Jordan Peters
One of my favorite ways to find empowerment is to interview fellow inspirational talents! I have always been curious about other people’s gifts, and sitting on the reporting side of the interview is revelational. Jordan Peters was my college colleague when I studied at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Coincidently, he ventured of to New York City to further his career development when I, too, moved to the Big Apple.
Originally from Quebec, Canada, Peters is a magnificent guitarist, specializing in Jazz, R&B, Funk, and so much more! He was the guitarist for Lauryn Hill for many years and had the opportunity to tour with her all over the world! Talk about an incredible experience and career milestone! I was honored to have him play guitar on one of my songs, “Life Is A Journey” on my original EP “The Journey On Earth”. Vol.1: Unknown. His technique was skilled, smooth, and natural telling an incredible story.
Our next journey together will be in the Taichung Jazz Festival in Taiwan this October
Jordan Peters is continuously progressing his career towards greater success and he was kind enough to share his journey with me in an interview. Enjoy!
How did you or your family find out that you have music talent?
I remember really enjoying listening to music when I was very young, like Michael Jackson’s Thriller album, and a bunch of country music my father use to listen to in the car. My father played guitar and sang when he was a teenager, and in our house we had 2 of his old acoustic guitars that were gathering up dust in the basement. When I was around 10 years old I started messing around with them for fun. They were in very bad condition, and one of them only had 5 strings. I wasn’t really learning any songs or taking any lessons at that point, but I just enjoyed making sounds with them. My parents at some point realized that it would be best if I at least had a decent working instrument, so when I was probably 12 years old they bought me my first electric guitar.
Was there Any moment that you lost passion in music and wanted to quit it? If yes, how did you regain it?
I’m not sure if I’ve ever lost my passion for music; I think I’ve always had a deep love for it and that never really goes away. There are definitely moments however when I feel uninspired. As you know, choosing your passion as a way to make your living isn’t the easiest thing to sustain, because it requires you to have constant inspiration, and since that can be very difficult to achieve, you have to be able find that inspiration in moments when you aren’t feeling it. I find that in moments where I don’t have the energy to sit down and work on music, it helps to take a step back and do something non-music related for a few hours, like read a book, watch a movie, or go for a walk. Then after a while I find that I’ll start getting the feeling that I want to work on music again. Sometimes listening to new music can help inspire me; often I get most inspired by music that is from a totally different genre than the one I’m currently working on or involved with. It helps me step out of my head, and to realize that there is so much music out there, and that everyone has a different way of approaching it, with a different voice. When I’m performing live and feel un-inspired, I find the best thing to do is to listen to the other musicians around you. This is something that I try to do all the time regardless, but I find it can really help to get you out of your head when you are feeling uninspired in a live situation because it literally gives you energy and something to feed on.
Have you ever thought about doing something else rather than music as occupation?
I definitely have. There are many things that I enjoy in life, such as nature, history, literature, film, travel, science. Maybe if circumstances were different, perhaps I would have ended up in a different field. But I don’t think that my passion for music would be any different, and perhaps then I’d be asking myself “What if I had chosen to go into music?”. For me, the challenge comes with which part of the music industry to be in. I love being a guitar player and performing, but I also love being a producer and working in the studio, and experiencing the process of making music from different angles and view points. I also have a deep love and appreciation of many different styles of music, and I don’t consider myself to be a part of only one genre, which can be tough at times. When you try and be multifaceted it can be challenging to decide on where to focus your energy, and also figuring out how to brand yourself, which I think is becoming more and more important today. I think in the end you need to generally feel content and fulfilled with what you are doing, and make decisions that are based on what inspires you and drives you.
What made you leave Canada and brought you to New York?
I’ve always been drawn to New York, even as a kid before I ever became involved with music. I come from a small town in the country, and I remember watching movies that were set in New York, and how huge and exciting it seemed. Then later when I started playing jazz and learning about the history of jazz and how New York was such a big part of that history, it only made me want to be there even more. I was really hesitant to make the move at first, because it was also very intimidating to me. I put it off for a long time, maybe even too long, but at some point it felt like I wasn’t going to be able to find the things I was looking for in Canada, in terms of musical opportunities.
Please talk about the experiences of playing with Lauryn Hill
It has been a great experience and I’m glad I was able to record and tour with her all around the world. It’s also helped me gain some other opportunities, and meet many great musicians and people from the industry that I may not have otherwise met.
How do you feel like Life as a musician in NY?
Life in NY is challenging, whether you are a musician or not. Everything moves much faster than anywhere else, and that can take a while to adjust to. There are a lot of pressures and challenges all around you that can either inspire, or discourage you – and I think that this is where the test is. It really forces you to confront yourself and realize where you stand, and sometimes you may not get the answer that you were hoping for. Then you have to decide whether you want to get to that place where you want to be, and take the necessary steps to get there, or not. This is not to say that you cannot achieve what you are looking for in any other city. For some people, that type of pressure and challenge is helpful, while for others it isn’t. Some of my favorite musicians in the world don’t live in New York, but a lot of them have lived there at some point. I think that because of the high level of competitiveness in New York, it definitely helps to give you a clear of idea of your progress.
In NY everyone is generally very busy and touring…How do you keep in touch and make networking with other musicians in daily life?
As a musician, often times going to sessions, and catching shows is the best way to connect and catch up with fellow musicians.
What is your ultimate goal in your music career?
I think my ultimate goal is to be able to feel fulfilled in my career, which for me translates into creativity, variety and stability. Musically, I want to keep progressing as a musician and release projects as a producer and a leader that are strong statements and hopefully inspire others. I want to continue getting sideman calls for established artists, for both touring and studio work. I want to expand more into the world of music production, writing and licensing. I’d like to keep building my network and get to a point where I can afford to live comfortably anywhere in the world and still be working on great projects.
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Jordan's Live performance @ Blue Note