Jordan Michelle discusses her latest release, “Miss World”
A special interview with singer & songwriter Jordan Michelle / @iamjordanmichelle
4.1.22 👑🥲 this song, and a homage to my past life as a pageant queen. I am so excited for everyone to hear this. Thank you to this team, @thejohnjfox you’re a legend, we had so much fun making this!! @tosh_thedrummer you killed it as ALWAYS 🤩 Thank you @angrygirldisco for inspiring this project. @slayybrigg@allmightyza@asavvymakeover for bringing this vision to life and putting your hearts in this. @pinktreestudiosla thank you for letting us use your incredible space! @greatwhitelimo I’m speechless you are the best!! @spaceracewolf for always doing the most for us!! @rick_wayne for literally every piece of it up and down. You inspire everything I do and help me bring it to life in a way I never imagined. You are my muse, my music, my creative director and my best friend. And last but certainly not least, the fucking queen of rock and roll, the original emo chick, thank you @courtneylove for your music, and everything you have contributed to music and culture as a whole. Hole is one of my favorite bands. Thank you to you and @ellenvonunwerth for the inspiration. I heard your favorite florist is in Notting Hill, send me deets please, would love to send you a thank you gift. It’s an honor to cover this song. It cuts me so deeply. THANK YOU EVERYONE PRESAVE IN BIO
Photographer: Matsemela Zazu Moloi @allmightyza
Hair & Makeup: Savannah Simpson @asavvymakeover
Wardrobe styling: Hannah-Grace Abrigg @slayybrigg
Creative Director: Rick Wayne @rick_wayne
Production Assistant: Wolf Adler @spaceracewolf
Jordan, you’ve been a busy woman these days. Talk to us about these new releases you’ve been working on and your new album, how’s that coming? I have definitely been busy! Dichotomy of a Pageant Queen is the working title of my upcoming album. I’m learning more and more that the album is finished when it’s finished. Some songs I’ve worked on recently may not necessarily fit on the album but are a logical next single. The idea for Miss World kind of came out of left field. A friend of mine who I grew up with, (who I also credit for making me fall in love with Hole and Nirvana in the 7th grade) was like “can you please cover Miss World for me?” I had never even considered doing a remake of an existing song but I was like wow this makes so much sense across the board and I’ve always loved this album (Live Through This). The message is so personal to me, even if you take the pageant aspect out of it. The video really shows my interpretation of the song which is the expectation that whoever the social icon is, should just smile and wave without regard to how tortured they are. The fact that you should never judge a book by its cover and that at the end of the day, celebrities and public figures are just people. Then you add in the pageant aspect, it not only fits so well with the working title of my album, but it truly pays homage to where it all started for me.
What was the personal premise behind choosing the pageant theme for your album? Dichotomy was based on the premise that not everything is always what it seems and two things can exist simultaneously even if they are polar opposites. There’s a lyric that goes “I’m a bit too pop for the punk kids, and a bit too punk for the pop kids.” I wish I wrote it, but I think that premise resonates with a lot of people. On the outside, you see a pretty girl, from an affluent neighborhood and that’s the cover. No one would ever guess that the girl at the gym wearing an all-pink matching set from Bandier is actually listening to metal. I think highlighting that you don’t have to be put in a box is so important to me. The subject matter of my music is so vast from heartbreak, to partying and getting drunk, to finding yourself. For years I was made fun of for wearing black nail polish, listening to punk and all that other good stuff. I’ve had so much trauma in my life, the things no one would know if I didn’t talk about it. I think that’s really the theme, the dichotomy of the pageant queen is just that; you think she’s just a beautiful girl smiling and waving but there’s so much you don’t know.
How do you feel this fits within the challenges artists have in the music industry? You see women in the spotlight all wrapped up in a shiny bow and on a pedestal, but once those lights go off so many are truly tortured and internally scarred from all of the pressure. I wanted to make sure the message was perceived as such so in the video we paid respects to the most iconic women who have been tortured by mainstream media; some to a tragic death. Whitney Houston, Britney Spears, Amy Winehouse, and of course Courtney Love. More recently the pageant industry has suffered from the loss of former Miss USA Chelsie Kryst. This is the decade where people are finally finding the courage to talk about it. Even the title of this article, it’s true; by me sharing my struggles, the public gets a look “inside my meltdown.” The issue isn’t the struggle or human-ness of artists or celebrities, the issue is the twisted narrative around it. The pressure from society to be perfect is more harmful than anything, we need to take a stand and allow people to wear their own crowns and not the ones society chooses for us to wear – and on their terms. I am currently still recovering from the abuse of a label and an attempt to be silenced for it. I always say the “me too,” movement is only for you if you’re rich and famous. The abuse happens every day, and sadly we don’t always come out on top. I hope to see that continue to change.
Visually, was the mascara-stained album art also an ode to Courtney Love? Was this your way of paying homage to the legend? Yes absolutely. I wanted to pay homage without copying it entirely. We have had a mock-up album artwork for Dichotomy for over a year now, and it was similar conceptually but of course, in this case, we wanted to make sure that it was very clear that this entire project, both the song itself and the visuals gave clear respect to Hole.
You’ve also dropped your video, what was it like filming? It looked like a damn good time. This video was insane and just a very good representation of the artist’s process. We weren’t planning on doing a full video since it is a cover but one thing led to another and we had a full day shoot with a whole team with no budget; just a bunch of crazy artists following inspiration and banding together to make art together (and doing anything for the shot – I may or may not have been on top of a moving vehicle? Maybe?). We had SO much fun; between coming up with the looks, and getting into this character; we ended up back at my place having drinks and watching this footage over and over again because we were all just so excited about what we did.
Can we ask, what did you think of Olivia Rodrigo’s take on the Miss World concept? In your opinion, is there a right or wrong way to take inspiration from other artists? I think taking something from another artist and not crediting them or thanking them is always the wrong way. I am honestly not very familiar with Olivia’s work nor do I know how familiar she is with Hole – it was definitely close enough to upset Courtney Love, the original creator. As artists we all take inspiration from somewhere; it’s when you copy without any recognition where it becomes theft, in my opinion. Art is so personal so it really is a sensitive thing and should be treated as such.
We’ve heard you’ve also taken the jump into the beauty industry, what was the motivation behind that and what is that experience like compared to your music career? Yes! I always saw myself with a brand beyond music, and it’s my plan to branch out everywhere from fashion to beauty and in-between. I love aesthetics and I grew up with a mom who is a dermatologist and has her own skincare line. It’s something I’ve been wanting to launch forever and kind of waiting for the right moment; turned out – COVID was that moment. I had often been looked to by friends and followers for beauty hacks; managing to maintain a rockstar lifestyle and still look fresh and rested – I injected that into my brand which has been really fun. The line is completely centered around music and a rockstar lifestyle.
So with all this new work you have coming out, when can we expect the release and what else do you have on your plate for 2022? I am releasing some new records over the next few months which I am super excited to share; some of my favorites for sure. I am starting a show called Pop Punk in the Metaverse which will be on the app Encore, co-founded by Kid Cudi.
How can readers keep up with you and where is Miss World available streaming? I’m most active on Instagram and Spotify so give me a follow on both of those! My Instagram is @iamjordanmichelle. Miss World is available anywhere you listen to music!