Up & Coming with
The 24-year-old Jordan Rys is a musical mastermind on so many levels. He’s not only a sought-after vocalist close to hitting 130 million streams on Spotify. With his own company Rys Audio he also offers high quality mixing & mastering and songwriting services to the music industry. Did we already mention he reached millions with his TikTok videos? More than enough reason to keep an eye out for this star in the making. We called the Los Angeles based Jordan to talk about his career, thoughts on today’s music and of course working with YADAYADA on their new release Bad Enough.
Watch the interview here or read on below
Welcome to Up & Coming. We're going to talk with you today about yourself, your career, your music. You have a song that's just been released and we want to talk about that, of course. But yeah, let's just start from the beginning first and tell a little bit more about yourself.
Sounds good. Thanks for having me! So, yeah, my name is Jordan Rys. I'm 24 years old, based in Los Angeles, and I've been in the music game now for about six years. Not that long at all. I started up in a pop trio, as part of a boy group, where we made pop/R&B music. We were all best friends from my hometown in Pennsylvania, and we posted music online and around our school. We ended up signing to Capitol Records and moving out West. And ever since I moved out West, I never moved back. But that's how I got into music. I was just creating music with my best friends.
That's pretty cool. You were best friends already, or did you become best friends because of the music?
We were childhood best friends. So I've known the kids that I was in the group with since a very young age, since elementary school. My older brother did music and me being the youngest. I always wanted to be better than them. I didn't touch music for my whole life until I was like 17. And then I was like, "I think I can do better than literally everyone I know". So I tried, I could and I did.
Interesting! Most people would say that music has always been a big part of their life. That wasn't the case for you!
Not at all. I thought music people were nerds. I didn't want any part of them. I was a sports jock who didn't care about theatre, band music, anything like that. And I completely switched. But yeah, I did nothing music related up until I was 17 years old.
It's safe to say that you're quite good at music. When did you start to realize that this is actually something that you should continue with?
As cliche as it sounds, I was just singing in the shower like any normal person. And, you know, a lot of people, they have that thought in their head where it's like, "Hey, I sound pretty good". Like you're in the car singing along to a song or in the shower or something, and you think to yourself, "Oh, shoot, I really hit that note" or "Oh, shoot, I sound pretty good". And 90% of the time it's false. Don't trust that gut. But I guess I was just a rare case where I thought that maybe I actually can. It took a lot of honing in and took a lot of practice and studying other singers. It wasn't immediate, you know. But over the course of time, I started developing a singing voice.
So starting more in the urban genre and then you move more towards pop, right?
Very much so, yeah. I started very much urban, very pop, R&B. Dance music didn't come till the past year. I didn't even touch dance music for the first five years of making music.
Did you consider it or was it a deliberate choice not to do so?
I mean, where I was from and all the music that I listened to and my friends listened to, dance music just wasn't really that. It didn't cross my mind to do dance music. The only reason dance music came about for me was due to the fact that I posted a lot of covers on YouTube. I would have DJs reach out to me asking if they could use my vocals for remixes and for their own projects. I was lucky enough for one of the deejays to be my Turkish best friends, Arem and Arman. We just crushed it together and we did it really well and we had a great collaborative process. You know, finding that one or two people that you work really well with and then being consistent with them, I think is a really smart play for a lot of up and coming artists. It is about locking in with someone who is like minded. So, someone you can work with well and then just grind with that one person or two people or the same group for a while. I think it'll work out. That's what happened to me.
What did you like about your first collaborative project that made you realize this is something that I want to do in my future career?
I've always been a big proponent of following or going into the door, like... How do I word this? Let me start over. What's the kind of terminology that I want to use... Going through every open door. The path of least resistance. Whatever works. I don't like to force things. I like to just go with the flow. And dance music just seemed to come to me and I like to go through every door that's open. It came and fell in my lap. It went really well! I didn't have to try too hard. And if that's where I'm meant to go, then that's where I meant to go. That's where it was leading me. I feel like I answered the question. I kind of forgot what it was. My bad..
No makes a lot of sense! Thanks for your honesty! You see dance influence modern day pop music more and more now. So it also makes sense for you to dive in there or artists requesting vocalist with your kind of sound more. Would you agree with that?
I would definitely agree. I think what separates me from a lot of dance artists today is... First off, there's not many dance vocalists and songwriters that are my age and from America. I think American music has a really cool, trending sound. And I feel like I'm one of the only young men that are pursuing a career in the dance music space and bringing that sound, bringing that energy, bringing that lyrical content. These concepts are a little more scandalous, perhaps? Just this youthful energy that I bring I think is very unique. And I think the dance space is missing it a lot. That whole 'college music for college kids' in the dance space is definitely a missing factor. Since I grew up in that whole genre, bringing it to dance was really fun for me. And I think that's why a lot of producers liked me as a vocalist and as a songwriter for them is because I brought that.
Would it be a way to reach out to an even younger audience?
And what is there to like about dance music? Just taken from your perspective. What do you like about it, maybe even more than the genres you've previously focused on?
Well, dance music, on the business side, I think is one of the most collaborative genres in music. I love that about dance. Everyone is willing to work with everyone, and that's a beautiful thing. It allows for a great project to come out. Whereas other genres are very much more closed off and you can only get in if you know someone. And you know, a lot of artists only work with a certain amount of select people, whereas dance music, it's like "Hey everyone, come one, come all". Everyone's welcome in the dance. If anything, it's encouraged. They want different people and unique people on dance projects. And that's something special. I think it definitely creates a very freeing kind of music. It's why people are able to let loose with dance music. It's why people are able to have a good time with dance music because it's just very obvious that it's a very carefree, free spirited kind of music.
True that! And in terms of collaboration? You've been a sought-after vocalist since last year. What would you say is important for you when you're collaborating with other artists?
When it comes to collaboration or what I look for the most is just what makes sense. I'm going to be honest. I'm not the kind of guy that's going to sit here and be like "Oh, it's all about the art. They should have my vision and the same artistic taste". At the end of the day, talent is talent. So, if someone is talented and has a banger on their hands, or someone has written bangers in the past, and if they're really good people and it makes sense, if the business is there, then obviously I'm willing to collaborate. But at the end of the day, it does come down to some serious things. There are plenty of people out there where if they're friends and having a good time, having dinner together and the same likes and dislikes, then they're willing to work with each other. But me, I do like to keep my artistry kind of a business first. I feel like that's served me well. That's my personal preference on how I treat it. Other people have a different way and I respect that. But I'm just not that guy, you know, I'm be real.
It's great that you're being open and fair about that! You make music work for you on different levels. You're a vocalist,
but you also sell vocal packs with your own company. Is that an example of how you use music in a business sense?
Very much so. Absolutely.
How did you start that? You already mentioned that it's how you came into dance music, selling vocal packs online.
I can tell you how I started selling vocal and vocal packs, So, I used to be a sound engineer at a studio. Eventually I quit being a sound engineer and working at a studio because... First off, I was more than just a sound engineer. When people came to my studio, they would use me not just to record them. I would also help them write lyrics and help them make the song. I wasn't profiting on any of it. So, I felt like I was helping pursue other people's career and helping propel them. when I was staying on the back burner. Spending a lot of time on other people instead of myself. So, when I stopped doing that, everyone came to me and they said "I know you don't record people anymore, but how did you record my voice? How did you do this? Can you send me the template that you used to record my vocals?" And I'm like, "If you pay me, maybe I will". It was just in such hot demand. They all wanted it! And it was more than one person asking. I thought that maybe there's a business here. I Googled if this was available online and it was. First off, there were not that many. And the ones that there were just not good. So if you are an artist who is just starting out or wanting to record vocals. And you don't want to go to school for four years to learn how to engineer, you don't want to go to an expensive studio and pay an engineer $200 an hour. There are other options where an engineer will mix a voice and then save that file. And you can use it to mix your own voice the same exact way. It's a really great idea. It really does work. It's not too good to be true! And I spent a lot of time on that business as well.
It's pretty impressive for a 24 year old, right? You're not that old?
Yeah! I mean, I worked really hard. It's a funny story actually. I travelled to Mexico during the pandemic to get away from it all. For three months, I sat down near the beach on my laptop, built the whole thing, started promoting it on my YouTube channel, and got a couple of sales there. And then I just kind of took off. I think it was a really good idea and it's still working today.
Is that also something that you want to move forward with? Is the singing side, or the business side more important for you?
Oof! Which is more important? At the end of the day, I am a businessman. I'm pursuing both equally and I'm very good at time management. So I will definitely pursue artistry. And artistry will help my business and business will help the artistry. It works back and forth. So, I will definitely continue to pursue both areas equally well and come out with more, new products and keep innovating. Not only my music but my products as well.
Of course, thanks for being honest about that. I think it is so refreshing to hear your perspective on that. A lot of people can relate and understand what it's like.
I love talking business. I'll talk business all day!
Well, I did want to ask you another question, but it's not about business. It's about your future Now, just released ‘Bad Enough’ with YADAYADA. Can you tell me a little bit more about that song? What inspired you to write it?
Sure. So this song, Bad Enough that's coming out, was definitely written when I was not hearing enough American style dance music in the dance space. I really just wanted to write an American club banger. There are plenty of club bangers that are European inspired, but this one, when you listen to it, you're definitely going to be like "Okay, this definitely has an American taste and sound". Especially lyrically! It's just an area that I wish there was so much more of. Frankly, I just wish there were more American songwriters that did dance. I'm starting to find more and more diving deeper into dance music. But this song was really just me having fun with it, not really caring about going deep with the lyrics, but just having fun in a cool, trendy way. For a person that's my age, a lot of guys and girls are going to love this song. I don't know how to explain it too well. But it's a good song! It's a great song! It's very American inspired and that's how it came out to be.
Is the American part of it, in comparison to more European style music, more about having fun? Don't think about it too much, maybe less serious?
That's a good question. I think the difference between American lyrics and European lyrics are as follows. The way Americans talk about, using our lingo, using our terminology, the way we would actually say things in our slang and how carefree we are with the lyrics that we use. I feel like Europeans use proper English, you know. When I write music my lyrics are like, forget the rules! That's one thing I learned from hip hop: forget grammar, forget rules of English and just write what sounds cool. Sometimes I prefer a lyric that technically sounds cool over a lyric that makes sense grammatically. Just because at the end of the day, music is a feeling. Talking about, you know, romance and girls and clubs and parties in a way that an American would is very different. Listen to it and then you'll understand! [00:17:19][68.1]
I have listened to it already and I really like the song. I think it's very upbeat. Putting the music first and not overthinking things too much is what it's all about. Do you think that this is something that will continue to grow in modern day dance music?
I think it has to. The music has to evolve. The content has to transition. I think hip hop has been such a huge movement in the dance space. You know, hip hop is probably the most streamed genre in the world as of now. With Bad Bunny and Drake still crushing it. So many hip hop artists are really changing the boundaries of what we say in music. And sometimes people cross the line, in my opinion, as far as that goes. But I do think it has to evolve. I do think we need to be less caring about the rules of English and writing. And I think it definitely will evolve. Dance music in particular has a long way to go before we are singing about stuff that is real, more relatable, real lyrics that get specific, what people can actually relate to. But it's coming. And frankly, it's already here. And if it's not here, I'ma make it here. That's my job!
That's great thinking. Just one last thing. Anything else that you have coming up that you can already give a little scoop of?
You know, there's always stuff on the bag, I have a catalogue of songs that I've written over hundreds of songs. So, there is always something that is going to be coming out next. Like I said, it's all going to be American. It's all going to be for my generation. You know, it's for them, it's for the people and for me. I love listening to my own music. I don't care if that's arrogant to say! I'm excited! I'm going to explore a ton of different styles. I'm going to explore them all. I'm going to see what resonates the most and I'm going to keep pursuing it. But as far as any, like, scoops... Yeah, 2023 is going to be a big year for originals for me. I'm planning on releasing a lot... I wish I could give some specific juicy little tea, some piping hot tea about J. Rizzle! Other than just some fresh American music coming out, written by a young man. I think I'm gonna make some waves. I think I'm going to make the dance industry rethink everything. I'm going to bring a different flavour and everyone's going to love it. That's what it's going to be!
Keep an eye out for Jordan Rys!
Yeah. Keep your eye out!