Jordan Rakei On How Imitation Leads To Inspiration
Newly signed to Ninja Tune, Jordan Rakei has battled his inner demons and written an inspirational, soul-stirring record in the process.
An often overlooked but nonetheless powerful sign of an accomplished musician is the point at which, upon listening to a track or entire body of work, we struggle to pin down the age, place, and time of the artist behind it. With a fistful of highly praised releases under his belt and a soulful, jazz and hip-hop driven sound that recalls his predecessors The Roots and peers The Internet, Nick Hakim and Hiatus Kaiyote, 25 year-old multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and producer Jordan Rakei is a rare talent whose artistry transcends the confines of age.
The Brisbane based artist, has steadily been making waves with his experimental blend of lo-fi soul. He has also provided vocals for the likes of Disclosure, Ta-ku, and Tom Misch to name a few.
LYFSTYL had a chance to speak with Rakei about his early years and his development as an artist.
What was growing up in Australia like? Did you grow up in a musical household?
Growing up in Australia was amazing. I went to school at two multi-cultural schools, so I picked up different music influences from an early age. My parents loved music, and had it always playing around the house. I was very lucky to be in that supportive household.
When did you decide to start making it?
I never really decided to start making music. I’ve always just enjoyed making it, and still continue to not think it’s my job. I began making music for fun around 11 on a program called Fruity Loops and it’s been an ever changing journey since then.
Tell us about your music. How did you develop your sound?
Imitation leads to inspiration. It’s sort of the way I’ve developed and found my sound over the years. In my teens I was a fan of Kanye and Pharrell; then moved to Fat Freddy’s Drop, D’angelo, and Radiohead. It’s always changing. But now I’ve removed myself from listening to music and have found my current sound. The more music I listen to, the more it sub-consciously influences me.
Do you have a favourite track that you’ve written?
My Favourite track is on my upcoming album [Wallflower].
It’s quite obvious listening to your music that your influences are pretty varied, what or who has been your biggest influence?
Though it doesn’t translate as much into my music, I’d say my two big influences would be Radiohead and Saul Williams. Creative minds that are fearless and they constantly inspire me.
How many instruments do you play and which is your favourite?
I play piano, guitar, bass and like to think I can play drums haha. My favourite is piano.
What’s your favourite release of the year thus far and why?
Kamasi Washington – The Epic. Because…..it’s EPIC…..
You’ve collaborated with lots of big name musicians throughout your career. Do you have a favourite artist that you have worked with?
The musician I’ve most enjoyed working with is Street Rat. A friend of mine from Australia. We’ve made some amazing music together.
Are there any other artists that you would like to collaborate with?
James Blake and Thom Yorke.
What’s next for Jordan Rakei?
My album. SO SO SO excited to get some new music out, and really excited to tour parts of the world I’ve never seen.