2020 has been a year of peaks and valleys for Jordan Feliz. Riding high from the release of 2018’s Future, the California native expected to roll into 2020 with the release of a new collection of songs and to get back out on the road. But then the coronavirus pandemic hit and everything … stopped.
Instead of sharing his music with adoring audiences near and far, Feliz found himself homebound and unemployed. Despite the feelings of uncertainty that have come so naturally due to COVID-19, he dove into the songwriting process harder than ever. The end result is a new collection songs that make up Jordan’s third full length album, Say It.
Co-produced by Feliz’s longtime collaborator Colby Wedgeworth, Say It blends pop, soul, Gospel, and even a tinge of soul while offering some of his most heartfelt lyrics to date.*
The album’s current single, “Glorify”, has already reached number one on the Billboard Christian Hot AC/CHR national airplay chart.
I recently spoke to Jordan about the significance of why he decided to release Say It just one week prior to Christmas, why he poured everything he had into recording it, and how the thread of hope and heaven weaves itself throughout the album.
First off, how have you and your family been making it through the coronavirus pandemic this year?
Dude! You know what, man? Oddly enough, it’s been really awesome. Obviously there’s challenges. I haven’t had a job since March, so that’s been tough, trying to navigate all of that. But other than that, I know finances are a huge part of living and that’s been really tough on us. But, at the same time, with that sacrifice, there’s been so much beauty in just being able to be a husband and a dad in this season. There’s been so many things that have been such a bummer but there’s been so much that’s just been so incredible about it as well.
What the inspiration or the catalyst for your new, forthcoming album, Say It?
For me, this record is called Say It because I wanted to just remind everybody that the reason why we’re here is to elevate the name of Jesus. And if we’re not here for this, then really who needs us? It’s one of my favorite lines on the record. It’s something that we actually just said in a room while writing. When that line got said, it was kind of like this song and record is to point people to Jesus. Does it say the things that we feel like we’re needing to say? And it’s one of those things that I consistently felt like God kept saying, ‘Say it. Just say it. Say the things that are true. Say the things that are real, say the things that are authentic to you.’ Tell people who you are, tell people what He has done in your life. Don’t shy away from the things that are scary to say. Say it. It’s something that I just consistently felt in my heart and I put a lot of prayer into. It was really scary for a season because it’s like how far do I go here? But every single time I would pray I just kept feeling like the Lord was saying, ‘Yes, this is it. Keep going.’ So, that’s how this record came to be and I’m really excited about it. I actually don’t think I’ve ever been as excited for any music in my entire life. We’ve poured two years into this thing and it’s just been such a passion project. It’s something we really feel like the Lord has really blessed it. We’re just really excited for people to hear it.
Parade Magazine has already labeled Say It an “inspiring pop piece” and that “you’ll feel like dancing along to it”. How would you describe the musical feel and vibe?
I would probably come pretty close to what they said. It’s a massive pop record that’s got some Motown feel to it and some gospel vibes to it as well. This album is all about getting our life into a rhythm that only points to the Lord, which is really hard to do. I have to fight for it every day to remind myself that money is not what gives me peace. Trophies and cool stuff are not what gives me peace in life. It’s not what gives me joy. The Lord gives me joy. So, I hope that outside of the pop elements and how we’ve poured so much sonically into this record, that it is something where people would feel like they were listening to something that was so modern and so relevant, that they get lost in it and show it to people that aren’t believers. My hope for it is that it would bring people closer to God that are believers now and people that have never experienced who Jesus is and bring those people into His arms.
The album is set to release exactly one week before Christmas. It seems like interesting timing to me. Is there anything significant to read into that?
We had originally talked about releasing it in January of 2021. But it was kind of like 2020 is such a weird year. I think a lot of people in 2020 were just living their lives thinking they were going to achieve so much, achieve their dreams, their goals, and their aspirations. And then COVID-19 happened and there’s just nothing. You can’t work. You can’t do this. You can’t do that. You’re not going to build wealth. You’re not going to go buy a new car. You’re not going to go do this. You’re not going to go do that. You’re going to sit at home and you’re going to appreciate and thank God for what you have. I think for me, that has been the reason why I’ve really loved the idea of pushing this record and putting it out at the end of this year. That’s what this record is about. It’s about the fact that this is not about our agenda. This isn’t about the things that we can do in our lives. It’s not about the things that we can accumulate. It’s about the everlasting things that we can cultivate in our lives. I feel like I’ve had more spiritual elevation in my life, in the last year than I have in my entire life. For me, that’s why we really wanted this album to be out in December because if there is a year that this record can be tied to, this is the year I want to be tied to.
This is your fourth album and you have indicated that you have never worked harder on a recording project. What is special or different about Say It?
Honestly, I think it’s because I actually poured everything I had into it. Obviously, I’m so proud of those previous projects and we poured a lot into those. But I think this is the first record that I’ve poured so much into it that I had nothing left to say at the end of it. There were no, oh man, I wish we would’ve just finished this idea. Or, I’m listening to demos and this song is kind of still leaping out at me and it’s not on the record. I have had zero of that. We’ve literally just poured every ounce of every fiber of authenticity into it. This album is the true, genuine character of who I am in God.
I know it’s early to say this, but it’s like the payoff has already happened for me. It’s not like I need this record to be the number one record in the country, or I need these songs to be the best, the biggest songs in my career. This album is for kingdom building. The payoff has already happened because I’ve already been able to pour everything I have into it and really be real on this project. This is for kingdom building and that’s the purpose, period.
There seems to be a thread of “the hope of heaven” that sort of weaves itself throughout the entire album. Would that be an accurate assessment? If so, why?
A hundred percent, man. That is one of the biggest promises that we’ve received from the Cross. The life of Jesus has been the hope of heaven. By His stripes we’ve been paid for. I felt consistently through the writing process of this record that God just kept telling me to say the things that He’s done continually, to claim the things that He’s done. Claiming things in the name of Jesus is so incredibly powerful. We’ve seen it happen this year more than ever. I think that’s why you probably feel that. It’s very prevalent because it’s something that the Lord has achieved for every single person on this planet. And that’s something that I feel like He’s really poured over me to say and really remind people of on this record.
Final question, after people have listened to Say It, what would you like listeners to get out of the experience? What is your greatest hope for the album?
I think my hope more than anything is that people are just reminded of who Jesus truly is in their lives. He is our provider. He’s everything for us. It’s not anything that this world can offer, that’s going to bring you the things that you really need. I want people to listen to this record and be reminded of that all this stuff we deal with in this life is just empty. It’s just empty. You’re going to have momentary happiness with things in this world, but nothing is going to bring you the everlasting joy that Jesus will bring you. I’m talking about the everlasting peace, the everlasting hope that He gives. For me, I hope that people hear this record and they’re just reminded of that and I hope that people will go out and remind others of it after they hear this. I hope that people will continue to go and say the name of Jesus, claim the name of Jesus. That’s really what I hope people take away from this thing.
Watch a music video of “Glorify”, the first single from Jordan Feliz’s latest release, Say It: