Jordan Feliz is a hardworking musician and singer, husband and father. He’s spent much of his time the past few years on the road, joining tours and headlining his own venues. His first radio single “The River” was named ASCAP’s Song of the Year and reached Gold certification. He won the 2016 Dove Award for New Artist of the Year. He and his wife welcomed their second child in 2018. And just six years ago, Jordan was valeting cars in downtown Nashville.
The whirlwind wasn’t slowing down. He was running full-time and needed a break.
In an interview with his record label Centricity Music, Jordan shared, “I just kind of realized how much I was holding my career almost as an idol above God and above my family. I just really lost myself. All of a sudden, I hit a wall, and I just kind of self-destructed.”
Jordan wisely took this past December and January off, but soon jumped into rehearsals for his part on TobyMac’s 2020 tour, Hits Deep. They had barely been on the road when COVID-19 derailed their plans.
“[It] was amazing and a huge blessing to be able to find some rest. When you get to about five or six weeks off, that’s whenever you really start to shut down, so two months was great…Now we’re on month three of shutdown or month four, actually. I mean, we’re just going to feel like raring and ready to go by the time this is over!
“We were on Hits Deep, and we pulled into Little Rock, Arkansas. We were supposed to play a show that night and then everything got canceled. It was like the country overnight had basically shut down. So we, me and my entire team, we hopped up on the tour bus and we’re driving back to Nashville and we just started talking about what it was going to look like. We went into this moment of about 10 minutes of praying together and coming together and just saying, ‘Lord, we’re trusting you.’
“I had been praying through that next morning. And then I literally just felt the Holy Spirit come over me and say ‘rest and dream. ‘ And so, in this season I feel very called to those two words because it felt like it’s an instruction from the Lord.”
Jordan says he finds comfort and reassurance from Psalm 91. Knowing that he, his family, and his team are “sheltered in the shadow of the Most High” has allowed him to find joy during this “weird time.”
“The fact that we live and we can reside in that shadow…we’re sheltered from the storm. We’re sheltered from everything. We don’t have to worry. We don’t have to fear stress, anything like that.”
The season that has just passed, he says, was full of anxiety and stress and messed-up priorities, but that now things were starting to change. A global pandemic created even more change – and a new potentially difficult season.
“I think that I started this year on the path to getting back to being healthy and really during Hits Deep was a life changing season for me. I was really in a season of being able to navigate my family and my marriage and all these things and also have my career and stay driven.”
There was a lot of prayer, tears, and hard conversations over the past couple of years, but he is thankful he was able to establish a healthy foundation.
“If I was still in that severe anxious – severe stress, I think this season would really be ripping me apart. I feel so much pressure, like the pressure to provide, the pressure to perform – all these things. I think that the start of this year really hammered it in that we’re never going back to that, ‘cause that’s not what you’re created to be, you know?
“My family’s been super stoked to have me home, and as much as the season has been so chaotic and a little bit stressful and all that stuff it’s been an incredible blessing to rest and have time to be a husband and be a dad. Also thankful for this forced stop of my career – to be able to take time to pour into my family. It’s been awesome to see the countenance of my family completely shift and change just by having me home. We’re just, we’re enjoying it. It’s been awesome.”
When I spoke with him recently, his new single “Glorify” that first hit the airwaves in May was about to be released with a dynamic mix featuring the stylings of TobyMac and Gotee Records artist Terrian. The idea for a remix of his song “Glorify” developed while on the Hits Deep Tour. Jordan’s music has his own distinctive style, but he has also peppered his sound with different genres from his fellow artists.
“We decided for the first time ever to play a new song live before it gets released. He started playing it and it was just one of those songs, you know? I’m so honored to be a part of it. And this isn’t me speaking from a, like ‘I’m so awesome’ or something, but it’s just one of those songs that quickly got everybody’s attention. The moment we played it live in front of the crowd, the moment we played it in front of all the artists on the tour, all of a sudden it was like, you’re in a room with 10,000 people that have never heard a song before but by the end of it, they’re freaking out about it.
“One of my dreams has been to collab with TobyMac…I really wanted him to be on this project with me in some way. So I hunkered up all the nerve, I mean, Toby’s a friend and he’s my bro, but I never really asked him for anything in my entire life. So I was kinda nervous.
“He came back and was just like, ‘Bro, I’ve been waiting for you to ask me!’ The girl who is on it, her name is Terrian and she’s a newer artist on Gotee, which is Toby’s label, and Terrian sings backup for Toby. She’s one of my favorite singers – she’s just insanely good. I’m just super pumped.”
Even as new projects are being developed, including an album set for release in January 2021, Jordan looks forward to returning to live events – in person. The prospect of shutting down for an extended period is daunting. Jordan and his wife are not immune to hardship and have prepared for lean times, but as he points out,
“I don’t know really a whole lot of people on the face of the planet to have a year’s worth of income just sitting around! We’ve been okay, but at the same time, we can’t take a year off. It’s one of those things where it forced us to kind of have the conversation of ‘We don’t need any of this.’ Like if we had to go live in a hut, we’d still be happy. And so that’s been kind of the beautiful thing about this – we’ve been talking about ‘What if we just bought an RV, sold everything, and started driving around the country? So it’s kind of gotten us into this zone – we’re just down for an adventure together as a family, ’cause that’s what’s truly gonna make us really happy.”
So, how did music become the center of Jordan’s life? He tells me that when he was in second grade, his parents made him take piano lessons. He begrudgingly complied, and the experience became the foundation for his love of music. By the time he reached eighth grade, Jordan was eager to make the transition into drumming. The problem was, he had no one to teach him.
“What I did was I’d tell my parents that I wanted to show up to church early to skateboard, ’cause we had like a six stair and I was a big skateboarder in that time. I would go skate for a minute, but then I’d actually just go and try to learn how to play the drums.”
After six months of teaching himself how to play, Jordan’s youth pastor encouraged him to join the worship band. One Sunday, he lovingly pushed Jordan into leading worship.
“My youth pastor, he’s an amazing human being. He believed in me from day one. He totally guilted me and said, ‘If you’re not going to do it, I guess we just won’t have worship this morning.’ He walked up to me after church and he was like, ‘Man, I’m going to be honest. I think you have an anointing on you for this. I’m serious’ …And I started leading worship and then I started a little garage band and we wrote songs about girls that we had crushes on.”
What followed next sounds like the script of a Hallmark Movie. He and his wife had only been married for a couple of months when Jordan flew to Nashville for a songwriting session with a good friend. He ended up falling in love with the city, and came home with a crazy idea.
“‘Baby, I think we have to move to Nashville.’ So we prayed about it for a year. I had taken a job at a church in my home town, so it was a little bit weird to get a job and then automatically decide to move to non-stability. But we did it. We moved a year later and the day that we got to Nashville I was walking across the street in downtown Franklin, which is basically like the hub of Christian music.
“I had gone to a Starbucks and I was walking out and I had this lady walk over to me and go, ‘Hey you look like you’re in a band. And my friend David, who was with me said ‘You have to check them out – he’s amazing!’ And so she goes, ‘Oh, what kind of music do you do?’ And I said,’ Oh, well I actually just moved here because I felt called to do Christian music. And she goes, ‘Well, I was in a Christian band called FFH. And I literally was like, ‘Oh my gosh! My parents have every one of your records, every single one of them!
This stranger was none other than contemporary Christian artist Jennifer Deibler, and their chance encounter started opening doors for Jordan to showcase his gift to the world.
“I ended up emailing her a bunch of demos that night. And then like three months later, I started talking to a bunch of labels in town. And here I am, we’re having a conversation about record three. So it’s crazy. Yeah. I mean, that’s what got me here.”
Check out the remix of “Glorify” below!