Jourdan Myers: Life's not a pop song


Jourdan Myers | Aster Cafe | Tuesday, September 9
Earlier this year, Minneapolis singer Jourdan Myers was fed up with the Midwest's harshest winter in decades. She picked up copies of new album, Ruin Me With Love, and headed southeast for North Carolina.

Fast forward to the end of summer, and Myers is back in the Cities to officially release Ruin Me With Love. The record hovers on the edges of folk and soul with production that mixes both acoustic and electronic elements. Myers creates comforting songs acknowledging the transience of life and the importance of metamorphosis.


Myers is all smiles as she grabs a seat in Rebecca's Bakery. Nearby, a Somali woman serves Italian pastries and kindly greets customers. Meanwhile, 101.3 KDWB blasts over the speakers. Each top 40 hit has been overplayed by this point -- trying its hardest to be named "song of the summer." The sounds cause the vocalist to ponder pop music.

"A lot of my new album was written out of being sick and stuck in a job that I really hated and feeling trapped," she says. "Even though my personality is bubbly, most of my music is not like that. Life's not like that; life's not a pop song. You can't tie it up in a pretty bow. Yeah, 'Call Me, Maybe,' can be fun. And it's easily relatable on a surface level, but people have souls. We're human beings, and we want to connect and feel that we're understood. I can't be fake about that. That's not to say there's not value in pop music. It absolutely has a place in this world, it's just not my place."

That constant search to find where she belonged began when Myers was a young girl in Eden Prairie where she studied voice and classical piano. The young prodigy's first recital consisted of her mom having to draw illustrations for lyrics to "My Favorite Things" because Myers was too young to read. She eventually went on to win first place in Eden Prairie Idol, the suburb's version of American Idol.

A career in music was always on the horizon, but Myers took a stab at the "practical life" and went to Iowa for a year of college, then finished her degree at the University of Minnesota. She eventually took a job at a finance firm to try to fit into a normal career, but she exclaims, "I'm not normal! I need to embrace that!"

That embracing of the musician life led to her first album, which took three years to finish, because her producer left town toward the end of finishing up. By the time she eventually released it, she had moved on musically. On her latest album, Myers commissioned the help of Matt Patrick to produce Ruin With Me Love.

Most of the creative process happened in the Twin Cities, where she worked with Patrick, along with a list of musicians that includes many prominent names around town (Jasper Nephew, Teddy Reimer, and Jeremy Ylvisaker on electric guitar, Aaron Fabbrini on bass guitar, Zach Miller on drums, Ben Rosenbush on cello/vocals, Jake Armerding on violin, and Kenni Holman on saxophone). Since she wasn't as familiar with the other instruments, she gave her band free rein on helping shape their contributions.

Her track "The Fight" echoes Feist. While it can viewed as universal, she talks about her recent struggles and pushing through to persevere. During the whole recording process, Myers was sick. Not able to pin down what was making her so ill for so long, she ultimately learned it was Lyme Disease. After a long winter, she left town to recover in Raleigh, North Carolina. The new city was a nice change for her, but she felt it was a "big small town," meaning everyone knew everyone. Jourdan moved back to Minnesota to settle in Minneapolis. "Because I'd been living in the suburbs my whole life, I feel like I've moved to a new city," she says. "I just want to meet people who do what I do."

Her wired, high energy crosses an outgoing personality with an extremely introverted one. "I write out everything in a journal and process things verbally, but I'm a super deep thinker and very analytic and emotional," she says. "When I write, I'm working through things in my life. I was trying to push through things. There's things in life that we're not going to win, but there's things worth fighting for. On the other side of those challenges, we are stronger, and we find we have grown. Our character is better, and we can see life more clearly. Even if we feel we've lost something, a lot of times, the part of us that dies is the part we wouldn't want to keep anyways."

Jourdan Myers will release Ruin Me With Love at the Aster Café on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 with Ben Rosenbush & the Brighton.
18+, $8, 9 p.m.

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