To say 2023 has been a bumper year for Jordan Ward would be an understatement. He’s released his acclaimed debut album, FORWARD, toured with the likes of Smino and JID, appeared at J. Cole’s Dreamville festival and is currently on the road with Atlanta crooner 6lack. Still, in between all that, he’s managed to fit in the deluxe version of his album, too, aptly titled moreward(FORWARD). Building on the original’s emotive storytelling, touching on themes of personal evolution and romantic and familial love, Ward brings three additional tracks that continue to elevate and expand R&B to all its potential.
After leaving St. Louis at just 18 years old to pursue professional dance in Los Angeles, everything Jordan Ward would experience inherently ties his debut album together. The 28-year-old grew up singing and dancing around his neighbourhood and school and eventually became involved in musical theatre, joining a dance studio to train in ballet, tap, jazz and hip-hop. In his early 20s, Ward began touring as a backup dancer for stars like Justin Bieber and Becky G; however, his rekindled love for singing would be the greatest benefit of those experiences. After gaining encouragement from those around him to pursue his passion, the artist would go on to release his debut EP, A Peak at the Summit, in 2017 – an early display of the buttery smooth vocals, sing/rap style and vivid songwriting we’d come to know him for.
Sitting with the artist’s discography, in particular his latest effort, it doesn’t take long to realise how expressly talented Ward is. His music musters up a wanderlust of emotions, and his lush harmonies will circle around your head long after you finish one of his tracks. And with a solo European tour scheduled for this winter, Ward’s momentum is set to continue long into the new year. Although after that, you’d be forgiven for taking some time off, Jordan.
Here, we sit down with Ward during his time in the UK to discuss moreward(FORWARD), linking up with 6lack and much more…
Hey Jordan! You’ve just released the deluxe for FORWARD, congrats! What made you want to release those extra tracks into the world?
These were just some of my favourites that came together towards the end of the album process. I always wanted to release them, so when the time came to it, it was a no brainer really.
Since the release of your debut album, how would you say life has changed for you during that period?
A lot of it is the same! Studio, working out, hanging with friends, smoking. These past few months, however, have been the craziest of my life, lots of shows, travelling, and making cool shit with the homies.
Across the deluxe and original, what track is your personal favourite and why?
On the original, my favourite would be ‘0495’. But ‘ZOOMIES’ has always been my favourite. It just gives me the craziest, silliest feeling.
You’ll soon be joining 6lack on tour, who you also had on your album – how did you two first meet, and what’s your relationship like with him?
I met 6lack a couple of years ago backstage at a festival called Smokin Grooves in LA. He’s super cool and always showed love/encouragement in passing.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I like to keep it pretty chill – morning workout, vocal warm-ups, relaxed green room, smoke, tea, prayer, hug Kato.
As you’re in the UK right now, what’s one thing you love and one thing you’re not so fond of here?
I love the melting pot of cultures. But I don’t like how they be tripping about weed out here!
If you could be any film/TV character, who would it be?
I’d be Timmy Turner. He was going crazy!
What was the last song that made you cry?
Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Mother I sober’ going into ‘Mirror’.
What track are you playing to get a party started?
‘Diddy Crop’ by Amindi.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Save your money, it’ll save you.
Who do you look up to the most?
My mum, manager, Nipsey Hussle, Smino, Tyler, the creator, and my cousins.