The earliest songs on Jordan Sandidge’s in-progress solo album arrived in 2016, with work intensifying in 2020 during the early months of the pandemic.
Sandidge, who records and performs under the name Jordidge, said the reasons for the slow progress are manifold. For one, he’s had to learn how to simultaneously navigate the business and creative ends of the music industry, which can be a crunch on his limited free time. But perhaps more importantly, he said he needed the time and space to dig down to the core of what these songs were meant to be, which has led to a series of rewrites, each version scraping away another layer of dirt, leading Sandidge closer to the bones he knows exist beneath the surface.
“I think that’s also why it sometimes takes so long for a solo artist to drop their self-titled album,” said Sandidge, who will perform at the Lincoln Theatre on Friday, Nov. 17. “They’re still trying to remove the mask as much as they can, or to dig down and find that deeper truth in themselves. And I think I’m still searching for what I want to say. I know I have things to say; I’m saying them already. But I think I’m still digging to find that truth. And there’s beauty in that journey.”
Sandidge, for his part, comes across as an artist compelled to explore these types of epic voyages, describing his in-process debut as one that chronicles a life from birth to death, homing in on the loves and relationships that conspire to give existence greater meaning.
“The first song is called ‘Born Again,’ and then the next song is called ‘Roleplay,’ and it’s a play on being in love, but also feeling like a child in love. It's like when you’re on the playground and seeing that person for the first time, and you don’t fully know what love is yet, but you know you want to be as close to them as possible,” Sandidge said.
As the album progresses, the complexities of these feelings deepen, the musician exploring a full kaleidoscope of emotions, including regret, anger, resentment and, eventually, the deep contentment and sense of caring that can develop between partners who manage to negotiate these wild rivers and make it to the tranquil bank existent on the other side.
For Sandidge, part of the experience of creating this record has involved living these emotions and experiences. “There are aspects of that, yes, and I had to live through some of those things before I could bring them to light,” he said. “And now that I have, it’s like I need to get them out as soon as I can. But at the same time, it’s still a precious kind of thing.”
While Sandidge hasn’t shied from exploring his experiences on record in the past – the musician fronts both the Turbos and Sounds May Swell – he said there’s an additional pressure that comes from releasing the music under his own name, where these other projects provide him with a degree of cover and anonymity. “In Sounds May Swell, I can more or less hide, but I can also be as bare as possible,” he said. “And because of that, there’s a level of vulnerability I’ve allowed myself in there, where I just get to gush all over this soundscape.”
Working alone has also forced Sandidge to navigate his myriad musical interests, describing his innards as a tangle of rock ‘n’ roll, hip-hop, folk, R&B and metal, each of which reflects some part of his soul and experience. “I’m wrestling with all of these sounds, all of these aspects of myself, and trying to pull them all through to let people see who I am,” said Sandidge, who recently penned his first Spanish-language song, shaped in part for his love of Latin music by artists such as Rodrigo, a singer who can deliver a syllable with such feeling that it can buckle Sandidge’s knees even when he can’t extract the full meaning of his words.
“In Your Favor,” released in September, finds the musician bridging these myriad musical gaps, melding soul, art rock and even glitchy electronica for a track that moves with a forward momentum that bleeds into Sandidge’s words. “I don’t want to be your anchor,” he sings.
Indeed, the idea of holding anything back – his partner, himself – runs counter to what Sandidge envisions for his work as a solo artist.
“With Jordidge, through this process and through being in the studio, I’ve learned how I’ve been reserving myself, and how I’ve shielded myself,” said Sandidge, who went on to recount how he worked through various drafts of “Restraint” before landing on what he now believes is the definitive version of the song. “It was missing something, and as much as the song was talking about the frustration of a relationship, I hadn’t really gotten to the root of it. But going through the process, working on it all these different times, going through all these versions, I finally found something. … There might be times when you say a thing and it paints a cute picture, but sometimes you have to keep going to dig out the truth.”