Pop Artist Jordy Spins His Dating Drama Into A Heartfelt Debut Album
When Jordy unveiled the music video for “If He’s in Your Bed,” off his new album “Mind Games,” it felt like a sexy throwback to the kind of carefree fun much of the world hasn’t enjoyed for nearly two years.
The clip, released in September, finds Jordy ― whose real name is Jordan Shulman ― lounging on a backyard patio and eyeing a hunky lifeguard (Owen DeValk) across a swimming pool. Soon, the two men are sharing a splashy embrace and even some playful “resuscitation,” but their sun-drenched romp ends abruptly when it’s revealed not everyone is quite as innocent as they appear.
The campy imagery of “If He’s in Your Bed” makes it easy to overlook the song’s emo lyrics, which allude to a less-than-satisfactory hookup and its aftermath. It’s also one of many compelling highlights on “Mind Games,” which hit streaming platforms last week. The album’s 12 songs range from buoyant, synth-driven anthems (“Long Distance”) to wistful ballads (“South Dakota”) and, collectively, offer a sonic snapshot of what it means to be queer, single and 20-something in 2021.
Jordy co-wrote many of the songs on “Mind Games” during the COVID-19 pandemic, and not surprisingly, his lyrics seem imbued by those seemingly endless months of self-isolation. These days, the Los Angeles-based singer is frank in his desire to be swept away by a relationship, as evidenced by “I Just Want To Be Loved” and “Till It Hurts,” the latter of which finds him pledging to be a lover’s “masochist.” But he also hints at deeper insecurities, notably on “Dressed Up in a T-shirt,” which could very well be the first song to acknowledge the body image dissatisfaction prevalent in the gay community.
“I feel like there’s an innocence to my project that’s very true to who I am,” Jordy told HuffPost in an interview. “But as a 26-year-old guy who lives in a city where men are very hard to navigate and app culture is really toxic and dating is very, very hard … I want to let people in on more of that, because these are things that a lot of people experience.”
“I’ve always been an open book, and sex is one of those things that everyone does but is too afraid to talk about,” he continued. “I want to break down those stigmas, break down those walls and inspire people to speak up about their experiences.”
His music career, however, began in earnest in 2017, when he released the single “Gotta Leave” independently. Along the way, he racked up more than 258,000 TikTok followers via live performances and delightfully self-effacing videos.
Though Jordy’s use of male pronouns in love songs may not seem so daring in the era of Lil Nas X and Troye Sivan, he encountered music professionals early on who didn’t support his willingness to reflect his truth as a gay man.
“I’ve had instances with producers, agents and people on the business side, who’ve said, ‘You’re performing too gay,’ or are just ignorant,” he said. “But these are people I definitely don’t want to be surrounding myself with anyway, so it’s not a huge loss. I work with too many incredible people who don’t give me those issues.”
There’s no denying Jordy’s exceptional knack for crafting an earworm, and by all accounts, “Mind Games” is a heartfelt, slickly produced collection of bops. Whether the album will catapult him toward mainstream fame, of course, remains to be seen. For now, he’s focused on proving his mettle as a live performer as he gears up for an 11-city U.S. tour that kicks off in San Francisco later this month.
He’s also quick to look beyond streaming numbers in proclaiming the project a personal triumph in more ways than one.
“I’m a Midwestern boy who has always dreamed of doing what I’m doing right now, and it’s been a journey with a lot of ups and downs,” he said. “I want people to feel seen and heard, that they have a community, that they have a space to feel safe and loved in. That’s what I was looking for as a kid, a teenager, a young adult. So I want to create that for other people.”