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Jordan Knight has been famous for more than half his life. He was all of 14 when he joined New Kids On the Block and by 18 he had become a household name and global heartthrob as the group’s preternaturally handsome lead singer. For ten years he traveled the world with the famed boy band. Then, in 1994, when the band split up, Knight went on to enjoy a successful solo career. As a solo artist he’s achieved massive success on the dance, pop and AC charts, toured the world, has been nominated for MTV VMAs, appeared as a judge on American Juniors, a houseguest on The Surreal Life and also managed to find time to have a family and build a strong home life. In 2007 the New Kids reunited and Knight has been on the road again off and on ever since.
Through all the ups and downs of a life in show business, Knight has managed to stay true to his innate sense of optimism. And now, as he prepares to release his first solo album in five years, Unfinished, the singer is feeling as giddy and excited about the future as he did when he was a teenager. “One of the reasons the album is titled Unfinished is I’ve been working on it for a year and a half,” he explains. “But it’s also about realizing that even when people count you out, even when they say you’re finished, you’re not. As long as you’re alive, your life is never finished.
You can always learn something new. You can always grow. You can always learn a new craft, a new art, you can always take what you do and breathe new life into it. It’s a hopeful message.”
Knight’s sense of optimism is an innate part of his character, but his business savvy has been earned the hard way through experience. “I’ve been in the music business a long time and what I’ve learned is that the only person who is going to watch your back is yourself,” Knight explains. “The person that’s going to take the best care of your project is yourself.” To that end, Knight isn’t taking any chances this time around. He’s personally involved in every aspect of Unfinished, from writing and producing to partnering with Marcus Siskind of Mass Appeal Entertainment to launch the record label, JK Music that will release it. “I’m trying to be a business man and a recording artists all at the same time,” Knight explains. The entrepreneurial spirit runs deep in Knight, but at his core, he’s an artist, and his business plan for success begins with great songs. “The songs have to be the driving force,” Knight explains. “And I know that I have collected some good songs for this album.”
He certainly has. The first single “Let’s Go Higher” is an infectious syncopated dance smash that feels both instantly familiar and truly innovative. “I had this cool track and I was looking for a writer to help me finish the song,” Knight recalls. “I kept saying to myself, ‘Colby O’Donis, Colby O’Donis, Colby O’Donis.’”
O’Donis, a young singer and songwriter who toured with the New Kids and made a name for himself by
collaborating with Lady Gaga on the vocals for “Just Dance.” Knight’s team called O’Donis and asked if
he’d write something for Unfinished. “He said, ‘yeah I could do that for sure but I think I have a song that
Jordan may like so I’m going to send that in the meantime,’” Knight recalls. “The song he sent was the first
single, ‘Let’s Go Higher.’”
The rest of the album came together with the same kind of casual ease: every time he found himself at a
crossroads, Knight just looked to his instincts to guide him. “One More Night,” delivers a primal trance feel but with the melancholic lyrical overtones of a classic ballad. “I wrote that track with Nasri Atweh (Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, Vanessa Hudgens,)” the singer explains. “He kept saying that everything on the radio has some hard element, that you’ve gotta have some kind of hip hop element. And then he started singing something pretty and I was like, no that’s what we need! You have to let go and let the flow and the emotion take you instead of always following trends because if you think too much with your
head it’s not heartfelt.”
The album’s title track was another in what Knight describes as many “serendipitous” moments on this record. He scheduled a writing session in Los Angeles with producer Mike Krompass (Nelly Furtado, Natasha Beddingfield, David Archuleta). As he was pulling into Krompass’ driveway he saw songwriter Kasia Livingston (Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Pussycat Dolls) drive up as well. The two had worked together before (Livingston and Donnie Wahlberg wrote the New Kids’ 2008 tune “2 In The Morning” together) but he didn’t know she knew Krompass and he hadn’t anticipated getting to work with her again. “The skies opened up,” he recalls. “I’m like oh my god I get to hang out with Kasia and write a song?” They were sitting around Krompass’ studio sketching out the song details. They ended up with a midtempo little chord progression, a nugget of an idea, really. “We were thinking we should use my falsetto with a little bit of a yodel to make it a Jordan Knight signature song,” the singer recalls. “So we messed around with some melodies and she said ‘Let me sleep on it.’ She came back the next day and said, ‘something happened and I think I nailed it.’ I listened once and said, ‘wow, yeah, you did nail it.’”
Knight wrote his first Billboard Hot 100 #1 hit song “I’ll Be Your Everything” at the age of 17 for singer Tommy Page. After selling over 80 million albums worldwide through the release of 6 group albums, Knight broke from NKOTB to embark on a successful solo career, which produced 4 Top 40 singles. His critically acclaimed debut self‐titled album release in 1999 became RIAA certified gold and produced the Billboard Top 10 single, “Give It To You,” which sold over a million copies and was nominated for Best Dance Video at the MTV Video Music Awards. With the 2008 release of The Block, NKOTB’s returned to the charts once again; the album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Pop Album chart and #2 on the overall Top 200 chart. The group promoted their new release through a sold‐out, 48‐city worldwide tour and following the release of “Unfinished” on May 3rd, Knight will be returning to the road this summer with NKOTB for their highly anticipated co‐headlining 41‐city tour with the Backstreet Boys, which kicks off on June 2nd in Uncasville, CT at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
Jordan Knight’s path, from boy band leader to solo artist and back again, has been long and storied. And as he looks forward to the next few months and years, its clear that Knight has a lot on his plate, but his approach to it all can be summed up with three key words: “bring it on.” “Life is always blossoming,” Knight explains. “New opportunities and new horizons are always there if you are just open to them. With this album, I’m not trying to make a statement, I just want people to enjoy these songs. I want them to feel each song, whether they dance to it or it makes them sad or it makes them feel energized or inspired or hopeful or angry. This album is about bringing out the emotion.” Knight has the benefit of approaching this release with his signature combination of youthful optimism and hard‐earned confidence. “A lot of people record 150 songs for an album,” Knight muses. “That’s great for them, but I’m like, well, my album has twelve songs on it and I’ve recorded … twelve songs. I’m on point with this one.”
Source: [ StarPittsburgh.radio.com ]