Pop singer Jordan Knight has been breaking hearts since the boy band New Kids on the Block hit it big. He worked the reality show circuit on the Surreal Life for VH1 for a few different projects. Jordan’s solo career reached the top ten on Billboard’s Hot 100 with single “Give It to You.” His third solo album Unfinished hit number eight on Billboard’s Independent Albums chart. We talked to him before his recent show in Joliet.
Jerry Nunn: Hi, Jordan. The fans have been outside since ten in the morning.
Jordan Knight: I feel for them.
JN: There is going to be about 900 people in this space tonight.
JK: That will be crazy! It will be jamming.
JN: We are the same age. What age did you start singing?
JK: I started singing really young, five or six years old. I started in choirs and singing around the house. We would go to church and I would hear the choir sing. I would sing all the songs after church. I begged my mother to get me in the church choir.
JN: How did you get into the music business?
JK: I got into the business through the New Kids on the Block. Donnie Wahlberg gave me a call. I knew him from elementary school. A music producer had already heard about him because he used to rap. He put on little shows of his own. The producer wanted to start a group with Donnie then recruited me because he knew I was singer. We just went from there.
JN: From what I have read you wanted to learn to write music and taught yourself growing up.
JK: I always had a keyboard in my room. I would listen to Beatles music. I would listen to whatever was on the radio and try to pluck it out or play it on the piano. I have been doing that since I was really young. I always had a natural liking to music.
JN: When NKOTB blew up the merchandise was everywhere. Was there a point where it was too much?
JK: It got to be a little much. It was in demand that was why they were making it. A merchandise company wouldn’t press up a bunch of dolls to have them sit on the shelf. There definitely was a demand for them. I don’t know how good it did for us image wise. At a certain it was too much.
JN: I played the single “Give It to You” all the time.
JK: Thank you, thank you, thank you.
JN: How rewarding was it for you to take out on your own and do your own thing?
JK: It is always rewarding to do your own thing. It is also rewarding to do it inside of a group too. When you have done it on your own then you know you did alone and called all the shots. Sometimes you just want to control the whole situation. That is very satisfying and rewarding.
JN: With the new album being on an independent label there must be even more control.
JK: Yes, it is on my label along with another producer from Boston. It is independently released and distributed through eOne. They are a big company but still an independent label. That is another great thing about this album is that I control the whole release and helped produce every song on the record.
JN: Why is the album called Unfinished? Does it still feel unfinished?
JK: No. It is called Unfinished because when I was making it ideas kept coming and coming. It could have been always unfinished. I could have and still do make music. It is a statement about life. Life keeps moving and growing as long as you are open and positive great new things will come to you. You can always learn new and exciting things.
JN: What is the track “Rockstar” about? Is it about a specific person?
JK: It is not about a specific person. I wanted to write an inspiring song for the fans. It is a song about their dreaming of being a rock star, walking down a runway or whatever it may be. Even if they are driving in their car with their kids in the backseat they can dream about themselves being a rock star!
JN: When I interviewed Charo she told me she felt tricked getting into The Surreal Life. She thought it was going to be a music show and it was different after she singed on. It was called a different title even. Did you have the same experience?
JK: A little bit. Those shows always trick you. They will tell you one thing and then it turns into something else. For example Celebrity Wife Swap got in touch with me recently and wanted me to do the show.
JN: Really? What happened?
JK: I said no. Their pitch was we will make it really light and with celebrities there is no drama. Then I saw one of the shows and it was totally drama. They wouldn’t put it on TV if it were not dramatic. I did The Surreal Life so I am all set on the celebrity reality thing.
JN: Being over 40 what else do you want to do this year?
JK: I don’t know. I feel better than ever at the age I am at. If someone told me 20 years ago that I would still be doing this and going strong with it, I wouldn’t have believed them. Because when you are 20 then 40 feels old.
JN: (laughs) It does! I thought I would be retired.
JK: Exactly. You know it gets better and better, that is my statement.
JN: I appreciate you doing this interview. Being on an independent label I think it is important to do that.
JK: Well, you are master of your destiny. I have been in the business for a long time to know what is good for my project and what is not. Why have someone else call the shots on that? I call the shots now. That is what I like about it.
JN: Debbie Gibson told me to tell you “hi!” I know you did a song together.
JK: She is cool. She is energetic.
JN: She looks great for her age too, speaking of that we are all the same age!
JK: She does look great.
JN: You have a show tonight here in Joliet and then another one in Lincolnshire tomorrow.
JK: I am hitting all the suburbs.
JN: It has to be a change from the big arenas.
JK: Yes, for sure.
JN: More New Kids stuff coming out?
JK: We are going to do an album this year and put it out next year. Then do the arenas all over again!
Until then “Hang Tough” and keep up with more of this tour and music at www.jordanknight.com.