I. Jordan’s Debut Album Was Born Amid the Pain of Being Deadnamed

This album is confidently titled I Am Jordan. Do you feel the record represents you?

There’s been a big shedding of me over the years. I am very regretful that I have my deadname as my previous artist name, and that’s become something that has latched onto me. I think the fact that I’m calling the album I Am Jordan is connected to that (healing.)

It started back in the summer where I’d been deadnamed a few times over a weekend: once in a green room, then a festival wrote my deadname even though it’s all over my contract. Then, someone did it on Instagram. Then, finally the thing that broke me was I was on a panel and the person who was leading just deadnamed me in front of the whole audience. I was crying on stage trying to regulate myself afterward. I went to Instagram and I was nearly crying on the video, like, “You need to stop this. Do your research. Treat trans people better. This isn’t fair.” I called that (post) “I Am Jordan.” That’s where it all started.

Have these difficult experiences made you feel a bit isolated in your professional life?

I don’t know anybody personally who has been through a very public transition. Everyone I know so far that is trans is out already and I don’t know anything about them pre-transition. It can feel quite lonely.

Are there any role models you see as mentors?

Kae Tempest and Elliot Page. I was thinking about Elliot’s work — his face is everywhere, and it has been for 20 or so years. I’m talking about little old DJ me, but his work is momentous. He must have had to have done so much accepting that (deadnaming) just always going to be a part of it. Then, Kae, for a similar reason, has had a really similar sort of thing where they changed a bit of their name. I don’t know if either of them read Them, but if they do, can you tell them to message me?

I wanted to end by asking about the track “People Want Nice Things.” It stands out because it is so mellow and new agey compared to the rest of the album. Is this a special song for you?

It’s about being trans. When I was starting T, I wanted to record my voice to record the differences, but I didn’t just want to say, “Hi, my name is Jordan and I’m two months on T.” I wanted to do something a bit more memorable. So I recorded my voice saying “people want nice things” every month for 10 months when I started T. Then I put it into that track. I just wanted to celebrate my voice changing. I get a lot of dysphoria about my voice. That, to me, is in segue into trying to use my voice. Now I feel a bit more comfortable with it.

This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

I Am Jordan is out now via Ninja Tune.

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