By day Nick Jordan Meyerson studies music business at the University of St. Thomas. By night, he drops his last name to perform smooth, soulful music that’s the perfect soundtrack to a summertime drive. At 22 years old, Meyerson is ready to take his brimming music career into the spotlight with his proper debut, the EP “NJ,” a personal statement structured by Meyerson’s philosophy of the cyclical nature of life. His silky, breezy falsetto expresses a quiet meditation on relationships, fate, and love that, like the seasons, comes and goes, but is ever present.
Meyerson headlined The Wake’s annual spring concert on April 14 at the Triple Rock Social Club.
When did you start making music? When did you first take an interest in it?
Nick Jordan: I feel like I had an interest in music probably all of my life, but the mediums have changed throughout. I always loved singing, and I always sang, but for a while when I was growing up, I was like, “Well, maybe I should do theater or musical theater, maybe I should be on stage,” because I always knew I got a rush from that. I was really weird. I used to have a speech impediment, so communication was difficult with people. Things like performing and public speaking really help me. So as time went on, I kind of got sick of being handed scripts all the time, and being like, “interpret this.” And then it became me wanting to curate my own stories, and write my own stuff. I probably tried trying to write songs when I was 16, and I thought I was like Busta Rhymes. I would write raps all the time, and I really thought I was Busta Rhymes reincarnated.
“I probably tried trying to write songs when I was 16, and I thought I was like Busta Rhymes.”
So that’s when you started to take things seriously?
I was dabbling around 16-17, but I wasn’t fully letting people in on my plan. I kind of wanted to get out of the small town where big dreams die and stuff like that. When I graduated and moved to the cities, 18 was when I really started to hit the ground running. I was just so hungry to dive into creative things, and it’s been a process ever since then.
You mentioned Busta Rhymes, so did you start out with a focus on rapping?
It’s just what came out to me. I always sang, but I liked words. And I always loved how words work together, and like wordplay, internal rhyme schemes, and stuff like that. I learned then to integrate melodies, and that’s what I tell myself now when I write, because I know you can write a lot of words, but I want orchestral instrumentations of my stuff one day, and I want vocal melodies that are instantly recognizable. It’s fun. It’s like a puzzle every time.
I feel like you can’t really question why you perform under a certain genre. It’s whatever comes naturally. There’s still a little rap on the EP.
I still do rap occasionally. It got to the point where I’d leave these spots open and I’d be like, “I need a feature here, I need a feature.” You know, there’d be some inquiries, but it’d never be what I wanted. They’d be like, “Well what do you want?” And I was like, well F it, I’ll just do it.
I hear a lot of Frank Ocean and Pharrell on the album, and Ashanti, too, who you give a shout out to on the EP.
Dude when I was 8, I thought Ashanti was it. I thought she was the one. I used to have dreams. Well, she had her debut album, right? I grew up with a single mom, and she is very Christian, like she broke my TLC CD once. She was like “No, this is the devil.” I really wanted the Ashanti CD, but it had the parental advisory. I remember as a kid having dreams, before I knew that Wal-Mart sold edited things, I would have dreams that I would buy it and it didn’t have the advisory, and I was like “See mom, I can buy this now.” That’s how deeply rooted Ashanti was in my system for a long time. It’s very bizarre.
What other influences do you identify with?
Pharrell and The Neptunes are huge to me, because they do everything. It’s melodic, the synths are like from another world, the beats are crazy, and it has that signature sound that you are able to flip in so many different ways, and I think that’s what’s so beautiful about it. Music and artistry isn’t about having to reinvent the wheel every time, which I think people are tempted to do sometimes. But it’s like finding what works for you, and then just flipping it every single time, because you’re growing as a person, so you don’t have to worry about, “Well am I going to run out of stuff to write about.”
It’s like acknowledging your influences and incorporating them to make them your own.
You have to, and you have to pay homage. I have a huge beef with people that are like, “I’m self-made. Well I’m this one and I’m the only one.” No one is ever self-made, and when you declare things like that it’s a slap in the face to mentors and people that have came before you who have provided ways for us to express ourselves.
I noticed the music video for “Flavors” was very choreographed. Are choreography and dancing also a crucial part of your music?
Yeah, and it snuck up. I didn’t think that it would be, because growing up, I didn’t dance. When I moved here and started undergrad, I just became friends with a lot of dancers. I’d be in dance rehearsals and doing these things, and a lot of opportunities started coming to me. Like in the middle of making “NJ” and finding my artistry, dancing gigs came up. I would do that and train a lot with different mentors and people. In retrospect, it’s so important and it was necessary, because now it’s such a part of the NJ show.
The EP explores a lot about love and relationships. What did you learn about those things as you were working on it?
You learn how to make peace with yourself. I think there are things that went on with myself in trying to find [my] identity in love and relationships. Writing makes you really go into the deepest, darkest things in your mind. Art can take something that is negative and turn it into a positive.
Do you find writing music as therapeutic in that sense?
Yes, yes, yes. I’ve learned more about myself through writing on this journey, and this process. Hopefully, at the end, you have a greater understanding of yourself, so you’re able to love yourself more readily.