Jordana Lilly Chats With TMI About Her New Single ‘Locked Up’
Hey Jordana! So excited to be chatting with you! You just released your new single “Locked Up”& it’s awesome! What do you hope your supporters will think of the new song?
Hi! Thank you so much, excited to be chatting with you too! Ironically, I wrote Locked Up before the world began its lockdown, but its theme has never been more fitting. It’s essentially about being stuck with yourself, and the journey to accepting that, then going so far as to celebrate that. Locked Up goes through the process of the churning of the motors in your mind — by the time the bridge rolls around, we’re at that moment of epiphany, that moment of flipping the previous perspective of “I can’t believe I have to be stuck with myself for good. This is overstimulating.” to “I can’t believe I GET to be stuck with myself for good. This is overstimulating in the best way – this is a PARTY!” The upbeat, major musicality of the song suddenly transforms from ironic to completely fitting, and the rest of the song is a celebration. Of yourself, of your mind, of doing the work. Maintaining positive mental health is all about doing the work – which is something I think the whole world is really realizing right now, when confronted with a lot of personal stuff we usually get to run away from via our busy schedules and hectic lives. Mental health has definitely been an ongoing battle for me, especially during these trying times. But we’re all there. And I’ve seen SO much personal growth happening because of being forced to stop and confront every part of ourselves. Locked Up is about this ongoing journey of how we view the chaos in our head – it’s a reminder that being stuck with yourself for good is a cause for celebration. I hope self-celebration is a result of this song for its listeners. I hope it lifts spirits, empowers, and gives a permission slip for plenty of feeling-yourself full out solo dance parties!
Can you tell us the backstory of this song? Is it from a real experience?
I was taking a walk one day when the chorus popped into my head. That’s typically how it happens – a fully formed chorus comes to me and then I try to make sense of it/see where it came from and build the story with the verses to get to the chorus. I wondered why “locked up in you” popped into my head…I couldn’t think of anyone who made me feel trapped. When I realized I felt trapped in my body because of the physical side effects of anxiety, I leaned into that and tried describe my anxiety – at the time it felt like I was on a ship in the middle of a vast stormy sea, fighting against the waves. So I leaned into that. I couldn’t figure out why it felt so upbeat and happy, and I chalked it up to an ironic interpretation. But then I realized the melody felt genuinely positive, infectious, happy. Perspective shifting has saved my sanity more times than I can count. Of course, it’s not that easy, if only I could just be like “OK NOW SWITCH PERSPECTIVES!” in the middle of a spiral, but it always just happens naturally, and then suddenly I’m in an entirely different reality. In this case, a reality where I’m like, “wait…but I get to be on this cool ship and I get to hang out with myself and I’m creating the thunder and lightning I feel like Zeus this is EPIC!”
You also have more music coming out in 2020!! Can you spill any details on what your supporters can look forward to next year?!?
I do! At least another single! I’m collaborating with one of my favorite rappers – we’re bringing you an ode to hustle culture.
Do you have a creative say in your music? Did you help write all your new songs?
Yep! I write all my songs and I have ideas in terms of instrumentation, vibe, vocal placement, etc. but my insanely talented producers compose/bring the songs to life! Locked Up was produced by Austin Foley, known in the music world as JYNJO – he’s an absolutely prodigy musician as well as a stellar human!
What’s it feel like to be releasing your own original music?
Oh man, so scary, so cool, so special, so yum! It’s the most awesome thing ever. The impact music has on my life is COLOSSAL – listening to a song just ONCE can completely turn my WEEK around. To even THINK about leading someone through a journey of catharsis into clarity/light/hope/the present moment, which is exactly what music does for me, is just the most fulfilling idea. That’s the magic baby! Nurturing a speck of an idea, a whisper of a melody, into something that holds power and beauty and a story and potential to inspire.
Will there be a music video for your new single? If so, can you tell us about the concept of the video 🙂
There will be! It’s going to be fun! Definitely drawing on the themes of containment, water, and color play as an ode to the funky vibes.
What’s been the pros and cons of pursuing your music career?
Cons: People always warned me that it would be hard. And I was always like okayyyyyyy but like it’s probably not gonna be for me. Yeah okay fine. It’s hard. The hustle culture of this industry can quickly lead to feelings of scarcity/anxiety/feeling like you’re never done and aren’t doing nearly enough. I could literally spend 168 hours a week collaborating with other singer/songwriters, making covers, preparing live concerts, doing research for spotify promotion, figuring out how to make instagram filters to promote songs, making targeted ads to help the outreach of my music, emailing playlist curators, making lyric videos, reaching out to tik tok creators to make dances out of my music, attending webinars hosted BMI or ASCAP…and STILL have more to do. Because the pool of musicians trying to do this thing is so oversaturated and making music and releasing it to the public is more accessible than ever, there really is a never ending list of things we can be doing. Emphasis on “can” – NOT “should.” Balance is everything. Especially in creative careers. I can’t put all this pressure on my inner artist and expect her to deliver gold after being so hard on her. It’s all about doing the best we can in the given circumstances – while always prioritizing mental and physical health and cultivating as much self compassion as possible. It’s so easy to breeze past the small victories due to having huge dreams/goals. That’s actually why I named my debut album I came out with earlier this year “Small Capitals.” Celebrating the little things helps – because they add up to be not so little.
Pros: One time I was complaining to my late grandmother about being scared about a callback for Maureen in my college’s production of RENT. She took my hands in hers, looked me dead in the eye and said “God gave you a voice. Why in the hell wouldn’t you use it?” That shut me up. I really do believe I have a duty to carry out the ideas that pop into my head, to bring them to life and share them with the world. So yeah, it’s really hard. But it would be selfish not to suck it up and do it for the sake of the magic that is music.
Is there anyone you want to thank that’s helped you get to where you are today?
I have such an incredible, strong network of family and friends. Their support is everything!
What do you think makes your fan community/fandom different from others?
When people ask whether I consider myself more of a writer, actor, singer, songwriter, or comedian, I literally can’t choose. So I’m pursuing all of them. A choice many people have strongly advised me against. And I totally get that! All of these careers are equally difficult. But I can’t choose a favorite kid, so it’s just gonna take a LOT more work, drive, and time to fully bloom in all of these areas. BUT also it makes for more dimension in every arena. My comedy often has musical elements. My music is often theatrical in nature. If you follow me on social media, you can expect sketch comedy videos, musical theatre content, R&B/pop/jazz music content, originals, covers, and the occasional deep writerly post about anxiety or society or the ego.
How would you describe your fans? – what’s three words you would use to describe your fans?
My grandma, Harriet ?
What do you want your message to be towards your fans? What do you want your fans to take away from your music and shows?
Thank you SO much for following, sharing, streaming, being a part of this journey. I want to promote self celebration – being loud, being honest, singing when you wanna sing, dancing when you wanna dance, laughing when you wanna laugh, crying when you wanna cry. I hope my music has made someone feel this boundlessness! Because that’s how I feel when making it! Boundless, limitless, charged with purpose and free!
Are you planning any IG live shows to promote your new music?
I am not but it’s something I’ve been thinking about! I’m currently gearing up for shooting my comedy pilot, the Locked Up music video, writing a webseries, working on a feature, finishing yoga teacher training, finishing up an original musical, producing and shooting sketch comedy content, prepping for a podcast, hand writing a self help book and amping up for grad school which begins in the Fall so because there is an unlimited amount to work on music, I’ve got to pick my battles when it comes to spending my time on music. Any extra time is typically spent writing music. But I’m definitely open to it once (if) things sort of simmer down!
What is it like performing in front of your fans? Are you excited to start performing your own music live!?!
Oh man I was so excited for the couple of shows we had planned right before quarantine started – especially to play this song live with bass, guitar, funky keys, horns, with my girls Maddi Fraser and Grace Kay, two incredible singer-songwriters as my back up singers…god it was gonna be SO FUN! And it still will be! In time!
What do you want your supporters to know that you think is important?
As I mentioned before, it’s very easy to get discouraged, especially since everything goes by numbers these days. So every message, text, share that expresses that someone enjoyed a song means the WORLD. I always reach out to musicians on instagram when their songs mean a lot to me because I know how much those messages mean to me as a musician. Listeners give music a PURPOSE!
What’s something your fans don’t know about you?
I work at Disneyland and I love Disney princess movies. It should be a guilty pleasure but I don’t even feel guilty about it. I would love to write a musical princess movie for Disney one day – and play the princess obviously. Lea Salonga is goals, as per usual.
What’s one word you would use to describe what your fans have allowed you to accomplish?
Expansion. Support from the many people I’ve connected with on social media or from live shows have led my life into the action of expansion in so many ways. Expanding my network, my community, as well as my comfort level and confidence.
What do you want your fans to know if they ever see you in public?
If I ever act closed off or awkward or weird, I often have a lot of social anxiety so that’s probably why!
Is there anyone in the music business you are dying to meet?
Julia Michaels! She writes with SO much heart and hopefully if I write with her one day she doesn’t see it cuz it’s creepy but “write with Julia Michaels” is written down on every 5 year plan goals chart in every passion planner I’ve ever had!
Why do you think social media is so important for teen artists like yourself?
It’s all about building your own audience these days – everyone is on their phones. And if your music is on your phone, too, there’s no reason not to at least try and merge the two. Finding people you vibe with on social media is a great way to connect with other artists, listeners, and build a network. Looking at it as taking advantage of any opportunity to connect has helped me redefine my relationship with social media. Of course, anything without boundaries can be toxic, so finding balance and remembering that your social media presence is not you is KEY.
What would you say is your biggest dream/goal right now?
My biggest goal specifically pertaining to music right now is to secure a publishing deal! And get on a Spotify editorial playlist!
Any last things you want to tell your supporters?
Thank you for being my community. You all keep me energized, inspired, excited, optimistic, and jazzed about music and life!
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview!
Of course! Thank YOU so much for making me feel special and for helping to share “Locked Up” with the world! You rock!