Performer: Jordan Mackampa
Reviewer: Rebecca Martyn
London-based singer-songwriter Jordan Mackampa carries a wisdom within his words that perfectly pairs with his timeless, soulful voice. His debut album is an agonisingly honest piece of work rooted in self-reflection that paints an intimate picture of the man behind the music.
After moving to London from the Republic of Congo at the age of one, Jordan struggled to form his own identity – a struggle that unfolds through the album, as he draws on his experience as a young migrant.
The album opener, Magic, is a bouncy and rhythmic blend of samba and fast-paced lyrics. The acapella-style backing vocals forge an exciting and upbeat tone which starkly juxtapose with the sombre and earnest title track Foreigner.
The song encapsulates the feeling of moving into the unknown, tracing the story of fitting into a new city while seeking to hold onto his Congolese roots. Jordan’s personal life is an obvious running subject in his work, though he also draws influence from his mother, a constant figure in his life, characterised in Interlude: Lula and Care for Your Mother.
Gospel vocals and dulcet harmonies are a trademark sound throughout Jordan’s discography, as seen in Love at First Sight. They complement the soft and swift progression of chords, creating an all-encompassing melancholia – mimicking the feeling of falling in love as he sings: “’Cause I fell in love at first sight, and I’ll never be the same.”
Speaking about the album, Jordan says: “This album is a collection of songs inspired by my journey from boyhood to manhood; from falling in and out of love, to feeling alienated, to being able to use my voice to say something meaningful.”
Jordan’s ability to turn narratives into songs appears effortless in the 11-track album, and the depth of his musicality alongside his buttery vocals allow the listener to step into his world and experience the stories within the verses he’s written.