Anna Nathanson meets up and coming artist Jordan Saflor to hear about his journey so far, what it’s like for Asian acts in the UK and the Filipino Hip Hop scene…
London-based singer, songwriter and producer Jordan Saflor has a dynamic vocal ability that has been garnering growing attention, combining RnB, electro-acoustic and soul music over Hip Hop inspired beats. Born and raised in London, both Jordan’s parents are originally from the Philippines and emigrated to the UK during the seventies.
No stranger to the stage, Jordan has been singing and writing music since childhood and has in more recent times performed extensively at various open mic nights and showcases across the capital. These have included sets at the O2 Academy Islington, Champagne City, Vocal Zones and The Original Songwriter’s Showcase.
Whilst South Asian artists such as M.I.A and Jay Sean have been getting increasing exposure, Jordan says that for East Asian artists, it’s still tough out there. “We tend to struggle with recognition within the mainstream media, with very little representation”. When it comes to young East Asian artists trying to make it in a scene that does not seem so receptive to them as it could be, Jordan’s advice is to keep going; “it really is up to the young people who have grown up in this country to change things. I have been fortunate enough to have worked with a lot of talented artists, all of whom are trying to reach the same goal as myself, and doors are slowly opening”.
There is a flourishing Hip Hop movement in the Philippines, which Jordan has drawn inspiration from over the years. A lot of people don’t know that the Philippines is the first Asian country to have a Hip Hop scene, largely because of the American colonisation of the country. Acts such as Masta Plan, Mike Swift, and Mista Blaze are big names when it comes to the genre. “There is a thriving Hip Hop community out there and it’s the only country in Asia to have an annual National Hip Hop Awards. It’s a really big part of the youth culture and they really support their own artists”, he says.
As well as singing and writing, Jordan is also a producer. “Looking back, I came to realise that I had gained so much experience through studying and being actively involved in music which allowed me to obtain numerous skills along the way. I felt that production was the perfect opportunity for me to utilise these skills and further develop my craft, as well as gaining a solid identity as a music creator and artist”.
With plans to launch his own publishing and production company, as well as showcasing his music in the Philippines this summer, Jordan has taken his career into his own hands.
“I have been in the game for a while now, and there have been times when I’ve wanted to pack it all in, but I have always somehow bounced back, kept my faith and knew deep down that music is what I was put on this earth to do”.