The last thing you expect when watching The Voice with wine and your Nan is to come across a talented established artist. You expect pub singers and wannabes with loud voices, not a pianist with ten years experience in the business. Jordan Gray shocked the public for various reasons but for me it was how such a talented artist slipped under the radar.
Trans-women Jordan Gray, aka Tall Dark Friend, has been playing the scene since 2006, self releasing albums that defy genre. Experimenting with pop, jazz, country and spoken word, this artist knows no boundaries. But don’t be fooled by this mess of styles, it’s all about that voice and she knows it. With uncompromising political and personal lyrics, she is no wilting flower.
Being openly trans is no easy feat, it opens yourself up to abuse and very personal questions but that said, if someone doesn’t take a stand and make a point of being confident and strong, who will? With her career surely about to finally take off she needs to decide whether to continue her transition publically, such as Isabella Bennett from Steam Powered Giraffe does, or privately.
Her sudden burst of fame came from her stunning performance on The Voice last Saturday. Quickly being pegged ‘the one that got away’ as shockingly no judges turned for her. Despite having numerous albums behind her and winning both Best Original Artist and Best Original Song in 2014 fame outside of her home of Essex eluded her. So The Voice seemed like the perfect opportunity for her as her gender would not come into question until after her audition. That said I have to agree with Boy Georges comment that she needs to be seen as she is an energetic and dynamic performer who claims the stage and easily woo’s audiences. She has a rich flexible voice that screeches as easily as it croons. Her performance was emotional and honest. Her voice bewitching you. Though I understand her choice of Bob Dylan’s song ‘Just like a woman’, I strongly think she should have performed an original song, partially ‘Corridors’ as that would have surely guaranteed a turn from Will and Paloma. Despite no turn from the judges the exposure of performing to the whole Nation will do wonders for our Tall Dark Friend.
Her most recent album, The Baffled King, is available online and she gigs frequently in her home town of Thurrock, Essex.
Charismatic, talented and with that voice, I expect big things from her.