Popular Music graduate and King Calaway singer, Jordan Harvey, shares his experience of life in the Nashville fast lane after finishing university.
What made you choose to study at Edinburgh Napier University?
I had previously studied a Diploma in Music at the British Institute of Modern Music in London. Upon moving home, I’d tried a few courses and the Popular Music course at Edinburgh Napier University was by far the best for me. The education here, the lecturers here, the facilities here and everything else was just tip-top and I couldn’t wait to move back to Edinburgh.
Do you think your Popular Music degree has aided your career?
I do believe that having an education in music is really important. I can definitely look back on the couple of years I’ve spent in Nashville and London and look at where my education has really helped me. I will say, when you are studying music, the most important thing is making sure that you make the most of it. When I was at university I used to absorb all the information I could from teachers, I’d never leave the studio and just spend hours practicing and learning, which I believe was an imperative part of my growth as a musician.
When I started studying at Edinburgh Napier University I was so infatuated with drums, I lived and breathed drums, that’s what I did here the whole time. I will say there was a slight transition in fourth year when I had to do an EP for my major music project and I started to sing and play piano and guitar, and I felt a real love for that. But I did come out of university, I did the performing thing on TV where I sang and danced, and then I went to Nashville to be a drummer and ended up signing a record deal as a singer. But the great thing about King Calaway is that I’m not just the singer. All six of us sing, there’s three lead singers but King Calaway really gives each and every one of us the opportunity to play multiple instruments. So I would love to thank Edinburgh Napier for really pushing their students in learning more than one instrument. There’s no borders at Edinburgh Napier, everyone is open to helping each other. I had such great help from teachers on piano, guitar, bass, ukulele and drums. This university really pushes you on every instrument and that’s what has helped me so much in King Calaway.
Tell us about some of your achievements since graduating from Edinburgh Napier University.
After leaving Edinburgh Napier University, I went on to BBC’s ‘Let It Shine’ and it was then that I realised my love for country music. Upon leaving that TV show, I moved out to Nashville, Tennessee and I met the great group of boys that are now King Calaway, and everything just seemed to gel.
Looking back to a year ago, we had just launched our debut EP and just coming out to the world. Since then, we went on to play our Grand Ole Opry debut and put out our first single ‘World for Two’ from the EP. We continued throughout the year non-stop, we supported Garth Brooks at the Minnesota Viking Stadium, which was 77,500 people which was pretty incredible. We then played the Grand Ole Opry again with Country Music Hall of Fame Ricky Skaggs and we did a cover of ‘Seven Bridges Road’ which we then later put out. We played with Rascal Flatts, we then put an album out, we played in the Ryman Auditorium, we’ve played in Australia, and we were on Neighbours. We did Jimmy Kimmel, we did the James Corden show, and we did the Today show. I know I’ve left things out because we have done so much, it’s just been such a whirlwind of a year and I just cannot wait to see what the next year has to offer.
What advice would you give to current students?
It was extremely overwhelming for me moving to Nashville, but the best bit of advice I could ever give to anyone is to never, ever live within your comfort zones. Push yourself way out of your comfort zone. I had a moment when I first moved to Nashville when I was at the point I was saying to myself ‘why am I even here? What am I doing?’ But I really believed in myself and I persevered and I started working on Broadway and started playing drums in Tootsies and all these legendary places until I actually met the guys in King Calaway. But in my opinion, had I stayed put in my comfort zone there is no way I would be in this position I am now. When you push yourself out of your comfort zone and when you do, you actually discover some amazing things about yourself.