Jordan Beckett, also known as Bootstraps, is taking the next steps into indie stardom. The singer-songwriter’s latest album, Demo Love, was released on October 18, ushering in a new era for Beckett’s music. Atlas spoke with Beckett about starting a life in music, inspirations, and Demo Love.
Atlas Artist Group: How did you begin your life in music? Was there a moment or a source of inspiration that made you realize that this was the path for you?
Jordan Beckett: When I was 19, I lived and worked in Door County, WI. I’d just learned to sing and play guitar and would sit on the Lake Michigan shoreline and wail out songs. Writing that last sentence made me cringe, but whatever, I was young… anyway, this couple walked by one afternoon and asked me to play a song. I sang ‘Landslide’ by Fleetwood Mac and remember the women said, ‘You’ve got it, you’re gonna make it in music… people are going to hear you someday’ or something way too kind like that. It’s ridiculous, but at that time, I was shook and it meant the world to me.
Atlas: What artists or bands do you draw the most from when you’re creating music?
Beckett: I was listening to a lot of Motown and Bill Withers while writing this last record. Specifically the lyrical content; it has a beautiful, honest simplicity. I’ve found it too easy to get trapped in songwriter-y affectations and artistically drink the Kool-Aid — culture, social media, and the music business are so toxic right now. Without intentionality, you’re ingesting the equivalent of battery acid for an artist. The music of Bill Withers was sort of the antidote to all this, “Then I look at you, and the world’s alright with me”. That kinda transparency struck me.
Atlas: What are you most proud of and excited for regarding your new album?
Beckett: I feel like Bootstraps has its own DNA sonically that is unique and authentic. I’ve really fought for that. I’ve wrote and produced every album I’ve made and in that, I feel like the product is untainted. All you really have as an artist is your own voice and point of view — that is such a struggle to hold onto. I think you can fake or buy your way to almost anything in music — followers, radio hits, sales but you can’t fake originality. So, I suppose I’m proud that Bootstraps has retained an identity all its own.
Atlas: Do you plan on bringing your new music on tour?
Beckett: That is undecided at the moment.
Atlas: What drives the subject matter of your music? How do you get inspired in the studio?
Beckett: Personal experiences for sure. But songs are mysteriously born. Things hit you at random. On this record, I wrote or heard a song in my head in the back of an Uber. Sometimes being in a formal recording studio is like being at the ‘singles table’ at a wedding. You know something is supposed to happen, you’re all single, you got all dressed up but it feels horribly forced, so you drink excessively and regret everything in the morning. Metaphorically speaking of course. But there’s a strange and wonderful, spontaneous kismet thing at play with songwriting and recording that I love.
Atlas: If you had the chance to collaborate with anyone (either in the studio or live), who would it be?
Beckett: I’d love to sing with Emmy Lou Harris.
Atlas: Where do you hope this project takes you? Where would you like to be in the next few years?
Beckett: My highest ambition is to make music that ages well. Like Levi’s 501’s, those jeans never go out of style, they’re today as much as they were yesterday. And they feel better with time. Trying to achieve that in a song or album is ultimately what I’m after.
Stream Demo Love, out now!
Story by Olivia Khiel
Photos courtesy of Bootstraps