Last Monday, Fargo-Moorhead hip-hop artist Jordan Brien, a.k.a. Mic Jordan, reached his goal on Kickstarter to fund his very first full-length album, “Sometime After 83,” nine days early.
The album will release online for free this Thursday, Oct. 16, which is also the last day of the Kickstarter campaign. Contributions are still welcome until then.
Brien, a self-proclaimed activist, has a strong message behind his music that has been hitting home with local listeners, especially local Natives. As native of the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in Belcourt, N.D., Brien grew up struggling with poverty, an alcoholic stepfather and uncle, depression and thoughts of suicide. He also admits he used to steal and get in fights with other kids in high school.
Today, Mic Jordan has completely changed his life around. And he’s been using music to empower himself and others, especially Native American youth.
“Sometime After 83,” which has been in the making for years, is about as personally raw an album gets.
“The concept is basically my life story,” Brien said. “A lot of it has to do with things in my life that I just had trouble with or things that were super important in my life that I had to either move on from or things that I was affected by.”
Songs like “Modern Day Warrior” are about Native American empowerment. Songs like “Music Saved Me” are about his struggle with depression and how music literally saved his life. Songs like “Happy Father’s Day” are about how he grew up never meeting his real father.
Brien is also musically gifted, so as a rapper he is able to generate an appealing lyrical delivery with his innate sense of rhythm. As a musician he creates appealing chorus melodies and instrumental lines with the help of his friends like hip-hop artist/producer Troy Macfarland and vocalist Ashley Rose.
“He is always pushing me in a positive way and has given me so many amazing opportunities with music,” Rose said. “I am always willing and will always be willing to help Jordan with the tracks that he does because the topics that he writes about are so relevant and real.”
Brien realized the impact his music had on other people after performing and giving a talk at his old high school in Belcourt.
“I really started talking about discovering yourself and owning up to who you are and nobody’s ever going to believe anything you are ever going to do if you don’t know who you are,” Brien said. “It was just like, I could see these kids – I felt like I just read every person I was talking to – I could see people crying in the audience.”
“That’s when I realized … that is what is needed for the youth is somebody in my position to talk to them about suicide and alcoholism and things like that – because I was there in their shoes.”
His presence in activism and music has been so strong that even the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) discovered Brien and got a hold of him to talk about his stance on native mascots and his reaction to the University of North Dakota students who wore the “Siouxper Drunk” t-shirts at a large community event in Grand Forks. Read the article, “Native Americans reject 'super drunk' label,” here: http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-27423033
The BBC liked Brien’s story so much that a reporter from the world-famous news organization will be visiting him in person at the end of this month to do a more close-up story. The story will include Brien’s upcoming performance outside TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis as he protests against the Washington Redskins with the the Indigenous rights group Idle No More. The NFL team will be playing against the Vikings on Nov. 2.To learn more about Mic Jordan, visit his Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages. Brien has a number of excellent music videos, including for his singles “Music Saved Me” and “Born With It.” Also be sure to download his new album for free on Oct. 16 on Bandcamp.com
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