Why ‘Gossip Girl’ star Jordan Alexander is your new queer pop sensation

*Photography @enginehao | Styling @sakinagarcia 

If Jordan Alexander isn’t on your playlist, then she will be ASAP. The multi-hyphenate creative’s big break occurred when she snagged a starring role on Max’s Gossip Girl reboot. The show brought together a new cadre of students to the elite private school Constance Billard, who fall under the watchful eye of Gossip Girl who chronicles and broadcasts the scandalous details of the lives of these students.

Alexander played social media “it girl” and Constance Billiard queen bee Julien Calloway. While Julien was busy captivating her followers (and Gossip Girl), Alexander was knee deep in New York City’s underground music scene. Now, Alexander is prepping for the release of her debut album Now You’re Caught Up.

Growing in the outskirts of Toronto, Ontario, Alexander dived into work from queer icons like Whitney Houston, Beyoncé and Britney Spears, and mixed it with doses of rap legends Snoop Dogg and Tupac. Influenced by her two years in NYC and inspired by artists like Charli XCX, Latto, and Karol G, Alexander’s upcoming album is full of playful ’80s synths, modern pop sensibilities, and lyrics about life and love as a young, queer woman in Toronto. INTO caught up with the rising star for our Get INTO It interview series to dish about her new album, why she wants to direct Grammy winner Syd’s biopic, and to discuss who Jordan Alexander really is.

What three words would you use to describe your upcoming album and why?

Raw. These songs are pop songs, but they’ve not had the pop treatment. They are the songs I created straight from heart to page, in all its imperfection and honesty. The production, although greatly enhanced by the involvement of Haviah Mighty (executive producer) and Taabu (co-producer), were originally produced by me. 

Connected. All of these songs were written in the same time period, revolving around the same situation. That’s why I wanted to make this a whole album, it’s a story, it’s a progression of my healing in real time. This sh*t affected me in an extremely profound way, I had actually written double the amount of songs on the album from pure need to express how I was feeling, then I went back and chose the ones I thought were best. 

Intimate. I love song writing and sometimes I’ll write from my imagination, but these are my truly intimate thoughts and feelings in a vulnerable moment, and very real.

The Gossip Girl reboot gave fans a taste of who Julien Calloway is, but who is Jordan Alexander? 

(Laughs) I feel like we are both IT girls! Julien had something she wanted to share and liked the attention and so do I. I’m a talented artist with a unique ability to express myself authentically. Jordan Alexander is a singer, songwriter, producer, and actor. An artist. I love the arts, I love being creative and working with other creatives on different projects. I’ve never really been into fancy things but I learned from Julien a little taste for the finer things! But I’m still really frugal, I don’t like spending my money on things… except to make music! I LOVE spending money to make music videos, and photoshoots etc. I really want to support artists in the scene and put on their talent.  

After spending two years filming in NYC, you became engrossed in the underground music scene there. What did you learn to help refine your craft?  

I went into creation mode while I was filming Gossip Girl, I would hang out in my Bushwick apartment and just write song after song. I was really inspired, at the time, from a situation that was causing me a lot of distress. Those moments of solitude in a new city really helped me dive into production and create my own tracks top to bottom. I wrote and produced this entire album while I was starring Gossip Girl.

If you had to choose a favorite track on your album, which one would it be? 

“I Don’t Wanna Loose You.” This song is such an epic dramatic ballad and I love it. I also vividly remember writing it. I was sitting on the floor in my apartment, in the dark because the sun had just gone down while I was writing the song and I hadn’t turned on any lights yet. I remember just sitting there and being so moved, I was probably crying on and off. It was such a beautiful moment with myself. Allowing myself to feel so deeply, and be fiercely honest.

What’s a film, tv show, song/album, or podcast that keeps playing in your head?

BMF. I absolutely love that show, it’s incredibly well made and acted, and great music. 

What’s the queer pop culture moment that defined your childhood?

I didn’t really understand queerness until super late. I honestly don’t think I knew what it was until I was 19. Janelle Monáe’s “Make Me Feel” music video is an iconic queer pop culture moment. 

Back to acting (or rather directing), if you could direct a biopic of any queer icon, who would it be and what would be the Oscar-winning scene?

I am extremely fascinated with directing. I love dissecting scripts and understanding how to portray reality in a recreated setting. I’ve been recently getting so excited over little discoveries that I’ll have about how small adjustments can have a huge impact on believability. So, I would direct a biopic of Syd (of The Internet) with an Oscar-winning love scene that is abstract and psychedelic, set to a score made by Syd. 

Back to music, lastly, what do you hope people take away from your album? 

I hope people fall in love with it and it changes their life the way so many songs/albums have changed mine. I hope people use this album as a way to feel, whether it’s manic and joyful, or distraught, or coy, I want people to feel something inside of themselves awaken when they hear these songs. 

Now You’re Caught Up is due out early September. ◆

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