Music for Music: Angelina Jordan
Another Kind of Ageless: Singer Angelina Jordan
By Dan Ursini © 2018
The sweetest strength of YouTube is its capacity to present distinctively talented people who are impossible to categorize, much less market. Were it not for YouTube we might not know about them at all. A superb case in point is Angelina Jordan. For four years this Norwegian singer has been a major YouTube presence, getting multi-million views for her videos. She is frequently compared to Dinah Washington, Elvis Presley, and Amy Winehouse, among others.
Angelia Jordan is twelve years old.
Here is her take on Dinah Washington’s “What a Difference a Day Makes”:
That she can do a song like this at all is remarkable. That she is so convincing is amazing. She has dozens of videos like this on YouTube, virtually all live, split between outdoor festival gigs and her home
Here is how she handles Elvis’s “It’s Now or Never”:
The confidence and power and suppleness of the vocal combined with the visual charm of the video makes for an exceptional experience. It is also overwhelming. The best way to cope is to watch a couple hours of her videos. The idea that a twelve-year-old sings them does not become normal. But you’re no longer thrown off balance by hearing her do covers which would be a stellar accomplishment by anybody of any generation.
This is her “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
It is irresistible to think she is clear proof of the idea of an old soul. But another view is that she has extraordinary musical intelligence. She knows music through and though, and she knows how to make best use of her voice in any composition. Yet even that does not fully explain her powers of judgment. She never shows off. She is fully engaged, fully composed. Even when she cuts loose, she gets to the point fast.
Here she sings Anthony Newley’s “Feeling Good”:
Perhaps it is that same gift for the right decision that is behind an apparent move away from the high-stress young genius fast-track to the top. She is choosing very low-key settings for her music. As a means of finding her own voice, it seems a perfect fit. Her version of “Unchained Melody,” done at home with pre-recorded backing, displays her superb vocal range and her rich lyricism:
Special thanks to Francois Bonneville
Dan Ursini and his wife Valerie live in Oak Park, Illinois. Over the years he has done many kinds of writing. Ursini served as the first resident playwright for the Steppenwolf Theatre of Chicago (1978-1983); he worked for ten years as a Contributing Editor for Puerto Del Sol magazine ; he wrote performance art pieces presented at Chicago venues as Club Lower Links and Club Dreamerz. Ursini wrote radio theatre presented on NPR in the early 1990s. Throughout all this, he has worked full-time at the Law Library at DePaul University where for a decade he also wrote articles for Dialogue, the DePaul law school’s alumni publication . In addition, he was active for some years as a bass guitarist in various Chicago blues/gospel/funk/lounge configurations. Currently Ursini is working on his latest novel. A play he wrote with Robert Rothman, A Mensch Among Men, a fictionalized account of real-life Jewish Chicago-area gangsters, recently had two staged readings in Chicago. Dan can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org