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so YOU WANT TO BE A Rock 'n' 011 Star?
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Vanessa's Test
How a former substitute
teacher muscled her way to
the CD rack at Best Buy.
By Michael Miller
Updated: Tuesday, November 25, 200811:21 PM PST
There are No comments posted. View Comments
COSTA MESA- Vanessa Jourdan used up
her lunch hour June 20 to race down to
Best Buy at the Metro Pointe at South Coast
shopping center to check for a new CD on
the rack. She didn't intend to purchase the
album, but when she found it, she examined
the front and back cover intently and
snapped one picture after another on her
The CD, "Eternal Things," was Jourdan's
third album - and she had taken advantage
of RegionalCD, a program that permits
independent artists to submit their work to
be sold at Best Buy. Jourdan, a member of
Rock Harbor Church in Costa Mesa, didn't
expect to make much money off record store
sales; most of her minimal earnings come
from people who buy her songs online. Still,
she couldn't help but feel giddy seeing her
work on the rack between Janis Joplin and
"It's something I never imagined would
happen," said Jourdan, 32, a Texas native
who has been pursuing a music career for a
decade. "Reality is never what you expect.
But this is something I will tell my grandkids
about. Grandma had a CD in Best Buy."
Vanessa Jourdan
Story ProfileI SampleTrack I tl
Ryan Strassburg
StoryProfileI SampleTrack I tl
Vanessa Jourdan checks-out her CD on the
racks at Best Buy in Costa Mesa store which is
filed right in front of classic rocker Janis Joplin.
Artist: Vanessa Jourdan
Style: Confessional folk-rock with strong Christian
Age: 32
Day Job: Administrator for Kids Institute for
Development and Advancement, an autism
therapy program in Irvine
Sample "As long as there is air in my lungS/AS long
lyrics: as there is blood in my veins/l'1I be on the
lookout for eternal things"
Claim to Her song "Mourning Blue" got an honorable
Fame: mention in the 2002 John Lennon
Songwriting Contest.
Music iTunes. CD Baby. MySpace, Amazon.
Availablity: 1/vWW.vanessajourdan.com and a handful of
Best Buy stores
Sample Dancing in the Rain
Video: t;
Save/Share'S r '8 ~ ,IQ ~I ~;
Like many independent musicians, Jourdan has no agent, contract or connections in the majorlabel
world; she works during the week as an administrator in an autism therapy program in Irvine.
That hasn't stopped her, though, from putting her work on the shelf with the Kanye Wests and U2s
of the industry. With a number of websites making artists' music instantly available throughout the
world and even Best Buy stocking independent discs on the shelf, doing it yourself has become
easier than ever in pop music.
Getting rich, of course, is another matter. The consensus among many observers and experts is
that the music industry is in a steady decline as CD sales drop and illegal file-sharing on the Web
proliferates. Rolling Stone published a two-part series last summer on the market's financial woes,
even quoting an anonymous industry source who declared, "There won't be any major labels pretty
Geoff Mayfield, a senior analyst for Billboard magazine, considers that idea absurd. CD sales, he
said, still count for more than 80% of the music sold every week, and downloaded tracks play the
same role 45s did a generation ago: namely, singles, which may entice listeners to purchase entire
albums later. And while Mayfield agrees the digital era provides independent artists with more
opportunities than ever, he doesn't foresee the giants disappearing any time soon.
http://www.dailypilot.com/articles/2008/11/26/speciaIJeports/musicians/doc48d7f73e15 ... 11126/2008
"Kids discover music on the Internet now the way I used to discover it going to a music store," he
said. "So, in that way, it helps fledgling artists a lot. But even though the mass audience has
unlimited choices,



Huntington Beach Independent

Nearly five years ago, Vanessa Jourdan called for friends, family and strangers to pledge to her on Kickstarter, with a headline proclaiming the campaign a "Beloved 'Baby' Shower."

Now the baby has arrived. And it's been some gestation.

The bundle of joy in question, "Never Too Late," is the fourth full-length album by the Huntington Beach singer-songwriter. When Jourdan stopped by a restaurant in downtown Surf City with an advance copy of the CD on Monday, it looked to be on the fledgling side: an unlabeled disc in a generic blue, see-through container. But it was ready to go out into the world, and it had a proud parent — plus some extended family — towering over it.

"Nobody's heard this except my mom," Jourdan said. "And I think my dad may have listened to it now. And my friend Chris Williams, who's a jazz musician and plays at Steamers a lot. He listened to it yesterday, and my mom listened to it yesterday, and they both gave thumbs up."

Jourdan, 38, is small-scale enough that she can sometimes count how many people have heard her latest work, or at least how many discs have been printed. She expects the first 1,000 copies of "Never Too Late" to arrive at her doorstep this week. After that, she plans to offer the album on CD Baby, an online independent music store, and hold a release party Feb. 8 at the Federal Bar in Long Beach.

After that? Jourdan, who works as a sales manager at Parkers' Lighthouse and Queensview Steakhouse in Long Beach, may schedule 2015 as she goes.

"It's still fluid in my mind right now," the native Texan said. "My New Year's resolution is to write more and play more, but I don't yet know what that looks like. It feels like it all just happened so fast after waiting so long that now I actually will have a CD to go out and play again."


Mother knows best

It was a family connection — someone else's, actually — that began Jourdan's recording career a decade and a half ago.

Jourdan, a UC Irvine graduate, was teaching and leading the choir at a small private school in Riverside. The teacher in the adjoining classroom had a college-age son who was interested in music, and she recommended that he give Jourdan — whose singing voice sometimes carried through the wall — a listen.

"She tells me, 'You have to hear this girl sing! I don't know if she's recording. You need to help her,'" said Paul Antony, who produced Jourdan's first album and has worked in some capacity on all her records since. "I'm like, 'OK, Mom.'"

Antony, who sometimes substituted at the school, flagged down Jourdan in the hall and asked her to sing some of her compositions for him. He liked what he heard, and despite never having produced an album before, he set up a studio in the back room of a local sewing shop and recorded Jourdan's debut, an eight-song set with the hopeful title "Give Me a Stage." (The album's liner notes thanked the women who ran the business.)

On her second album, the folk-flavored "Wanderlust," Jourdan handled much of the production while Antony served as engineer. On her third, "Eternal Things," Antony alternated production duties with Tom Harris, a friend of Jourdan's. For "Never Too Late," Jourdan requested that Antony take full-production responsibilities. To kick off the project, she sent him a song, "Beloved," that she had recorded while teaching English in Korea in 2009.

With Antony between professional recording spots — he now runs Eclectic Soul Studios in Riverside — he and Jourdan found themselves in a location almost as unorthodox as the sewing shop: Antony's own childhood bedroom in his parents' house. The cramped confines meant that only one musician could typically fit in the room at a time, but Jourdan, Antony, drummer Steve Ochoa and guitarist Mike Turpin made do.

"When Steve came in with the drum kit, it pretty much took up the whole room," Jourdan said. "So I was, like, sitting on the floor against the wall, boom mics everywhere. But it worked."


'An amazing race'

After the tracks worked, Jourdan's support team got going.

With 62 backers on Kickstarter, the singer raised $2,550 for production costs. One of the album's main donors was Jourdan's brother-in-law's brother-in-law, whom she had met only once. He lives in Connecticut and footed half the bill for mastering and duplication. (She plans to meet him for brunch soon and give him as many copies as he wants.)

Some of the tracks on "Never Too Late" previously appeared on "Beloved, Vol. 1," an EP that Jourdan funded with her earnings from Korea. She originally intended to call the follow-up disc "Beloved, Vol. 2" but opted instead to title it after one of the other songs.

The phrase "Never Too Late" is partly a tongue-in-cheek reference to the time the album took to finish, but it has a quite different message in the lyrics. The song, a devotional rocker, features the refrain "He is never too late / He is always on time."

Jourdan, a member of Community Bible Church in Huntington Beach, considers "Never Too Late" her most religious album to date, and some of its inspiration came from her time in Korea, where she lived for a time without a cellphone and felt out of place culturally. Many of the lyrics on her new album deal with summoning inner strength. A typical verse reads, "It's an amazing race / and we will run with grace / until we see his face / and claim the prize."

Jourdan pushed herself another way on "Never Too Late": The songs feature the densest harmonies of any of her work so far. Overdubbing herself, Jourdan laid as many as 30 vocals on some tracks, often listening to Florence and the Machine between takes for inspiration.

When Jourdan takes the stage Feb. 8 at the Federal Bar, she'll use recorded tracks for harmonies, and her studio band — her bedroom band, that is — will accompany her onstage. Antony, who usually plays bass with her live, relishes the thought of trying the material before an audience. And the next time Jourdan has an idea for a project, he's up for it.

"Hopefully, I'll be there forever," he said. "We'll be gray and old and still playing together."

Never too late.


What: Vanessa Jourdan CD release party for "Never Too Late"

Where: Federal Bar, 102 Pine Ave., Long Beach

When: 7 p.m. Feb. 8

Cost: Free (18 and older only)

Information: (562) 435-2000 or lb.thefederalbar.com