Baton Rouge Calling
Shreveporter and rising music star Jordan Davis firmly rooted in Louisiana
LSU graduate Jordan Davis’ heart is always in his home state of Louisiana, but his talents have taken him on the road. From performing around the country to winning multiple awards including Billboard’s Top New Country Artist of 2018 and the iHeart Radio Music Award for Best New Country Artist, as well as his recent Academy of Country Music (ACM) award nomination, Davis said LSU prepared him for life.
The Shreveport native, who earned a degree from LSU in environmental science, even named his newest album “Home State” in honor of Louisiana.
“There’s definitely some songs that started in Baton Rouge,” Davis said. “I have a song called ‘Home State’ that didn’t make the album, but it talks about Saturday nights in Baton Rouge. The hook of that song is, ‘When I’m gone, rest my bones in my home state.’ I wrote it with my brother; it’s pretty special.”
He started his time at LSU in 2007, majoring in petroleum engineering before switching to environmental science, focusing on resource conservation. After graduating in 2011, he worked in Baton Rouge as an environmental consultant until he decided to pursue his music career.
“Right after graduation is when it really started setting in,” Davis said. “I’ve always been writing songs. Music has always been a big thing in our family. My uncle is a songwriter and has a couple of number one songs, my dad writes songs. It’s just something we always had. Our mom was big on us going to school and getting a degree, it’s just what she wanted us to do.”
So with his degree and his book of songs, Davis moved to Nashville, hoping to be a songwriter. He joined his brother, Jacob, a country music artist and an LSU graduate.
“It was tough at first. Having Jacob up here already and having a strong base of writers that were already writing with me and some family here, that made it a little easier. So, I was lucky in that regard,” Davis said. “But more than once I did think I made a mistake and thought about moving back to Louisiana and trying to find a job in an environmental field. It was three tough years right off the bat.”
He said he used that struggle to drive his songwriting.
“It lit a fire to write better songs. I decided that I wasn’t going to let Nashville win. I decided I was going to find success in music, and that’s when it started clicking. I just wanted to write songs. You can write songs and have someone like Blake Shelton cut them, and that was kind of my goal.”
He played his songs to a publisher who shared them with Universal Music Group.
“He called me the next day after meeting with Universal, and he told me they wanted to meet with me about a potential record deal. It had never really crossed my mind up until that point. I just was so dead-set on writing, but I took the meeting, and I got a band together, and that’s really how that started. That was 2015, and I signed in 2106. It was something I didn’t know I loved to do until I actually did it. It took me getting a band together and playing in shows to realize how amazing that was, and here we are still playing away.”
2019 has been a special year for Davis. He received a nomination for an ACM award in the New Male Artist of the Year category.
“Being nominated for an ACM had never crossed my mind. It’s such a cool moment to grow up watching that show every year with my family. And then one year, you’re going to be out in Vegas, sitting in the crowd, you’re a nominee.”
The ACM awards show took place on April 7, and Davis was there. But he didn’t get to hear his name called, as the Academy of Country Music announced the winner, Luke Combs, before the awards show.
“The second I saw Luke Combs was nominated, I knew I had no chance taking it home because he had such a big year. But the nomination alone was something I really wasn’t expecting.”
Still, Davis said he has a lot to be excited about.
“I’m on tour right now with Old Dominion, and we start to tour this summer with Rascal Flatts. I’m also still writing and working on a second record and trying to get new music by the end of the year. A lot of it is just writing and trying to get the music ready.”
Still, his home state will stay in his heart.