Jordan Kelch is mostly known to be a musician but, first of all, he is a son of God and a great catholic guy. He is for sure multiples things at once: a catholic man and thus a follower of Jesus Christ; a guitar player and musician; a Youth Minister in the Parrish of Saint Antony (Ohio); also a student of the Franciscan University and a musical technician. But, among all the things is known for, catholic come first. As it should be. Faith is the key of a man, the revolution of a lifetime, the highway to Heaven. Ad Jesum per Mariam is my motto – and it’s, you know, the abc of catholicism. Jesus has to be the center of our life, according to our free will. I’m alive – my fingers are moving fast – because I’m catholic; had not been for my personal conversion to Christ, I would have died.
Jordan got my attention not because he is a musician, but because is a catholic musician – that’s mean that behind the musician there is a man of faith; through his music, faith is manifested. Using our talents and gifts for Jesus is one of the most great thing someone can do in his life. It’s not about vain glory, it’s about the glory of God. Sin effected – and still effecting – the world and a man can be either image and reflection of God or image and reflection of Satan. It’s up to us. Everyone are born to be beautiful souls of God: not everyone succeed. To become a beautiful soul is to follow God and to live the Gospel, ceasing the sin. As for the arts, everyone can be artist, not everyone are artists of quality. With God, we can be both. It’s up to us: our free will – our inner own – must choose.
I enjoyed this wonderful conversation I had with him. This is one of the most enchanting personal Interview I have ever done. I loved every bit of it. His sincerity, his heart opens to the reader, his personal thoughts on everything I asked over. Enjoy my interview – and explore his music – you can find Jordan Kelch on Instagram and Spotify.
Let me present you this peculiar artist, Jordan Kelch of Somehow, Grace.
Interview with Jordan Kelch of Somehow, Grace
“The catholic John Mayer”
Interconnecting faith, theology, arts and music
By © Fabio Arancio
Only for theorangeblogger.com™
1. Hello Jordan, nice to meet you. I’m happy to have a conversation with a catholic artist. Let’s start our interview. Tell me: how it’s going, in 2021, as in faith, prayer and Sacraments?
Fabio, it’s great to finally sit down and talk with you. Being recognized as a Catholic artist is a beautiful thing, so thank you! As an introvert, 2021 has been a beautiful year of reflection and prayer. I have recently moved to Steubenville, Ohio in order to build a Catholic community around me as well as work on my Masters in Theology and Catechetics at Franciscan. The Sacraments are a major focus at this School, and in this area. It’s why I firmly believe in its success.
Being surrounded by this beauty and this amazing community cultivates an atmosphere for faith and prayer. Disregarding the etymology of those words, I can tell you I am in a season of growth, and there is nothing more joyful in hindsight than growth towards a better relationship with Christ.
2. To live Christ is to follow Christ. Knowing the Lord, while being passive in the process, is not enough, nor is it the path to Heaven. What does to “live” Christ mean to you? How do you make this concept real?
Ahh, what an interesting concept and question. You nailed it pretty simply there. To live Christ is to follow him. See, every morning after waking up, I hit my knees and tell the Lord to take away all things that are interfering with me serving Him. The thing is, we were created for one purpose, to serve Him who Is. God calls us to that constantly and consistently, and what good Father asks his children to do something without giving him the means of doing so. So I ask Him to take away all vice that interferes with that mission, all wounds to be healed, all questions answered. So when I get up off my knees, it is not to do what I want to do, but what he desires for me.
This brings me to my next point, we must recognize that knowledge of something doesnt mean we own it. If I explained to you everything there is to know about one of my guitars, it still would be your guitar. To own your faith does not necessarily mean to know your faith. It perhaps includes it, but it is definitely not proprietary to that. Let me tell you, that is much more peaceful way to live, cause there’s no pressure on me anymore! As cheesy as it sounds, to live Christ is to be yourself, fully revealed in Him.
3. Along with Jesus, Our Lord and Savior, what does having a personal relation with Mary, Our Mother and Queen, mean to you?
A few years ago I had a vision of Mary, Seat of Wisdom, Throne of Salvation. She appeared to me in full blue, carrying nothing but almonds. Through this vision all I could smell was (as expected) roses, and all I could taste was (a bit unexpected) dark chocolate. This caught me off guard, as one would surely guess. Why almonds specifically? We all know that blue means purity when in regard to Mary, but everything else confused me. So being the theologian I am, I investigated! Come to find out that almonds also stand for purity in Catholicism! This was the beginning of my song “Almond Blue.” In the song, I speak to Mary as she was in the vision. She told me to trust in her Son amidst all the temptation of sexual and immoral sin present in my life at the time. It is a dark, yet reflectively joyful song riddled with metaphor. To me, to have a relationship with Mary is just that! “Trust in my Son,” she said. It is much like having a relationship with the moon. Impossible if not for the moonlight merely being a reflection of the sunlight. Impossible if not for Mary reflecting her Son.
Side note, as I am sure you are curious, I am yet to understand why I tasted dark chocolate.
4. In your Instagram profile, I read “Seeker of true masculinity”. That is pretty interesting for me. Are we living a deep identity crisis today, according to you?
According to me? I don’t know much, but I know this. We are at odds with ourselves more than we ever have been in history. Now, am I saying that that is reason to despair? Not a bit. This time is simply showing the evil one using a different tactic than we have recorded in history. He is attacking the character of the person, pitting him against himself. That’s what I mean by being at odds with ourselves. The evil one is confusing man by forcing him to argue with his own interior understanding. Now, to seek does not mean to have obtained. I don’t claim to have figured out the trick to being an authentic man. Yet, to seek is much different than to be ignorant of masculinity altogether. There is a real difference between a real man, and a real boy (cue the pinocchio references).
5. There seems to be little room for Catholics, today. How do you find yourself as a catholic man, in the world of today, where everything has been secularized?
I say, embrace it. To be different doesn’t have to be scary. As the artist formerly known as Prince once said: “Cool means being able to hang with yourself. All you have to ask yourself is ‘Is there anybody I’m afraid of? Is there anybody who if I walked into a room and saw, I’d get nervous?’ If not, then you’re cool.”
Obviously Prince is speaking more generally, but I tend to ask myself this question a lot. And the only answer I can come up with is Christ Himself, and in all honesty, He should be the one that brings me peace, not anxiety! If Christ is all you have, what else do we need? As a man or a woman, in this overly secularized world, it’s definitely tough, I don’t want to downplay that. We are expected, as men, to be both tough and unbigoted. We are told to kill the spider, then yelled at because it seems we don’t allow women to kill the spider. This is the attack on the person. It is so very confusing in this world, that I have decided to stop caring about anything but the Lord. You may be surprised to hear that my music is called scandalous quite often, from both sides of the spectrum. But let me ask, does it look like I plan on stopping?
6. Our moral values seems to have been forgotten and disgusted. How do you feel being one of those who still believes in those eternal values, in the modern society?
You know, I would argue that our culture’s morals are not forgotten, but merely disfigured or demented, for lack of a better word. People are not inherently evil, they want to do good! Here’s what we have to recognize: pro choice advocates merely see the pain and suffering of single mothers and stop there. Porn addicts merely want to have intimacy with another person and seek instant pleasure and stop there. I could go on and on, but the point for me is this: People are good and desire to do good naturally, they just don’t take that desire to its necessary and fullest end. I see myself as a seeker of Truth, and I know I have found it. Truth is a person. As I mentioned earlier, that person and the spreading of this name is all that matters.
7. Combining faith and personal creativity is a unique chance to use our talent, in the lieu of the biblical revelation. Not only have we been given the talent, but we can use that talent, along with our gifts and resources, to express the Eternal Truth. What do you think about the importance of using the talent for God?
My mother once told me that what I do with my gift from God is my gift back to Him. I love that you mentioned “expressing Eternal Truth.” My lyrics, musical elements, etc are not simple. They are precise, and deep. They are intended to provoke as well as evoke. It is both/and for me! The importance lies in bringing truth to people, and people to the Truth. Sometimes the best way to do that is through our wounds. Through vulnerability we can help to heal people. That’s why a lot of my music, specifically my upcoming album, is so embedded with my own wounds and healing of those wounds in Christ. Go out and put your wounds on paper! Whether that be drawing, music, or even fingerpainting!
8. Interconnecting music and faith is one of the many ways we can use to express the Gospels. What are the biggest challenges you personally live in the process? Have you ever had the natural inclination to express your Catholic faith through the music?
Yeah, it’s tough. Haha! I won’t lie, writing theologically deep lyrics, without getting fed up with people calling you a bigot for being a Catholic is one thing. Another thing entirely is to be told you are scandalous by well meaning Catholics because you write with wounds and vulnerability. I prefer the approach of pain and wounds being healed in and through my music, directly reflecting Christ. Conveying a relationship with Christ in my brokenness and woundedness, while veering away from the repetitive worship songs. I am far too interested in seeing how Christ has put a light in my darkness than merely looking at the light. Wounds can only heal if they are vulnerable? Now, I don’t like to fully clench onto the Catholic musician title. Catholicism and Christianity is my life, not a genre of music. So whatever inclination to write about a particular point I have, it is merely because my life is all about my faith, and therefore my music speaks a lot about my faith.
9. As former wanna-be musician, I know how hard is it to make a living out of it, both as guitar player and songwriter. I shall presume that being a catholic musician is even more harder, given that we live in a niche. We as catholic do not use the «path with the devil», or at least I would not include it. How does it feel, for you, to be a catholic musician, trying to find out your space in the world of today? Is it that hard?
I tend to tell people I am a musician that is a serious Catholic, not a Catholic musician. You make an accurate presumption though, it’s not easy. Nor have I ever expected it to be so. When I began, I was swearing in my music, yelling, writing raunchy lyrics. I was an angry, angry artist. While it is a great output of great music, it didn’t convey my true self. This life I chose because Christ has called me to it. Even the birds of the air don’t worry (Mt 6:26), so if I am following Him, why should I? So in all respects, yes it is hard, but for me I quite enjoy a challenge.
10. What’s the process, your personal process, behind producing, delivering and selling a record, or a song, be it digital or physical?
Producing a record takes, at minimum, a year. That is with me owning my own studio, and doing all of it myself! It begins with a nudge from the Lord. A call to pray on an idea and to contemplate. A lot of my music and lyrics come from that place of contemplation and prayer. Typically what I will do is write for a few months on the guitar or piano or whatever. No lyrics, only the music. From that foundation I begin lyrics. This is a process of constant reworking. Most lyrics are written on a typewriter. This is due to the nature of my mind. I have terrible handwriting, and when I have an idea that I want to get out fast, it gets even worse. “So why not use a computer and type it up” you ask? Ever notice how distracting grammar and spell check is? Blue and red lines everywhere! It takes you out of the creative realm! Out of that space the Lord can speak! So I bought a typewriter. No blue lines, no red lines, no unreadable handwriting, and it’s much faster. Of course after that begins the recording and production process. Any of the gear junkies will enjoy this part! All recording takes place with as much analog equipment as possible, typically starting right at the source with a decent microphone. I use an analog Tascam M-312b mixer from the 80s. Out of the 12 direct outs into the direct inputs on my Digidesign 003. Old equipment, great sound. I love the 003 because it has so many more capabilities and options than modern interfaces. From there, I use Studio One and Protools as a Tape reel. Typically I try to mix from the M-312b and patch to other equipment. Now a lot of this obviously depends on collab efforts. From there it is distributed and sold/streamed. I am on all major platforms! Feel free to check it out, as I have new music coming soon!
11. Tell us about your musical compositions. I somewhere see songs like “The touch is dense” and “Almond blue”. What does these songs talk about?
Two of my more popular songs, particularly “The Touch is Dense.” This is a bluesy song about the Eucharist. I had been an Extraordinary Minister for years, but at one point I was bringing the Eucharist to the choir loft. I was in this 3 foot wide double staircase, in the dark, alone with the Creator of the universe. I looked down at the Ciborium I am holding and it feels so heavy. As I get up to the choir, and give out communion, the host feels heavy in my hands. It was almost as if the touch of Christ was dense, the inch wide wafer was dense, and heavy in my hands. This was the inspiration for The Touch is Dense, which is actually something most people don’t know! You heard it here everyone, theorangeblogger.com!
12. What do you think about asceticism?
At its extreme we are looking at someone stepping out of culture completely and acting as a sort of anarchist in a sense. Anarchy in the form of silent meditation and fasting is nothing evil though. In its pure form (pure being its most authentic form) we are looking at a healthy daily fast. These kinds of things bring us closer to Him, if done in line with Him. Typically asceticism is considered extreme at first consideration. Usually it may be true. I don’t call “lent” ascetic, but I digress. Those are some thoughts for consideration.
13. Let’s talk about the so-called ‘‘christian music’’: those who sing for Christ. Here in Italy we have a few catholic artists. One of my favorite is Mirael, an italian cantautrice. Do you ever listen to christian catholic musicians? Do you have any favourite artist?
There are few great Catholic artists in my opinion. I believe we have veered into an era where only secular music can be truly creative. If you are singing or writing about God, one tends to be more careful with what they say or play, and with good reason. But to be honest, relinquishing the power of creativity is weak and gives power to culture. There is obviously some great music out there focused on Christ, perhaps not Catholic, but Christian nonetheless. For example, Josh Garrels is doing some amazing work. His production as well as lyrical elements is something to aspire towards. There’s also Liz Vice out of Portland. She combines Gospel and 60s Soul with a bit of a Jazz influence, at least per my own ear. See, there is a time and place for traditional Christian Contemporary, but it begs asking, is this the limit of God? Now the question of favorite artist is different, because I will assume this includes any and all musicians. Per se John Mayer, Hendrix, J.J. Cale, Led Zeppelin, Ten Years After, Robben Ford and so much more.
14. What is your favourite saint? Any particular devotion to any particular saint? Ever heard of saint Gemma Galgani?
Maybe you can get this question finished off once and for all. It seems to be a go to for my fans! Haha! I must go with Pier Giorgio Frassati, who is blessed, but he has inspired a life of authentic masculinity in me. There’s also Saint Joseph, Max Kolbe, Padre Pio, Clare, and so many more. I can’t say I have heard of Saint Gemma Galgani though. I will do some research on her for sure.
15. “– continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2,12). How it’s going your path to Heaven?
Authenticity, consistency and vulnerability. Those are something I am big on. As I have said before, I like doing things the hard way. Smoking Pipes rather than cigars, listening to music on a vinyl rather than MP3, recording analog rather than digital, cleaning dishes by hand rather than dishwasher. We have lost this ability to do things the hard way. We can’t even make friends the hard way in person! We have to use apps to meet people now! What is happening? Well, number one we aren’t consistent in our striving for Holiness, nor are we vulnerable with our wounds. My entire mission is to reveal these three in a musical form and point our culture back to Him. I am not sure how it is going to be honest! But I’m definitely giving it a go!
God Bless! ~Jordan~