You'll have seen yesterday's interview with Deborah Cox, one of the recently announced judges for CBC's new talent show, Cover Me Canada. Along with Deborah and Ron Fair, Cover Me's other judge is one fifth of New Kids on the Block - Jordan Knight. But he's certainly not a new kid to the music business. We've had the pleasure of speaking to Jordan too, albeit in the midst of a power cut...
Hi Jordan, thanks for speaking to us - how's it going?
Not too bad, actually, it's kinda funny - my power just went out. Kinda weird, all the power in my house just died.
That's a bit odd. Where are you at the moment?
I'm in Massachusetts. We had the storm, the hurricane. Yeah, so Irene. It's probably something related to that. I'm not too worried about it.
To the business at hand sir, you've been announced as one of the judges for Cover Me Canada, how much do you know about the contestants?
We're still going to learn more about the contestants, but from what I hear, the producers of the show have scoured the country really, and have come up with the cream of the crop. It's not really like American Idol where they let people come on and some of them make fools of themselves. It's really acts that are bubbling under and on the cusp of becoming known stars and known recording artists. It'll be really cool I think, seeing the talent Canada has.
Do you have any predictions for how the acts will get on?
Well there are different kinds of acts, there's country, there's hip hop, there's R&B - different flavours. I think that'll make it a lot of fun.
What do you know about the other judges?
I go back - I know Ron Fair and I know Deborah Cox. I used to be managed by the same manager as Deborah and I worked with Ron at Interscope Records about 10 years ago, so that's pretty cool.
He's a big name
Yeah, he's a great producer. He's kind of a big wig in the executive field of the record business!
What are you looking for from the contestants?
Me, I'm looking for creativity, originality, star quality and musicianship. The whole package, really. Sometimes you don't know what you're looking for, some people are just so original they stand out. Just that kind of star quality appeal. That can come in many ways, you could have a very introverted artist and because their artistry is so incredible they really stand out. It's hard to say what's going to make a person a star really.
You've experienced so much in the music world already, so for someone to stand out for you they'll have to be pretty special, right?
Well, I have seen many different acts. My whole thing is that I can maybe see more of the potential in the contestants and try to help coach them along because I personally know the process. I know what it takes to get from A to Z, as far as being groomed and grooming myself and the process of creating a song or creating a stage presence. Also, I know what might be going through their minds on stage, or while they're creating music. Their hopes, their fears, their process. Maybe I can give a good perspective on that as well.
How do the acts make the cover songs their own?
I think they just have to let their abilities translate the songs into what they do best. If they're great harmonizers they've got to take the melody of the song and make it theirs. There might be a hip-hop group that are assigned a country song - they've just got to focus on what they know, their genre, their strengths and flip the song into what they do best.
How does covering classics compare to performing original songs?
It think it's more of a challenge, but I think it'll be fun for the audience because we will know the song, and how it's supposed to sound. I think for the audience it'll be fun to watch them recreate the song and it'll give the audience a springboard, a platform into what the artist does with it because it's a known song. It'll be more of a challenge, maybe, for the artist to flip the song and make it their own.
Speaking of the audience, what are you asking of the people at home? How can they help?
A lot of responsibility is going to go onto the artist, they're going to be encouraged to get involved with social media and to create their Twitter accounts and Facebook pages and a lot of their points are going to go in to how many followers they have on Twitter and how many likes they have on Facebook, all that kind of stuff. So we want the audience to get involved in the social media aspect, and I think they will. A lot of that is going to be on the show, the artists pushing themselves out there and getting the audience involved and to really back them. It's going to be interesting to see the artist develop a fanbase through the show. And I think that's a great thing, even if they don't win, even if they don't make it to the final rounds they will be so much better off. It's going to be great for all the artists on the show to have that opportunity to create a broader fanbase on a national level.
Do you have any favourite Canadian songs or artists to cover?
You know what? I haven't done much homework on that aspect! So, y'know, there's the stock answer: Bryan Adams, who's incredible. I hope that some of his songs are on the show. I'm sure they will be. Oh! Alanis Morissette! I really hope that some of her songs will be translated. Jagged Little Pill was great, so I hope something from that will be on the show.