Montreal guitarist Jordan Peters strikes the right chord
Jordan Peters went from playing in Montreal bars to touring the world with Lauryn Hill
From Tuesday night gigs at Les Bobards in Montreal to international tours with American singer songwriter Lauryn Hill, one Montreal musician is living his dream.
Guitarist, Jordan Peters always dreamt of one day playing with the artists he admires and who inspire him.
He didn't know how or when it would happen but he never gave up on that goal.
As a kid in his family's basement in Lachute, he'd learn from his dad on an old five-string acoustic guitar.
Eventually, Peters caught up on music theory at Vanier College, and completed — with honours — jazz studies at the Schulich School of Music at McGill. All of it led the ground-work for him to live a full-fledged life of a gig-to-gig (read: struggling) artist in Montreal's lesser known "soul—R&B—hip hop meets jazz scene", as Peters describes it.
Fast-forward to January of 2015.
It had been slightly more than two years since Peters moved to New York in search of greener pastures.
"I feel in Montreal, there's a lot of great stuff but unless you're doing French music or rock or anything like that, which is more commercial, it's going to be really hard to get stuff off the ground."
He was establishing himself in the vibrant soul music scene in the Big Apple, playing regularly at popular spots like The Lesson and Toshi's Living Room in Manhattan. Aside from honing his craft, those gigs are great places to network with other musicians.
And one of those musicians – another guitarist - did notice him. He passed on a compliment to Jordan and the two exchanged numbers with no set intentions to collaborate in the future.
But the future came six months later.
"I think it was six months later…this guy texts me out of the blue. I had never spoken to him since I met him. The text said, 'Hey Man, do you wanna play with Lauryn Hill?' I was like, uh, yeah," Peters explained.
Turns out that guitarist Peters met six months ago was in Hill's band before but wasn't available to play the dates.
He wasn't sure that the offer was even real, but a day later, he was jamming with Hill in her home in New Jersey.
He brought two guitars -- only knowing that she sometimes played a nylon acoustic guitar. He had one as well.
It was the right move on his part: the plan for the small tour in February would be Lauryn Hill playing her original acoustic music with a full band.
So, what's it like?
"She's the musical director — her vision is what it is. But I will say that she gives a lot of room to the musicians to express themselves within the frame that she gives us," he says, now getting ready to tour this summer.
"Once you have that, you can sort of play with it and add yourself to the mix. So that's great about this gig... I'm meeting challenges that she's bringing to me but then I put myself in that, so I never feel that I'm not being myself. Not every gig is like that but that's what a great gig is."
Talk about a dream come true.
Jordan Peters is not only playing with one of those artists he admires, but he's the lead guitarist in her band. He's even had the chance to record music with her featured on the soundtrack of a new documentary about another great: Nina Simone.
They'll be touring around the world this summer, but unfortunately no Montreal dates yet.