Despite having gained an immense amount of recognition from appearing on The X Factor UK, Jordi Whitworth has been immersed in the entertainment industry long before the show and has come a long way since. From beginning his modeling career at a young age to making music solo and appearing on television shows, he’s been working hard and in the spotlight for quite some time. We managed to sit down with the triple threat and chat about his beginnings, plans for the future, and life with the cameras on – and off.
It was a sunny May afternoon, but Toronto delivered a stereotypically Canadian, brisk and windy day. Jordi eases into his seat and our conversation starts with the weather, as most do. He’s calm and collected with an ever-present smile on his face while talking about his time in Canada, but also shows a serious side when touching on topics such as privacy (or the lack thereof) when living in the public eye, and the role social media plays in the relationship between artists and fans.
Modeling was one of Jordi’s first passions, having gotten started when he was a child. He looks back on his childhood fondly with a glimmer of nostalgia, remembering his first photo shoots, the nervous energy and the way his mother would ease those nerves: by getting him new GameBoy games. Specifically, Pokemon games. If he could only play one Pokemon game for the rest of his life? “Emerald.” He says instantly.
When he was 15, he got his first and favourite tattoo, his old motocross number (45) in the middle of a pair of angel wings on the top of his back. He laughs, describing the reaction from teachers at school the next day. He was asked to rub it off until they realized that it was definitely not coming off. “Once I had one, it was so addictive, and you end up getting covered,” He says, gesturing to the ink on the inside of his left arm, and the lion on his hand.
Before Overload Generation, Jordi hadn’t ever sung, let alone considered a career in the music industry. When someone building a boyband reached out to him via Twitter, he was a bit skeptical but gave it a shot. He met up with who would soon be his manager, and as he arrived, the rest of the boys were leaving. Jordi sang a few lines from a song, and the manager wanted him in the band. “I was a little bit confused, like what is going on?” Says Jordi, recounting the bizarre moment that would change his life.
While on The X Factor, there was a lot for him to both prove and loose. The show has a significant following of its own, resulting in a massive audience for participants. Jordi found Simon to be one “one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet”, contrasting the iconic judge’s unimpressed, on-camera persona. If he had to be picked to be judged by three of Simon Cowell or five of Louis Walsh, he’d pick three of Simon – “There’s less of them.”
If there’s one thing fans love more than tours, they’re band reunions. After their initial breakup in 2015, Overload Generation is reuniting this summer for one last show. Jordi initiated the reunion, feeling that they owed it to the fans after such a long time supporting them.
I felt like as a band, we owed it to the fans that have literally grown up with us, day in, day out. Building up our social media numbers, building up with us. We couldn’t just drop them like that. We couldn’t just drop them. We’ve been with them for two years, two and a half years, they’ve been so supportive towards us. I just felt that we couldn’t just drop them and not do anything.
Jordi texted the rest of the members of the band proposing the idea of a reunion. Two members, Ryan and Oliver agreed and will take the stage alongside Jordi at the O2 Islington this August.
After going solo, Jordi found his musical style, being able to explore and experiment. He still likes the pop side of music but enjoys being able to bring more of an R&B element into his music. Some of his inspiration comes from older songs from the likes of The Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC, in addition to some of today’s artists such as The Weeknd. If he could capture his musical style in a drink, it would be a modern take on something traditional.
His new single, Fire drops on May 26th. The energetic track is about the instant spark between two people meeting for the first time, one that listeners can relate to with their own experiences of meeting someone new. You can watch his first live performance of “Fire” on The Morning Show here.
Acting caught his interest at the age of 16, after having joined an extras agency. Following some background work, he landed a role on BBC One’s Big School, a sitcom about teachers in a high school. This was the role that gave him the “this is what I want to do” moment. Aside from his time on The X Factor and Big School, Jordi has also been in television shows such as The Only Way is Essex and Stage School. He enjoyed being in both shows but felt the demographic of The Only Way is Essex was a bit older than his age at the time. On the other hand, he fit right in on Stage School both demographic-wise, and considering subject matter – it was a reality show about young adults in music and dance and he got to showcase his singing skills.
If he could be on any reality TV show, it would be Survivor. “I’d be terrible at it. It would be funny to see, and it would make good TV.” He says, laughing. “I’d be abandoned on an island and thinking, ‘find a charger’ and everything like that, it would be an absolute nightmare.”
Jordi has adjusted to life in the public eye, but the beginning of his popularity both out in the world and online was overwhelming at first. As warm as the spotlight of the entertainment industry can feel at times, it can also put the lives of those working in the industry under a microscope. Both news, personal information, and rumours can circulate in an instant in the age of the internet. The fangirl phenomenon can normalize the overstepping of personal boundaries. Many artists like Jordi have been victims of a mixture of both. He recounts a scary moment when he arrived at a club with people waiting for him – and left at the end of the night with the same ones waiting outside to confront him about a rumor, chasing him around a car park.
At the end of the day, everybody’s got to realize that you are human. No matter what position you are in your life, you’re entitled to do what you want with your life. I mean, there’s a point where you’ve got to be a role model to people, and I completely understand that. But then there’s also having your personal life.
If there’s one thing he wants to convey, it’s that you don’t have to start at a young age to make dreams come true. There’s a misperception that people have to start going after things as children to achieve these dreams – but Jordi is living proof to debunk that myth.
I think you put your heart and soul into something, and you want to do something so badly, and you are passionate about it, you can make anything happen. Whether it be singing, acting, being a doctor, being whatever you want to do. I think you can be whatever you want to be if you wanted to at whatever age. And that’s kind of the message I want to get across to everyone.
One of the most common misperceptions of Jordi? Overconfidence and cockiness. With so much time in the public eye, little is unknown and a lot can be misread as perceptions about people are made through their portrayal through social media, television shows, and the odd fan footage here and there. Outside of working, he enjoys similar activities to others his age. He’s had to give up motocross racing due to his busy schedule, but in his free time, he goes to the gym and occasionally boxes.
After an afternoon of chatting about both his career and life with some jokes here and there, we can definitely say that it’s a misconception and can’t wait to hear what’s next.
Are you excited to hear “Fire” or see Jordi at the Overload Generation reunion? Let us know by tweeting us at @CelebMix.