The Toronto-based duo on the importance of connecting with like-minded people, and being yourself in every room.

The artists behind Good People are in fact, great people. Majid Jordan, made up of writer and singer Majid Al Maskati and producer Jordan Ullman, give away their humble sensibility with this understated album title, released in October last year. Their fourth studio album feels like a nostalgic return to their self-titled debut in 2016. The listener feels suspended in space and time, entranced by repeated lines such as, “Eyes closed, when we move we go slow” and “Don’t let my heart slip.” 


The nine-track record is a reflection of just how at one these two people are, with mutual adoration and respect present in every interaction. While speaking on Zoom in separate rooms, they joke that they “don’t even have to look at each other” to know what the other is thinking, and it shows. 


Creatively, their connection is undeniable, “I would say 100% of the time when we’re spending time alone for more than three hours, there’s a piece of music that’s made.” For the past three years, the duo have been in music-making mode, with an extended stint in LA before returning to Toronto, where this project began. But Jordan explains how this time was different, “We just rented a studio, which we don’t really do. We make music like nomads, we pull out a laptop and a microphone, and then we pack it up when we get in the car.” 


Majid Jordan chose to keep this studio intimate. They only had a few artists make it onto the final record, and weren’t actively pursuing other collaborators, “It was just a matter of putting time aside to be in the same room to the point where I wasn’t Majid anymore, and he wasn’t Jordan anymore…and that’s simpler to do when there’s less people.”

The other notable difference was spending six weeks recording in Majid’s home country of Bahrain, “You make music for so long, you associate an environment with productivity, right? I think we just kind of ignored that.” Both are gratefully aware of their unique set up, “We had the privilege of that time, and we understand the power of music and the importance of not taking advantage of it.” The culmination of these environments was perhaps ironically, an album that felt both reminiscent of their first EP, Afterhours, and simultaneously “brand new”. So much so, that they burned Good People to a CD, just as they had done in 2012. This inadvertent affinity is why the pair later released Afterhours as an addition to Good People, “We didn’t add any part or any instrumentation or any lyric or any vocal that we truly didn’t feel that fit…It was intentionally putting ourselves into the music and not expecting anything from it.” 


The solitary lyrical feature on Good People is fellow OVO signee, Naomi Sharon on ‘Waiting For You’. It’s a perfectly crafted song, with a beat only Jordan could create, and Naomi and Majid’s voices blending so seamlessly that at moments it’s hard to differentiate between the two. The origins of the track are as organic as their musical chemistry, “We hung out all day. We were talking about everything, life, what it means to make art, where it comes from, intention. She’s such a wonderful human being.” The song itself was made in a matter of hours, highlighting the importance of accessibility to creative spaces.


This is something the duo feel passionately about, investing in artist connections from Toronto to the world. Their support acts on this tour are Dar Disku from Bahrain, and Alex Lustig from Belgium, as well as eagerly sharing plans for a studio space in Toronto, “It’s a great place for people to incubate around the world.” Given the city’s propensity towards hosting visitors, there is an urgency for these relationships to be cemented before paths diverge. Luckily, the duo were able to do this before Majid left Toronto as a graduate over a decade ago.


Since those early days, there’s no denying that Majid Jordan have developed a signature sound. Their skill comes in retaining this, while still making music that sounds fresh. This can be partially attributed to Jordan’s production process, “I’m learning more that I’m thinking like a mixer while I’m producing music,” so to the untrained ear, there is a consistent audio thread. Many assign them a key role in shaping the Toronto sound that’s exported globally, but the guys are quick to distinguish that they are “a” sound of Toronto, not “the” sound, given the city’s immense diversity of influence, “Where the frequencies are actually sitting in a record is where people define sound. When people talk about a ‘Toronto sound’, it’s RnB, it’s reggae, it’s dub, that’s really what the sound of Toronto is.” In a typically modest manner, they also credit those surrounding them, “We’ve been blessed to be around people who are like minded, but also thought provoking. It doesn’t feel like a vacuum…We all come from different places, we all have these different paths.” 

When presented with the emotional impact they have on fans, Majid says, “It’s dangerous to frame yourself as this perfect thing, or this completely flawed thing. You have to be gentle with yourself, and also not too egotistical with yourself as well.” This balance of self-awareness and introspection on love is so palpable in their music that it can’t be accidental, “It’s [love] not something that’s a default setting. You put it into what you enjoy doing, what you’re devoted to. We’ve devoted ourselves to music, so we practise it with love.” It seems that practice makes magic when it comes to Majid Jordan. 


The pair are evidently energised by performing live and meeting fans across the world. “Everytime we’re on stage it’s emotional. We’re all here, we’ve all taken the time to gather in this one place.” Never was a statement more true than at their London show. With a suitably minimal stage design, the set was ostensibly split into three acts. The first, a non-linear performance of Good People, featuring a surprise appearance from Naomi Sharon on ‘Waiting For You’. The second act felt like a party with uptempo tracks, such as ‘Every Step Every Way’ and ‘Her’, which to the audience’s delight, they played twice. The third act brought the pace down, peaking with an acoustic performance of ‘Chill Pad Deluxe’ from the Afterhours EP. The show concluded with the hauntingly beautiful ‘King City’, accentuating Majid’s vocal range amidst atmospheric fog. The crowd’s unwavering energy across the almost two hour set clearly made an impression, as Jordan took the mic to speak, which rarely happens on stage. 


Both Majid and Jordan talk sincerely about the importance of practising authenticity wherever you are, and it shows. They are the same people on stage as they are in a group of friends, or in our conversation. Majid says that love is, “Accepting that whole – the calmness, the chaos, all of it unconditionally, and not really seeking to gain anything from it.” It feels as though these two great people only stand to make each other better, not seeking to gain anything that isn’t meant to be. 

Listen to Good People/Afterhours now: