After nearly four long years, Majid Jordan has returned with their third album Wildest Dreams. In normal circumstances, it’s longer than fans would’ve liked to wait in between projects, but if the last 20 months have taught us anything, we’re not at all dealing with normal circumstances. A once-in-a-lifetime pandemic brought the world to a standstill for the better part of a year. With that being said, it still leaves the following question unanswered: Where has Majid Jordan been these past few years?
“I think we almost played like 100 shows in a year in 2018 right after The Space Between came out. We were constantly on the road, living out of suitcases for about a year,” Jordan Ullman, the producer half of Majid Jordan tells me during a Zoom call. “It was a tense time of constantly thinking that we had to keep this music going. It’s like you released a project and people are like, ‘That’s cool, but like what’s next?’” He adds, “I think we’ve always tried to slow that process down and I think releasing this album and just being more in the moment of like engaging with people is the whole idea of where we want to take it next.”
The answer is Wildest Dreams, which arrives this week with eleven songs and guest appearances from Drake, Swae Lee, and Diddy. For Majid Jordan, there’s nothing but gratitude for the fans who, despite their thinning patience, stuck around with them over the past few years. “We wouldn’t be here without you,” Majid says earnestly. “We won’t let you down. You are not forgotten.” Jordan echos the same message and adds “there’s a lot more” on the way that their supporters will be able to enjoy in the coming months.
A key figure in helping Majid Jordan live out this dream is Drake and his OVO Sound label, which signed the duo back in 2013 and brought them to the national spotlight through tracks with the rapper like “Hold On We’re Going Home” and “My Love.” Contrary to social media theories that the Drake and Noah “40” Shebib-led imprint restricts their artists, Majid Jordan says exactly the opposite happens at OVO headquarters. “There’s no one who can say like, you can’t go and make music today,” Majid points out. “There’s no one who can tell us that. We can do everything on our own.” He adds, “The thing is, when you’re dealing, on a global scale, with a team that’s like that, it’s gonna just take a little bit longer than having 100-150 people behind you pushing everything all at the same time.”
The duo released two singles in both 2018 and 2019 before seemingly fading into the background. It was a well-needed and intentional break to slow down their creative process, as Jordan mentioned. Majid Al Maskati, the voice behind Majid Jordan, noted that last year’s pandemic further postponed their return as they were unsure of the health risks behind reuniting to create music. It’s here that Jordan shares how else the pandemic altered their plans. “We were very close to putting out an album, I would say we were wrapping it up end of 2019, early 2020,” he says. “We had a whole body of work under a whole different name, it was kind of like a fragment of an album.”
It’s a roadblock that many artists faced throughout 2020: share their art without being able to present it the way they’d like or hold off for an unknown amount of time. For Majid Jordan, the decision was easy. As their music is so attached to a live experience that amplifies and provides a completely new experience to the music fans heard in the comfort of their own home. It makes sense the duo placed a lot of focus on live performances and touring. Sonically, Majid Jordan is extremely diverse. The duo thrives in a pop world that keeps a foot in the R&B lane, allowing their work to be stretched and pulled into several sonic directions. Evidence of this lives on their 2014 EP A Place Like This and their two albums, Majid Jordan and The Space Between. Majid Jordan has grown in more ways than one and displays that growth on Wildest Dreams.
“There’s definitely an experimentation outside of the sound we’re usually known for [on this album], which I think is great for us,” Majid notes. “I think it’s being proactive in that sense of not being afraid to put the first foot forward into unfamiliar territory and just feeling it out, not even in private, but under the watchful eye of an entire world.” This is evident on tracks like “Forget About The Party,” a stripped-down, guitar-driven ballad that calls for “divine intervention” to redirect a lover from a party to their arms instead. It’s a song that Jordan believes is “at the center of who we are as musicians.” He adds, “I think it makes people remind themselves of a time in their lives. Anytime I listen to that, it really makes me go into a world of myself and memories.”
For Majid, the song that fits that category is “Sweet,” the album’s closer, pointing to a string of lyrics from it to explain why. “Be about me and I’ll be about you / Sing a song from your heart for me,” he sings on the track. “Leave a space in your heart for me / We’re not so different, but we’re moving differently / I feel it every time you leave / I never knew that love could be so sweet.” In short, “It’s that eye-opening feeling where it’s like we aren’t really different,” Majid says. “We’re just doing things differently to get to the same place the same end goal, that same dream we have for ourselves.”
Majid Jordan is unique as the duo is comprised of a singer and a producer, although there are similar acts including DVSN and They. It allows for Majid Jordan to create with just each other rather than relying on the availability and interest of another party. It’s a quality that the duo admitted may have contributed to their longevity. “When you start working on a project it can go many different ways, but I think we as two people are coming together in a way that the stuff we’re able to accomplish musically man?” Jordan says. “I couldn’t even dream of really doing it you know 10 years ago so I think in that way it’s getting easier.” However, that doesn’t mean that they won’t call on other artists when the occasion calls for it.
“We have a collaboration with Diddy, he’s featured on a song called ‘Sway,’” Majid notes. “He FaceTimed us like, ‘Yo wassup, I just wanted you to see the reaction to the song in real-time,’ and he’s dancing on FaceTime with his family. They’re all enjoying the song.” Another too-good-to-be-true moment came on “Dancing On A Dream,” the album’s opener which features Swae Lee. After multiple failed attempts to get the Rae Sremmurd rapper on the song, Majid Jordan submitted the album without the feature and returned to their everyday lives with Majid deciding to fly back to Bahrain, his birthplace, to spend time with family.
Days into his trip, he noticed an Instagram Story post from Swae Lee of him notifying his followers that he was on his way to Dubai, a city just an hour flight away from where he was staying in Bahrain. The singer knew he had to chase down the rapper to secure his vocals for “Dancing on A Dream.” “I have this duffel bag with just a mic, my laptop in it, whatever and I’m like I’m going to go find Swae Lee,” he says with a laugh. “I get there and I’m staying at a place that’s four minutes from his hotel. I find a way to reach out to them and he’s like, ‘Yo come through.’ I play him the music and he’s like, ‘I’m gonna destroy this.’ We basically party for three days, and on the third day, I get them to lay down a verse.”
From the young college students with a dream to the well-established duo that signed to Drake, made music with Diddy, and chased down Swae Lee in a foreign country, you can say that Majid and Jordan are living out their wildest dreams. However, what’s next? For Jordan, it’s opening doors for a marginalized community in the music industry. “I definitely want to make a concrete actual studio in Toronto, and I want this studio to be run by women,” he reveals, adding that his younger sister aspires to be a producer just like him. “Two percent of women are producers. It’s something that as soon you really put it into reality and understand that, it’s pretty ridiculous that it’s still like that.”
Majid also has noble aspirations that will hopefully make careers in the fine arts world more attainable and realistic for people in his home country of Bahrain. “A dream for me is to be able to give people where I’m from access to just arts programs — music, visual arts, drama, anything — and bring them over to this side,” he reveals. “Also, take people who are experts and connections that we’ve made, artists that we know, [and] bring them over to that side to give people that exposure and that connection.”
The duo’s unlikely success due to their unique beginnings contributes to their desire to help those who have the odds against them. It also serves as another point of inspiration behind Wildest Dreams. “When I left home, I left there with the dream of building a sustainable career — creating myself from nothing in another place,” Majid says. “So that dream, we’re still in the process, we’re on the cusp of it and now we’re putting out this album, we’re still kind of feeling it out. The struggle is knowing that it’s not a guarantee, and yet, pursuing it and persevering through the most difficult times.” Jordan emulates a similar thought from a broader point of view. “‘Dream’ in the initial can be such a blissful, built identity that isn’t in reach,” he says. “It’s just this idea, like [a] utopia. Then there’s also the reality of what do you dream of from other human beings and from yourself? I think the duality of that is found on [the album].”
Wildest Dreams is out now via OVO Sound/Warner Records. Get it here.
Majid Jordan is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.