Photographer: Clare Setian // @claresetian
Stylist: Sarah Booth // @sarahmariabooth
Make Up: Coco Hirani // @coco_beanmua
Hair: Stefan Bertin // @Stefanbertin
Model: Jordi Whitworth// @jordiwhitworth
Fashion Assistant: Chanel Baker & Phoebe Brannick // @lalaanoire_
Interviewer: Johnson Gold // @Johnson_Gold
Location: Artist Residence London
Tell us a bit about yourself and your experience from X Factor?
My name’s Jordi Whitworth, in 2014 I was in X Factor in a boyband called Overload Generation. We were together for a year and a half when we decided to go into X Factor: we got chucked out at bootcamp and then brought back as the Wild Card for the live shows.
Then, we actually got kicked out on the first round, which was a bit annoying, but that was a great learning curve. That was the time when we needed to stick together because we had a lot coming in that we could have capitalized off the back of the show, but I found out that two of the boys had gone behind my back and started making a band. I didn’t know what I wanted to do then. I was a bit broken by X Factor, obviously it’s upsetting. It was near the end of 2015 when I decided I wanted to pursue a solo career, so I started working on that with a few producers that I’d met and came up with a few songs that I’ve recently just made. One’s called ‘Fire’ and one’s called ‘Mambo’.
What made you decide to get into a boy band rather than go solo in the first place?
Well I got scouted for the boy band, it wasn’t anything I was anticipating doing at the time. I was purely doing extra work on TV, because I wanted to get into acting. Before the band I was actually in a BBC sitcom with David Walliams and Catherine Tate called ‘Big School’. I have been doing that for about three or four months and then literally just as I finished that I got the call from my ex-manager asking if I wanted to be in a boy band. I didn’t really know if that was what I wanted to do, I just thought: ‘okay I’ll come down for the interview’ and try it. I went down there and the boys liked me, so I think it was literally the week after, I moved out of my house and in with them.
Did you always want to be a singer?
No, I came out of school and didn’t really want to go to college or university, I just wanted to start working and earning money. So I started working for my dad as he owned a double glazing company.
How old were you then?
16. I never really anticipated doing singing, it was only once I got scouted for the band that I thought maybe I’ll take this avenue.
Did they know you could sing?
Well they scouted me more for my look, at the time.
So it was quite a big risk then? Is that how putting together a group works? They scout more for the look than the voice?
Nowadays yeah. They already had two main lead singers in the band, so he wasn’t really fussed about whether I could hit big notes, it was more like if I could hold a tune and fit in to the band. It’s not just about the voice, it’s more about being an all rounder, which I think he saw in me. It was only after the band split that I wanted to do a solo career because I enjoyed performing so much and knew that I didn’t want to give that up. So I’ve been having vocal coach lessons each week and working on my voice and just trying to get the best out of myself as possible really.
And is this what you want to do for the rest of your life now?
Do you feel like you needed that experience of being in the boy band to find that out?
Yeah of course, so obviously when I did leave school, I kind of wanted to do a bit of TV but didn’t really know the best route about it so I was doing the odd acting job, but once I got scouted for the boy band and then that ended, I think that kind of put it into my mind that that’s something I enjoy doing and something I would love to pursue a career in for the rest of my life.
Would you ever go back on X Factor again?
No. Don’t get me wrong, it was great exposure, but I don’t really trust the show and I think I would prefer to do it a bit more organically rather than going through that sort of platform. Nowadays, I don’t really know what they’re looking for. I think they kind of want the jokey acts, the ones that are good for TV. I don’t really know what they’re trying to go for and I would hate to go on there and risk what I’ve got at the minute, for them to make me look something I’m not. I’d rather just try and make it the way that I’m trying now and if it doesn’t work I’ve only got myself to blame.
Would you say that X Factor is fixed?
I heard a lot of rumours when I was on there about things that were going on, but again you don’t know 100% for sure. I think anyone who’s been through the show would probably say yeah, it’s kind of a little bit fixed.
What did you learn from X Factor?
Although I was in a band, I learnt that you can’t really trust a lot of people in the industry, I think everyone talks and I think everyone wants to blow smoke up your arse at the time. But then the minute they’re done with you, it’s like everything’s out the window so I guess you kind of put up a little bit of a trust issue barrier. I think it made me a lot more independent in myself, although I was in a band. It was a great experience like I said, I think the exposure side of it was really good, but other than that there were parts of it which I just didn’t like.
And talking about exposure, what did you gain from X Factor? Cause I’m guessing your following has grown?
Yeah, it’s annoying because at the time when I was in the band we only had one band account, we didn’t actually have solo accounts. I wish that going through X Factor I had my solo account because it probably would be at double the amount I’ve got now. But that was good, we already went into the show having a bit of a following, and then off the back of the show we had an even bigger following.
So how did you grow your following?
So when I left the band I made my solo account. I found out that all the other boys had made solo accounts and they were posting their accounts out on the group account and for me, it was kind of like, “you can’t do that cause we’re still a band!” This was before I found out about the boys making another band. And then I caught wind that they had started making another band, and I thought ‘oh well that’s why they’re trying to steal the fans off of the band account on to their solo accounts’.
So then I just decided to do the same thing and that’s when I said to the boys, “I obviously now know what you’re doing, as much as I don’t like it I’m not going to stop you.” The decision had already been made, but I obviously was going to be leaving the band and also, I was entitled to get what I deserved off the back of the accounts. No one obviously questioned it cause it was an account that we built up together as a five-piece boy band. But I did gain a fair amount when I did make that account, but I’ve just grown it myself. If I’m honest, I’ve not really used the Overload name to make the fans, it’s just grown on its own.
And what are your other interests other than music? Do you do modelling as well?
Yeah, I do….
Have you signed with an agency?
No, so anything that comes to me is purely just through myself. I’ve done a few presenting parts, I present a half hour slot on Chart Show TV after X Factor and that’s really good. And then, a few shows and gigs, acting pieces and stuff.
How many tattoos do you have?
Oh God! One on my hand, my leg, my foot and then two on my back. But soon to be added, I think on my arm…
What do your tattoos represent?
The one on the top of my back is angel wings with the number 45 in the middle. The angel wings is kind of like a symbol for me and my family. I don’t know where it comes from, but the angel wings symbol is a bit of a family thing for me, and then the number 45 is my motor cross racing number, which is from when I used to race as a kid.
Then, I’ve got a portrait of me and my brother racing at the bottom of my back, which is quite cool. I can’t even remember what else I’ve got! I’ve got six stars on my foot which symbolises a family tradition to put six x’s after things but I didn’t really think it would look right if I put six x’s on my foot, so I put stars instead. They’re all just family-orientated really. The hand one is something which I’ve always looked at and it’s a lion.
In terms of grooming, you seem to do very well, what products do you use?
I don’t actually know what my hairstylist gives me. To be fair, I think everyone seems to think that I take ages doing my hair and everything like that but, I just wash it like everyone does and just put stuff in it and then that’s it, just let it flop about.
And your teeth are really shiny!
My mum does teeth whitening, so I can’t exactly get away from saying that I’ve had my teeth whitened.
Describe your style in one word?
Different. I think if you saw kids my age walking down the street, I would be more likely to stand out with what I’m wearing compared to any other people. When it comes to colours, for example, a group of lads would refuse something and be like ‘it’s too flashy!’ Well, I’d probably be the type of person to go and wear that flashy, different and more outgoing thing.
Tell me about some of the brands that we would find in your wardrobe?
A lot of the high-end brands in Foot Asylum like Jim King, Good For Nothing, everything like that. But then there’s also a few independent brands or up and coming brands like Luxe London. Illustion Attire is another clothing shop of independent brands. Also, there’s obviously adidas trainers, Nike, MCM…
What sort of high street brands do you like?
I don’t really like shopping in Topman, purely because I just think everyone’s got everything out of there, you know? I hate walking down the road and seeing someone in the same thing as me, so I kinda stay clear of that. I mean, I can’t really say anything cause I guess Zara is the same, but I feel like I get away with it more in Zara. There’s also a shop called Choice with branded clothes that I like, so that’s quite nice. And All Saints.
Guys from Essex look like they have their own sense of style, you can always recognize when someone is from there. What is it that separates you guys from London?
I don’t actually know, I mean, the minute I open my mouth you obviously know I’m from Essex. I think a lot of people from Essex are more groomed. I don’t know what it is that stands out.
Do you think appearance means a lot to people from Essex?
I think it’s the appearance that stands out. Or the voice.
Let’s talk about what you’re currently doing now, so you’re still doing your singing and you’re branching out more heavily into TV? Tell me a bit about the E4 show.
Recently I’ve been filming for the past 3 months this new reality TV show called Stage School, it’s on E4 at the moment. It’s a 30 episode series and currently, I think I come into it on about the 20th episode, that’s really good.
What I like about it is, it’s a reality show like TOWIE and Made in Chelsea but it’s also mixed in with music and dance, so everyone who’s in it is obviously a singer, dancer or actor so it’s right up my street and a great platform to be a part of. Then, I’m just looking forward to the new year and getting my music out there. I think you’ll hear a bit of my solo stuff on the actual show because I actually did sing a few of the pieces on there, so I’m looking forward to seeing the feedback for that. But yeah all in all a good year, good structure.
Are you looking to do more reality TV in the future?
I’ve been asked to do Ex On The Beach and Love Island this year. I was actually looking forward to doing it.
Do you think eventually in your career you’ll do those things and become a part of a TOWIE-like show?
I don’t know. Everyone in those shows is doing well for themselves. But because of the music side, I kind of want to give this a go before anything like that. This reality show that I’m doing at the minute it’s not diverting my music because of the theme of it. It’s a good platform to be a part of and it’s also a reality TV show which is a bonus. But I’m not ruling anything out at the end, if my music doesn’t work out the way I want it to, then I can always move onto something else which would probably be reality TV or TV in general.
You seem like the kind of guy that just goes with the flow, wherever your career takes you, have you always been like that?
No, not really.
Do you just take what comes to you?
No, I think I’ve been messed about a lot in the past by managers and companies, so it’s very hard for me to trust anyone in this game now. As much as I am thinking forward, I’m doing everything at the minute on my own. I’ve got an American PR company that is very good at working with me but yeah other than that, I’m just taking things as it comes.
I keep it close to my family and tell them what I want to do and my next move before I tell everyone else. Because I hate saying things and then not following it up so I’d rather have something concrete that I’m doing and then be able to shout it out and tell everyone that I’m doing it.
Where do you see yourself in 10 year’s time?
In 10 year’s time? Look, I think it’s quite far to say that I want to be a millionaire! I want to be driving Lamborghinis, everything like that…
What is the end goal?
Yeah, it’s the ultimate goal, the ultimate dream! I think I just want to be doing a career that I’m actually enjoying and obviously music is that. So if I can continue to do music and earn a decent wage and make people happy and travel the world – that’s it for me! I don’t need the whole world to be happy. I’m looking forward to what’s coming and I’m hoping to get out to LA next year. I’d like to do some bits over there…