By Greg McDowell
They are a couple of singers and songwriters who have been married for 34 years and love to sing together in the car, especially on longer road trips.
Marc Jordan and Amy Sky, who are based in Toronto and are the parents of two grown children who are also in the music business and sing occasionally with their parents, may not write songs together, but they love to blend their voices, especially on their car rides.
And now, after many decades writing and performing, with Jordan releasing 16 of his own albums and Sky releasing 12 of her solo albums, the couple have combined their voices for the first-ever duet release, called He Sang, She Sang.
About half of the songs are beautifully arranged covers, like the late Tom Petty hit Free Fallin’, the Beach Boys’ song God Only Knows, and Smokey Robinson’s hit Ooh Baby Baby, while the remainder of the songs are originals, mostly by Sky.
The couple say the songs were written and the covers chosen so they could harmonize Jordan’s jazz-trained, expressive voice with Sky’s rich and mellow alto voice. The songs are from the 1970s to the 1990s, and will appeal to those who like easy listening.
Asked why it’s taken 34 years for the couple to sing together on an album, Jordan, who has penned hit songs Marina Del Rey and Survival, along with hits for other artists like Rhythm of My Heart for Rod Stewart, quipped: “Fear and pressure.”
“We always wanted to do something together. Singing is a big part of how I write. I sing and sing and sing and come up with ideas that way.”
Ironically, the couple don’t write music together, with each going to separate offices in their home to compose. If one is stuck in their writing, they will ask the other for help.
“We don’t set out to collaborate,” says Jordan. “If I get stuck I go to Amy and ask her what to do. I might use the advice and I might not but it often gets me out of a hole.”
Adds Sky, a three-time Juno nominated artist and author of the hits I Will Take Care of You and Ordinary Miracles: “We are great sounding boards for each other. And this help often goes uncredited.”
The pandemic was difficult for performing artists, with concert halls closed and tours scrubbed. Jordan has a new solo album coming out, but the project was delayed.
“What the pandemic told me for sure is how much I miss being in front of people and performing, and just sharing with them a couple of hours,” said Jordan.
Sky, who likes to miss the winter weather with road trips to Florida with Marc, or recording sessions in Nashville, says the couple work on compositions while driving. Singing together gives them ideas for songs, along with sights along the way.
“We sing a lot in the car and that’s where we work things out in a lot of the songs,” she says. “We drive a lot and that’s when we do our research.”
She says in the liner notes to the duet album He Sang, She Sang: “To my soulmate, Marc. Thank you for blending your voice with mine. Whether in the kitchen, the car or the recording studio, it is one of my greatest joys.
“Even though I’m usually dancing backwards in high heels, it’s always worth it to trip the light fantastic with you, my one and only love.”
The new album took seven years to put together, and was recorded mainly in Nashville and Toronto. The couple’s kids, Zoe Sky Jordan and Ezra Jordan, along with son-in-law Liam Russell, also sing or play an instrument on one or a couple of songs, so the project ended up a family affair.
Sky says the couple try not to get in the way of their kid’s own musical interests, and careers, and allow them to do their own thing. “We don’t want the kids thinking we are peering over their shoulders.”
Family is important for this musical couple, especially considering the gruelling travel that comes with touring a new album. The family often will meet up at their Muskoka-area cottage. And keeping a relationship going is also important.
When at home, Jordan will write every day and Sky is busy writing her first musical. She says she likes to make supper and they eat and talk around the dinner table. They also enjoy biking, going for a walk in a ravine near their home, and doing yoga together.
Over the many decades, the couple say the music business has changed, with it easier for artists to start a career, but harder for established musicians to make a decent living because royalties are less in this music-streaming era. Their son, Ezra, had one of his songs picked up from a streaming service and used in a Netflix movie.
The couple are survivors in the music business, and attribute some of their success to the people they’ve met along the way. Jordan sometimes gets a call from Rod Stewart to come up with a new song, one of which he penned for an upcoming album.
His music has appeared on 35 million albums, and over the years he’s written for Diana Ross, Chicago, Kansas, Bette Midler, Natalie Cole, Olivia Newton John, Joe Cocker, Josh Groban, Bonnie Raitt and Cher. Sky has also penned for Ross and Newton John, plus Anne Murray, Heart, Reba McEntire, Belinda Carlisle, Aaron Neville, Heart, Cyndi Lauper, Mark Masri, Roch Voisine and Sheena Easton. Recently, she did an album with Newton John and Nashville singer Beth Nielsen Chapman.
Early in their careers, both Jordan and Sky travelled and lived in the U.S. prior to moving back to Toronto to be close to family when they had their children.
“We left Canada when we were both young and formed a network of people in Nashville and elsewhere. This contributed to our success. It’s a people business,” says Sky.
The couple plan to hold a release party for the new album, He Sang, She Sang, in the fall, and will tour and perform the new music, mostly in Southern Ontario after that.