“To whom much is given much is expected.”
The beautiful spirit that is Alex Jordan knows this, and it is for this reason that she, from early, has set high standards for herself. From her days at St Gabriel’s School and Queen’s College, Alex knew she was “different”, having always had her sights set on the big world.
“I am Bajan born to an Australian mother and a Bajan Guyanese father; so I always had a bit of travel blood in me,” she said.
And, after winning a scholarship to Pearson College in Vancouver, Canada, it paved the way for her to fulfil her dreams.
“At 16, I won a United World College Scholarship to represent Barbados at one of the United World Colleges, and that was the making of me . . . . I remember being homesick for the first week. Then I forgot everything about home,” Alex said with a chuckle.
“It was an amazing international environment. I was learning about new people, people from all over the world. It was really educational in a
Following college, Alex returned to Barbados on a break, working in three jobs, including one with renowned broadcaster Vic Fernandes of YES104 who told her “there was something about that voice”. It was then she decided media was the place for her.
“I didn’t grow up thinking I wanted to be in media, but everybody who met me said, ‘That voice!’ . . . . Vic Fernandes told me I had ‘this sound’ in my voice,” she said, rubbing her hands together to demonstrate huskiness.
She continued: “I remember when I did my first commercial back in the day, and I got $180, and I was like, ‘A 30-second commercial for that amount!’, and I quite liked the idea of the brevity; of not having to work a full day in an office. So that’s what first appealed to me.
“But then my love affair with media started with that first job on YES 104. I saw a reality TV show and I thought I could do this; believed I could be on TV and show people how brilliant I am. So that’s when it really started for me,” the former radio host said.
Alex returned to Canada where she completed her degree at McGill University, before coming back to Barbados.
“After university I was working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but . . . the Public Service felt like a place that I could not live in for the next 30 years. It felt very slow. Everyone was reading the paper at 11 a.m. It was a depressing place to be. So I said, ‘Nah, I can’t do this’,” she related.
Being the adventurous and inquisitive person she is, Alex quit her Government job and left Barbados to “see the world”. She explained that being in Barbados just was not for her at the time.
“In your early 20s you feel a wanderlust . . . . “[Working in Foreign Affairs] should have been a dream gig, but the culture of the place made me feel like I could really become lazy here too, because there was no inspiration.
“So I panicked. I really did. I remember going home to my mother on my 24th birthday in floods of tears –– and she is ever great advice. She said, ‘I think that’s your Aussie roots talking. I think you need to go and walk about; go and have a look. So I took the money I had saved and I invested it into
“I quit my job and took my life savings, and I backpacked across Europe. I went on a walkabout to have a look at the world on my own,” Alex said, adding she was glad she did it.
After four months of numerous experiences and escapades, she settled in London. She was ready for the big world and all it had to offer. But as with most things in life, things don’t always go according to plan. Alex went through what those in theatre would like to refer to as a plot twist.
“I decided I was going to make my life and living there. I was living in Brixton in a shared house. I was waitressing in a sports bar, getting the night bus home –– me and the rest of the immigrants.”
From the veranda of her Maxwell, Christ Church home, Alex told Bajan Vibes that it was then that she realized she could never settle, and was going to be anything by ordinary.
“London is a massive city . . . . And its makes you realize how hard you have to work to be noticed. How hard you have to apply yourself to you in order to stand out. Because the best of the best from around the world go to London. So it was a major difference, and, of course, I didn’t have close to the comfortable lifestyle.
I was living in a place where my room was like a shoe box. Catching night buses and tubes and not having money to spend; not having the family, support networks to fall back on. That was the major difference between living in London and living in Barbados . . . ,” she said reflectively.
“I moved to London thinking I was going to become an MTV producer. And the next year and a half I was working in a sports bar. I was
“I had to wear these . . . belly-out short skirts. I was thinking my education had come down to this. I remember feeling really bad about myself . . . . It was really hard,” Alex revealed.
And it was following a brawl in the said bar that she realized she needed to push much harder.
“[There was] bedlam, including glass throwing, and all the staff had to run in the back for cover. And I was like, ‘Look how Marsha Jordan daughter going and dead in London!’. . . . It wasn’t what I wanted to do . . . . I had to pay my rent and . . . I really wanted to be in media.”
As we know, perseverance seldom fails. Alex got her chance at media in the big city.
“It was this guy I had met in Barbados. He said, ‘I can get you an interview with Polydor Records, but only for an assistant position’. And I was like, ‘Dude, I working in a sports bar till three in the morning; I will take anything,” she reported.
But again, she had to learn the hard lesson that nothing in life comes easy –– after she was unable to secure the job.
Three weeks later, she received a call that would change her life forever.
“I got a call from the same record company asking me to come in and meet another guy; and there I met Colin Barlow. Our eyes made four and that was it.”
While being an assistant wasn’t her ideal job, Alex knew that by having one foot in the door she could go places. And that she did for seven years.
“Colin Barlow was just a cool guy. We got on so well, right away. I worked very close with him; so his relationships were my relationships. I met all these incredible acts through him.
“I worked with him for seven years. Just as I got that job he was coming into his sweet spot. We did a music reality show and we got Girls Allowed out of that. That was our band and they had the Christmas number one. Cheryl Cole was a part of the band.
“I learnt all about the music industry and how it works. The whole industry changed while I was in it; so it was fascinating,” Alex told Bajan Vibes.
But still she wanted more. And she earnestly sought it out. After attending a Notting Hill Carnival, thanks to her bravery and spirited mood after “a few rums”, she made an announcement jokingly that would have been her unofficial audition tape for BBC Radio.
“. . . I was having a great time, and I saw Peter C and Ecstatic out of Trinidad. They were walking around the streets doing this documentary, and he I said hi and waved and he came over to interview me. And by that time I had had in a few rums, and I took the mic from him, and I was like, ‘Hey, yall wanna know about Notting Hill? Welcome to my town’, and I walked about and talked about it.
“Some of those made the final cut, and what happened was the BBC in Trinidad was watching TV, and the man saw me and said this girl lives in London, told his team, ‘I want you to find her and I want her to front the soca show on BBC’,” she recollected.
“So one day minding my own business, I got a call asking, ‘Are you Alex Jordan?’ I said yes. They asked if I could come into the BBC. I said yes and off I went. So talk about luck and circumstance! That’s how I got my break!” said Alex chuckling.
Being at BBC afforded Alex many life-changing opportunities she said made her the person she is today. However, she admitted being terrified in the intitial stages of hosting her own soca show on BBC Radio One.
“When I walked into Radio One, I was petrified. It is the biggest radio station in the country. I was rubbing shoulders with people I would have been listening to for all the years I had been in London, and whom I admired so much.
“The powers that be at Radio One were quite impressed by me and I got all these offshoots. I went to the World Cup in Germany to cover the Trinidad Soca Warriors. So I had a lot of incredible opportunities and I felt like I had to do it. To whom much is given much is expected.
“I wasn’t letting down Ray Paul. He went out on a limb for me; so I know had to make him proud.”
But, not ever one to settle, after ten years in London, Alex decided it was time to move back to Barbados.
“When I made the decision to come home, everyone told me it would be a career death . . . . This is why you shouldn’t listen to everyone. They were wrong! Not only did I get close to my family and friends, I was like, ‘Thank God I am not going to die in London’. That was my fear after ten years there,” she confessed.
With so outstanding a resumé, Alex was offered a job almost right away at Slam 101FM, which was starting up at the time –– making her go, “No, but seriously?” For her it was unbelievable.
“They were starting a new radio station and a guy called Andrew Denny said, ‘You know how good you are. Would you be interested in doing this show? I didn’t think I wanted to do radio, but they convinced me; and I did it,” the self-professed people person said.
For her “The Slam years were extraordinary. I wasn’t looking for that. They were absolutely phenomenal.”
But four years later, Alex made the decsision toleave the Alex Jordan Morning Show behind.
“Well sometimes you leave a good thing. They are many reasons why I left. One of them being I believe you need to move on. Sometimes you get very comfortable. Any time you feel too comfortable you’re not growing.
“I felt frustrated about a few things. I also felt it was time for me to do some more television. It was not an easy move, but I didn’t feel like there was enough in it for me to stay,” she said sombrely.
And having a relaxing summer off, Alex is ready for bigger and better things. While not being able to confirm to Bajan Vibes exactly what, she did say that “in the next few days I should have some big news about my next gig, which will be in TV”.
Having lived a full life thus far, Alex told Bajan Vibes she was thankful for every experience and every life lesson learnt.
“You can learn from everyone and everything. Don’t think anyone is below you. No such thing as wasting time. Life is journey. Very often we get caught up on the destination. Life is about the journey. All the feelings of struggle pain and discomfort are where we grow.
“If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Nothing is wasted time. What you were doing was preparing you for bigger and better,” she added.
For now, until her next big gig begins, she is enjoying her time at her very relaxing home, farming and hanging out with her cat Fast Forward, that keeps her good company.
ALSO If you sign up for Barbados Today before independence you could WIN a 2014 Honda City! Go here for full details http://bit.ly/1oCHnej.
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