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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Gainesville musician finds success, one song a day

Challenging himself to write a song every day, Jordan Burchel got trapped in his garage

Jordan Burchel pictured on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2024.
Jordan Burchel pictured on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2024.

If there’s one thing for certain about Jordan Burchel, he’s committed to the bit.

The 33-year-old Gainesville musician has taken up an ambitious challenge: writing, producing and recording one song a day for an entire year. 

Though he’s seen increased followers and traction on his music since he began, the challenge wasn’t a carefully planned marketing campaign. It started, rather, as a spur-of-the-moment decision, he said. 

In May, Burchel impulsively pushed himself to write and record a song in one day for an Instagram post. In writing the caption, he offhandedly added “1/365.” 

But the phrase — one that could have easily remained a one-off joke — turned into a personal test. On a whim, Burchel decided he would write, record and post one song a day for the next 364 days. 

“It was wildly irresponsible just committing myself to this knowing that we were gonna have a baby,” Burchel said. 

His wife Samantha Moss, who was pregnant at the time, said she thought of all the potential challenges that would arrive when she first heard about it.

“I honestly don’t think I imagined him getting this far. We had a baby, for Pete’s sake!” Moss said.

Beginning the personal challenge May 4, he’s succeeded each day since, gaining new followers and songwriting capabilities along the way.

“It’s very much an unintentional stumbling into something that ended up being good from a career perspective and a creative perspective,” Burchel said.

To him, coming up with a new idea for a song each day isn’t the hard part. His secret: just not caring, he said. 

“I think people get really hung up on wanting to make something good every time they sit down and make something,” Burchel said. “And that makes you stop making it.”

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His songs explore a variety of themes, he said. Some days he writes about deep topics such as the passing of time or existentialism. Other days, he takes the narrative less seriously.

“Some days that means I’m writing something that’s pretty light and stupid,” Burchel said. “One day I wrote a song about soup.”

But it hasn’t always been a walk in the park. For the first two months, he considered quitting the challenge every day. 

The hardest time during the process, he said, was the five days he spent writing songs in the hospital while his daughter, Sidney, was being born. He spent each morning restless, recording songs in the hospital food court. 

But the doctors didn’t complain.

“I came into our floor where we were, and I heard myself singing in the hallway,” Burchel said. “And all these doctors were huddled around their phone watching me and my wife singing on a song we had posted right before we came in.” 

Another difficulty he’s encountered, he said, is overcoming his monotonous cycle of thinking of a song, writing it down and recording it every day. One change he made was trapping himself in his garage.

Noticing he’d been gaining social media traction at about 100 songs in, he announced on social media that until he reached 3,000 followers, he would only be writing and recording his songs in his garage. 

Soon after, the growing follower count slowed. What he thought would be a much shorter commitment, ended up being 139 days of garage-restricted music making. 

“He’ll be writing his song in his head throughout the day,” his wife said. “We put the baby to bed and he’d rush out to the garage to record his song in what feels like 10 minutes.”

Since making it out of the garage and back into the comfort of his air-conditioned home, he said he certainly doesn’t miss it. 

“It became this surreal thing,” Burchel said. “You go out somewhere and someone would be like, ‘Who let you out of the garage?’”

While he continues to endure this challenge, he’s also been pursuing his side hustle, Pink Dino Corp., a music production company that aims to help other artists. 

Chris Hillman is a Gainesville drummer who has collaborated on various musical projects with Burchel, and he currently co-runs a private rehearsal and recording space with him. The pair met in 2015 after a local Applebee’s hung up photos of them unknowingly for a local music collage. The two bonded at the restaurant over the novelty and have been collaborating ever since.

“[Burchel] has no end to his spring of creativity,” Hillman said. 

For the 365th day of his challenge, Burchel has been collecting the names of Gainesville musicians to record a “We Are The World” inspired music video. “Song 365” is the only one that has already been written. His goal is to bring in around 100 local artists.

But once the last day is over, he will not be done with yearly challenges. 

For each month in the following year, he plans to put out an album a month using collections of the 365 songs he wrote. The challenge seems to be the gift that keeps on giving.

“It was just a bit,” Burchel said. ”I just committed very hard to it. And I think that’s kind of the secret.”

Contact Bonny Matejowsky at bmatejowsky@alligator.org. Follow her on X

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Bonny Matejowsky

Bonny Matejowsky is a third-year journalism major and a Fall 2023 Avenue Reporter. When she’s not writing, you can find her thrifting or watching Twin Peaks.


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