more than six years, Scott Jordan has been on stages across the
country with Legends in Concert, delivering world-class
tribute performances as Justin Timberlake. The association with
Legends began in 2008, is part of a strong list of accomplishments
for Scott, and provides a good place to begin this piece.
~ Legends in Concert simply is the very best of the very
happen to know firsthand that their musicians, singers, dancers
and production staff are some of the most talented, professional,
and terrific people in the entertainment industry that you could
ever hope to meet and work alongside. Great people. And…
featured performers are brilliant. In order to pass an audition
and take the stage with Legends as a tribute artist,
a performer has to be able to not only sing the part… Legends
takes great pride in being a live production… but deliver physically
and visually as well.
you want to be a tribute artist and make a living… you need to
be very talented and very good. If you want to be a tribute artist
and work with Legends… you need to be exceptional.
~ Did you notice I gave a 2008 date for Scott joining Legends?
In other words, they didn’t give him an opportunity… they gave
him an opportunity and he hasn’t let go. He continues with Legends
to this day, and…
third ~ Scott is expanding his range. This year he took the stage
to deliver a performance as Ricky Nelson, and has become a featured
cast member as the Travelin’ Man.
is a driven entertainer, with a passion to deliver quality performances,
and a desire to always improve.
first met Scott during a media night for Legends in Concert.
We spent a fair amount of time speaking that evening, and saw
each other a few additional times during the run of that cast.
He was quick to note on that first night how proud he was to be
performing as JT, be a part of the Legends team, and
also to work with that specific group:
set involves one of the most dynamic entertainers in the business
today, and I get to run through some great songs. But check
out this room. (He points at one of the other members of the
Legends cast) Matt over there has been with Legends
for more than a decade and is phenomenal as Bruce Springsteen.
It’s a terrific show, offering something for everyone, and the
audiences are definitely diverse as a result. To be a part of
this, to work with all of these people, these musicians and
performers, and do what I do, it means a lot to me.”
note: Scott was referring to Matt Ryan.)
grateful that Scott has agreed to take part in this interview
for In My Backpack, and to share some of his story and
experiences with us.
~ ~ ~
Jordan grew up in Maryland. And while his love of performing has
been there since a young age, it wasn’t singing that first pulled
him in to show business.
was first drawn to acting. Honestly, when I was young, I didn’t
think I could sing at all. But I loved performing…
had no idea I could sing until I was a freshman in high school.
I had always done talent shows, but I was always lip synching.
I was very much into acting, but in high school in order to
be in the play you had to sing, so I auditioned and I got the
funny thing is, this is the point in the story is where we see
him begin to move toward singing. It is here, in high school,
that he begins singing on stage, taking voice lessons, and looking
for ways to sing such as with chorus and vocal groups. But his
love of music began much earlier than that.
he was growing up, both of his parents worked and often had late
hours. So Scott’s grandfather would frequently pick him up at
school and bring him home. The quality time they spent together
involved listening to the classics.
yeah (he smiles, pauses and looks off into the distance as if
cherishing a memory)… music like Elvis and Ricky Nelson. The
stuff really grew on me. (His eyes seem filled with excitement
as he looks back at me) Remember The Adventures of Ozzie
and Harriet? We would wait for old episodes to come on,
and I just loved the music. I can still think of the first time
I ever heard ‘Travelin’ Man’ on the radio.”
his journey heads to Florida, where Scott attended the University
of Central Florida. He also worked in theme parks, developing
a foundation of skills ranging from delivering during grueling
performance schedules to connecting with wide ranges of people.
And yet, while the theme parks offer the chance to work in front
of large crowds, it doesn’t provide the same type of spotlight
as a live band on stage.
favorite artist… and one he considers “the most talented guy on
the planet”… is Justin Timberlake. A common thread in the careers
of tribute performers generally revolves around being told that
their voice sounds similar to a well-known artist. That story
works when it comes to Scott and the voice of Justin. And for
Scott, well: “the great thing is that I’m getting paid to do what
I’d do for free in my truck.”
Scott eventually took the stage performing as JT, doing something
as a professional entertainer isn’t smooth or easy, regardless
of your talent. It can be incredibly demanding… on your time…
on your stamina… on your personal life. There are nights you wish
would last forever, and days when you wonder why you’re putting
yourself through the challenges.
there’s nothing like it. When you do earn a living at it, there’s
nothing like the footlights, the applause, and the thrill of entertaining
put in the work, and is now recognized as one of the finest in
the world at what he does.
that in turn brings our story to the current day.
continues to work hard every moment and every performance, and
strives to keep improving. He has added a tribute for Ricky Nelson
with Legends. And, he also spends a great deal of time
focusing on the stage while off of it, working with children through
various efforts including the Mini Starz program.
grateful to Scott for his time, and I’m thrilled to bring you
~ ~ ~
did things get started musically for you? Do you have any memories
or stories about singing or being on stage when you were younger?
had no idea I could sing until I was a freshman in high school.
I had always done talent shows, but I was always lip synching.
I was very much into acting, but in high school in order to be
in the play you had to sing, so I auditioned and I got the lead.
After that I began taking vocal lessons and joined the choir and
just kept honing my skills. I loved being onstage in front of
an audience. I was addicted to it and I knew very early on that
I would be doing it for a long time. I was in a lot of musicals,
everything from the Wizard of Oz to Fame, and
just being able to play different characters was exciting to me.
It also wasn’t a bad way to meet girls. (Ha ha) I also played
Peter Pan once and my tights ripped off on the harness so I was
momentarily bottomless onstage in front of hundreds of people.
did the realization of music as a professional endeavor for you
really take hold? And what were some of your initial challenges
and efforts in pursuing it?
went to college at the University of Central Florida and while
I was there I began performing at the theme parks, so I knew that
being able to do it professionally was an option but I also knew
that I wanted to do it on a larger scale. I was in various pop
music groups and even a country band but there were so many people
doing the same thing, and getting the attention of record labels
was very difficult. It was tough to get paid to sing. It wasn’t
until I got to Vegas that I realized I could make a good living
singing in shows. There have been ups and downs, but my family
has been there to help me persevere and I’m still doing my thing.
types of music influence you personally?
grew up listening to Ricky Nelson, Elvis and Merle Haggard. I
love Garth Brooks as well, and I went to see him in concert 5
times. I was a huge Boyz II Men fan, and in the 80’s I loved those
Hair Metal Bands like Guns N’ Roses and Whitesnake. 90’s R+B is
also a favorite genre of mine. I am so glad I have Sirius Radio
because I can listen to all of them in my car on long road trips.
drove you to start your performance as a Justin Timberlake tribute
first of all, he’s my favorite artist. But the great thing is
that I’m getting paid to do what I’d do for free in my truck.
It’s exciting to be a part of, and I’m honored the people enjoy
understand you’ve met Justin a couple of times, and even managed
to create a few funny stories.
that’s right. The first time was years ago, when he was with ‘N
Sync. There was a karaoke contest going on that night, so I started
singing one of his songs while looking right at him. Afterwards
I told him “I’m going to be in a boy band just like you.”
couple of years ago, I met him in Las Vegas at his birthday party.
We talked for a little bit and I was happy that he seemed cool
with what I do.
believe you’ve said that you don’t know how closely you resemble
him in real life. Does that increase the pressure on your performance
understand we have a resemblance, but my feeling is that I appear
pretty ordinary when I’m just hanging around in regular clothes.
I put on the hat, the jacket and tie, and of course the sneakers,
and it creates a lot of the visual aspect for me.
biggest thing for me is I want to convince the audience that they’re
seeing the real thing. I want them to close their eyes and believe
they’re hearing Justin. I want them to open their eyes and believe
they’re watching Justin.
think I’m the only person performing a Justin Timberlake tribute
that actually sings live. At least I was when I started and believe
I may be today as well, and I take a lot of pride in that.
the phases of Justin’s career, which really include some big differences
in material, caused you any troubles?
don’t know if I’d call them troubles, but there have been times
when I didn’t know what to do. For instance, as I was getting
started a couple of years ago, it was right as FutureSex/LoveSounds
blew up. That changed everything and increased the demand.
always great to have audiences be so encouraging of what I’m doing.
And even with recent success for him, I’ve always tried to include
an ‘N Sync melody in my set. We’re still doing “Bye Bye Bye” and
that always gets the biggest response.
step back for a second to the beginnings of a tribute. Right now
you are performing JT and Ricky Nelson. How did those develop?
lived in Orlando for years during the boy band era and I was actually
in a few myself. We did some ‘N Sync songs and people would say
how much I sounded like Justin. We put that theory to the test
one night when a mutual friend had me sing on his voicemail and
he thought it was him singing live somewhere. When I started touring
Europe he had just released his first solo album and I decided
to sing some of his songs on tour. Then when they brought me to
Vegas to do the show I was still singing some JT. I auditioned
for Legends and the rest as they say is history.
far as the Ricky Nelson tribute goes, I loved his songs when I
was a kid. My grandfather introduced me to some of his music and
we would watch old reruns of Ozzie and Harriet. I wanted
to do another act that would fit more with an older demographic
so that I could work more throughout the year. I put together
a video and sent it to Legends and they were honestly
a little hesitant about it. Chris Beattie, who is our Regional
General Manager, loved it though and she helped me get it to Myrtle
Beach where we had a very successful run with the character.
One thing about seeing a production like Legends in
Concert that always impresses me is how much more is involved
for the featured performers than simply a voice. There’s capturing
the mannerisms and movements, and of course the wardrobe. What
do you find the most challenging in delivering your performances?
my opinion, Justin Timberlake is the most talented guy on the
planet so those are some tough shoes to fill. The fact that he
is a living performer who is still very much active in the business
also makes it a tough challenge to deliver a great performance.
voice was the easy part for me. The dancing was the hard part.
I can’t dance exactly like Justin Timberlake but I certainly capture
some of the iconic choreography that he has done throughout the
years. My biggest goal was to be able to mimic the movements and
mannerism and facial expressions. I feel like I have done a great
job at bringing those to life on the Legends stage.
You mentioned this, and having seen you perform I know
moments like “Bye Bye Bye” get a great reaction. I also know that
with someone like Justin Timberlake – not just active, but recording
and releasing new material -- that set lists can change for you.
Do you have any songs of his that you really enjoy performing?
…have performed, but have been cycled out? …wish you could include?
love that we have added “Mirrors” this summer. The song gets a
great reaction. I really enjoy doing the ‘N Sync medley as well
because I can see the excitement on people’s faces when they are
reliving their teenage years. “Cry Me a River” is one of my all-time
favorites and I would like to think that song will always be in
just recently took out “What Goes Around… Comes Around” which
had been in since day one and I do love performing that song.
I think though that I was the most disappointed when we took “Señorita”
out of the set. I was excited to put it in the show and we did
it for one run and then it was gone. I felt like it went over
really well. I would love to put the songs “Take Back the Night”
and “Rock Your Body” in the set, and I really want to revamp the
‘N Sync medley and have it include “Tearin’ Up My Heart,” “It’s
Gonna Be Me,” and “Bye Bye Bye.”
How about with Ricky Nelson? Are there particular songs
of his you really enjoy working with?
enjoy every song we do in the set. “Travelin’ Man,” “Hello Mary
Lou,” “Bye Bye Love,” “Garden Party” and “I’m Walkin’” are all
great tunes. “Travelin’ Man” was the first Ricky Nelson song that
I ever heard, and “Hello Mary Lou” and “Garden Party” always get
are some of the unexpected moments… the funny stories… that you’ve
encountered along the way?
had a chance to really start getting into some of the SNL
skits that JT has done and I have costumes for a lot of them.
When I do my own show they will sometimes get requested, so I
get the chance to do “Single Ladies” or “D*ck In A Box” and those
are usually pretty funny.
did have a woman offer her daughter to me in Vegas after the show
one night. She said her daughter was a big JT fan and that it
was her 21st birthday and she was waiting for me in the room.
I had to politely decline that offer.
funny thing is when our older people mistake me for Justin Bieber.
I actually put a joke about that now in the show.
Do you find the reactions you get -- on stage from an
audience, or after when you might be meeting or talking with people
that saw the show -- differs depending on where you are performing,
or, in the case of a tribute show by who you are performing as?
And what are some of the best encounters you’ve had with audiences?
Ricky Nelson and Justin Timberlake have two different audiences.
I am portraying Ricky I just see faces light up on our older guests.
It’s a trip down memory lane for them and I love being a part
of that. As JT I’m not always used to our older guests singing
along. That’s what they always tell me though, that they loved
Ricky and I took them back to the good old days.
I’m playing JT the biggest compliments I can get from our younger
audience is that I nailed it. Some have told me that they saw
him live and that I have him down. I love hearing that. And I
also love when our older guests tell me that they don’t know the
music but they are now fans and that I entertained them.
the end of the day that’s what it’s all about. I will say that
here in Branson, I got my first standing ovation since I’ve been
in Legends so that felt really good!
you ever get to work on music you’ve written yourself, or with
groups that feature other material?
It’s a bit strange though.
of all, those efforts aren’t paying the bills. So while I’d like
to write and record some of my own material, I don’t necessarily
have the time.
I’m trying to find a bit more focus in my writing. I don’t know
how to explain it, but basically my natural voice is very similar
to Justin’s, and I perform as Justin, so I seem to feel this need
to write stuff that’s in a completely different direction from
that and from what I intended. I love the rock and live performance
feel, and yet I’ll find myself working on something that feels
now I’m focused on performing with Legends and some personal
projects, and as I can I keep feeling more secure about finding
my own voice in my writing. It’s definitely there, though it’s
not like I have another band I’m working with all the time or
a recording contract lined up.
Speaking of other projects, I know you’ve worked with
kids on several levels, and performed for them. How do they react
to your work? And, what about those efforts appeals to you?
are always great at the show. They get so into it and they sing
along, and sometimes I feel like they do think they are watching
the real performers.
work with kids a lot now, whether it be with our Mini Starz show
in Myrtle Beach or with the kids at my old high school in Glen
Burnie, Maryland, and there are two different messages there.
the kids in MB, I want to be able to give them opportunities to
perform for big audiences at a young age and get the experience
to grow as a performer and to learn from great teachers that work
in the industry. My partner, Courtney Gray Stoler, is incredible
at putting this thing together. If there is a definition of glue,
then she is it. I have so much respect and admiration for her
for dealing with the day to day operations. Legends in Concert
has also played a big part in that as well. Again I have to mention
Chris Beattie, who along with Trey Younts and Jason Aiesi, took
a chance on our show and gave the kids a great opportunity to
perform on that stage.
for the kids in Maryland, I just want them to realize that they
can make it in show business and that they can have long successful
careers if they just put their hearts into it. I tell them not
to listen to anyone that tells them otherwise.
can people stay up to date on you and your work? And, what can
we expect to see from you in the future?
you can follow me on social media. On Facebook it’s JT Tribute
and on Twitter and Instagram it’s @JTTribute.
YouTube you can look me up easily using the tags, for instance
Scott Jordan as Justin Timberlake or JT Tribute or Scott Jordan
as Ricky Nelson.
plan on going back to Myrtle Beach to spend some more time working
on our Mini Starz show for a bit in the fall. I will be finishing
this run in Branson in September and then I will be making announcements
concerning 2015 shortly after that. It’s shaping up to be a big
~ ~ ~
want to thank Scott for all of his time and consideration. In
addition to meeting in person for an interview a while ago, a
great deal of this piece was developed through e-mail exchanges.
I simply cannot fully express my gratitude for his participation
and assistance. It was an absolute pleasure meeting him, interviewing
him and photographing his work, and an even greater privilege
to work with him specifically on this project.
is a VERY busy man, and the good news is that means there
are chances to see him performing on stage. At the current time,
he is Branson, Missouri.
are some places where you can learn more…
Jordan at @JTTribute on Twitter
Jordan on YouTube
Jordan at Legends in Concert -- Justin Timberlake
Jordan at Legends in Concert -- Ricky Nelson
pictures you see in this article are a combination of shots.
The majority have been provided for this project by Scott Jordan.
Several were taken by Bob Hocking during performances with Legends
was involved in the approval of all images used in this article,
and granted permission for the use of the pictures where rights
are not held by Bob Hocking and In My Backpack.
rights to these pictures are protected. They cannot be used
for any other purpose without the appropriate written permission(s)
from Scott Jordan and/or Bob Hocking. As a matter of convenience,
Scott and Bob request that you use the e-mail details on this
page and for In My Backpack if you have questions or would like
additional information about any of the material involved in