Ellington Fuji Jordan has been making music for years with legendary artists, and is still continuing to grow in his craft. He co-wrote the song, Id Rather Go Blind, which has been recorded by the likes of Fleetwood Mac, B.B. King, The Noel Redding Band and Rod Stewart to name a few. He was also a member of the psychedelic funk group Black Merda, a band that has been such a musical inspiration that even Ja Rule sampled some of their material. Jimi Hendrix and Creedence were close personal friends of his, and to say that his resume is extensive is an understatement.
Ellington spent time in a prison, almost unaware of when he would be released. The time he spent being incarcerated gave a him new chance at life. He gained a humble demeanor and developed his musical abilities. Although his famous friendships and associations are fond memories to Ellington; the balance of personal peace and harmony is his focus. A person cant always live on the run – it becomes physically and emotionally draining. They must eventually try and find their way home.
Ellington Jordans new album Almost Home in itself is emotion. The song Solider tells a tale of a man that left home to fight in a war, but never found his way home – one of many tales that speaks to the soul. AllHipHop.com Alternatives conversed with Mr. Jordan about his journey through life and the importance of finding necessary balance.
AllHipHop.com Alternatives: How did you get the nickname Fuji?
Ellington Jordan: My dad gave it to me. He was in World War II and had a picture of Mount Fuji in his footlocker. Years later he started calling me Fuji.
AHHA: What musical artists did you find inspiration from over the years?
Ellington: Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Joe Turner, Ray Charles and Willamina Thornton. George Clinton hypnotizes you.
AHHA: Clinton is the Godfather of Intergalactic Funk!
Ellington: Yeah, it was like a little kid seeing and hearing for the first time I love his music.
AHHA: How did you get involved with the Rock group Black Merda?
Ellington: In Detroit with Eddie Kendricks from the Temptations. I moved there from L.A. They were playing at the C-Club – Edwin Star was backing for them. I had never heard a sound so magical before in my life
AHHA: Almost Home is the title of your new album. The phrase seems like a contradiction. Whats the meaning behind it?
Ellington: Its a combination of experience and a request to write a song for a movie. I was talking to homeless people around a fire. A guy told me about [Vietnam]. He was in Vietnam and came back, but couldnt figure things out. He had changed, as well as the world in which he once knew. He was lost in a daze. It interested me – I never saw anyone who had been in war. The experience it self must be very traumatizing, not to mention shooting other people. The guy had a Medal of Valor but couldnt even pawn it to get money. It was worthless here, but overseas it meant something. He almost made it home, but not fully.
AHHA: Did you ever think that the song Id Rather Go Blind would be covered by artists like Rod Stewart or Fleetwood Mac?
Ellington: No, I had no idea. Im not an optimistic song writer. If it has meaning and means something to someone, then Ill finish it. If not, then I throw it out. I got tired of losing and being down. I was in prison and didnt know when I was going to get out. I sat in a piano room and began to write. I was working on a song once, Peace Be To The Living And The Dying Be To The Dead. I stopped writing because I thought that it was too political. Riddle and I were working on it. Some songs wont get through the music filtering system. You can only go so far, or theyll stop you. If no one else will benefit, I cant write. You cant just write for yourself, you have to also write things that will be important to other people. I wanna write a song like Crosby, Steels and Nashs Ohio. I dont like to listen to what the industry says – lolly-pop music goes nowhere.
AHHA: What do you want people to get from your music? What kind of music do you ideally want to write?
Ellington: Music that contains information that someone can hear and understand. They want to talk about it, but no one does it. They may not have anyone to talk to. Dirty Water, Solider and Almost Home, let you know that someone knows what you feel. My weapon is my funk, its my machine gun. I hate violence, war, and things that are bad for you. I suffered a lot in my career. I had an album come out before Barry White. I cant be an artist to be molded – Im a free spirit.
AHHA: What kind of frame of mind are you in while writing songs? Do vary your style depending on the artist?
Ellington: I do write music that I hope gets accepted by people – I never want to write something for self. I dont want to be just known as a song writer, but rather a contributor to someones life. Ive sat and talked with people have given music life – Ive talked to Creedence and Jimi Hendrix, who I miss dearly. He was a burnt offering. You burn incense to bring a sweet odor. He brought something to see, smell and eat. He never elaborated in what he did. You can hold onto his music no, his essence – and it will never go away.
AHHA: You dont know how right you are.
Ellington: Im glad to have known him.
AHHA: Are there any last words that you would like to say?
Ellington: God bless all. Long live Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Scarface.