Jordis Unga is an American solo rock singer/songwriter who was born in Chicopee, MA, in 1982, but, eventually, her family settled in Forest Lake, MN. Her father is Tongan. You know, as in Tonga, the small island in the South Pacific. His heritage accounts for her exotic looks, but, her mother is Swedish, all blonde and what not. Her first name is of Norse origin and means “sword maiden”. Sorry, just an interesting fact. Unga is best known for competing on two American reality TV shows: CBS‘s Rock Star: INXS (2005) and NBC‘s The Voice (2012). Prior to Rock Star, Jordis fronted a punk rock band called The Fighting Tongs (2001-2005), who self-released an EP Horseshoes and Hand Grenades before disbanding. That band’s name was taken from the awesome John Carpenter movie Big Trouble In Little China (1986). Currently, Jordis is recording her debut album which was financed via a Kickstarter campaign. I contributed. What about you? Unga is my first post on an artist without an original (solo) album or EP released to date. I can’t believe that this amazingly talented woman has been overlooked for so damn long!! The mainstream music industry sucks!
Jordis Unga was 22 when she appeared on Rock Star: INXS, the youngest contestant of the original 15 who competed to become the lead vocalist for the Australian rock band INXS. She impressed the judges, in the first week, with her amazing performance of The Who‘s “Baba O’Riley”. Host Dave Navarro, in particular, was especially taken by her, jokingly declaring her the winner that very night! Later in the season, Navarro even asked her to perform a song with his band at the time, which wasn’t Jane’s Addiction or The Red Hot Chili Peppers, at The House of Blues.
Watch Jordis perform “Baba O’Riley” on Rock Star: INXS here:
Watch Jordis perform “Heart Shaped Box” on Rock Star: INXS here:
And, watch Jordis perform Bob Dylan‘s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” here:
Seven years later, Jordis auditioned for season two of NBC‘s The Voice (which was the same season as Juliet Simms). Unga’s amazing performance of Paul McCartney‘s “Maybe I’m Amazed” (one of my, many, all-time favorite songs!) turned the chairs of 3 of the 4 judges. Watch that performance here:
Jordis Unga’s final performance, on The Voice, was of “A Little Bit Stronger” by Sara Evans. She proved how versatile a singer she was by tackling this beautiful country ballad, which was not in her rock comfort zone, but, apparently, Blake Shelton didn’t think so, and, he instantly eliminated her. Bastard. Watch that performance here:
I love Jordis Unga, obviously. My heart was broken once on Rock Star: INXS (through no fault of her own), then again on The Voice, but I know that, when her debut album is finally released, I won’t be disappointed because it will be on done her terms.