Jordan Topf returns to his hometown Friday under his stage name, Windser, and on the strength of his EP “Where the Redwoods Meet the Sea,” inspired by his childhood in Seabright.
This story was originally featured in this week’s Weekender newsletter. Be first the first to hear about arts and entertainment news in Santa Cruz County — sign up for Wallace’s email newsletter here and and text alerts here.
You see the title and … yeah, it kinda rings some bells. The name of the new collection of songs by the artist Windser is called “Where the Redwoods Meet the Sea.” Hmmm, that sure sounds like Santa Cruz.
Actually, the artist’s name might ring a few bells, too, especially if you live in the Midtown/Seabright area.
Windser is, in fact, singer-songwriter Jordan Topf, who grew up in Santa Cruz and takes his stage name from the street where he grew up, Windsor Street. “Where the Redwoods Meet the Sea” is his debut release, a collection of six songs inspired, he told me, by his childhood in Seabright.
Topf moved away to New York after turning 18, and the new songs work as a kind of homage to his native soil. The songs, he said, date back to the pandemic year. “I think a lot of people, myself included, were reevaluating life at that moment,” he said. “And I was thinking a lot about my childhood and my roots.”
On Friday, Topf and his band roll back in his hometown for a show at the Catalyst. It’s there where he’ll get to play his new songs to the town that inspired him. Among them is “Memory,” a dance-pop song with a sheen of nostalgia that has gone past 2.5 million streams on Spotify.
The imagery and references are highly personal to Topf on one level, evoking a childhood friend who died young and a local house where he’d go to see live music and “what it felt like to be in a room full of strangers but not feel alone.”
The Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter said he’ll always carry a part of Santa Cruz with him as an artist.
“There’s something dreamy and psychedelic about Santa Cruz, and the way the fog rolls in off the ocean,” he said. “And I like to think I’ve bottled that feeling and kind of evoke it with the sounds of the instruments and the way I sing the songs.”
Windser has already recorded a couple of songs in collaboration with the popular Seattle-based rapper Macklemore. In 2023, said Topf, Windser will release an acoustic version of “Where the Redwoods Meet the Sea” and he’ll be writing the songs for his first full-length album. “I think my goal is to just keep making stuff that I’m excited about. And all the other stuff will fall into place.”