Jordan Krolak, a local singer who goes by Jordan Michael Studios, is also a member of the Autism Community. He joined the crew at Camp Banyan 2017 for Music Week to have fun with friends and share all about what it takes to be a singer! Perseverance, a core value at Camp Banyan, is a something you need as a singer, but you also need it to make it through challenges in life. Visit him at JordanMichaelStudios.com.
Join us as Jordan opens up about his challenges and how singing helps him persevere! What follows is the full interview with sister Rachel Krolak.
JK: Hi! My name is Jordan Krolak and I’m a singer.
RK: What kind of singer are you?
A jazz singer.
What else do you sing?
I also sing Broadway and sometimes Classical music.
What are some of the things a singer needs to practice every day?
Vocals of course! I’m taking voice lessons from a former opera singer named Giorgio Aristo.
What does he teach you?
He teaches me how to sing without using my nose and he teaches me how to open my mouth a little bigger and how to sing without any of those mistakes.
What kind of goals do you have?
My goal is to try to get some connections so I can sing at parties, weddings, birthdays, all those good things. But not at funerals, ’cause those are too sad. I don’t do funerals.
Good to know. You have a singing business, can you tell me about that?
Yes, it is called Jordan Michael Studios. Say you are having a party and you want to hire a professional singer! So I give you my business card and it has the name of the website. [My website] has the shows that I do, it has who I am, what I’ve accomplished, the plays that I’m in, and the contact information if you want to contact my “agent,” Melanie Krolak, (my mother).
What kind of plays have you been in?
I’ve been in The Wizard of Oz as the Tin Man, a Spanish opera in Tampa as a chorus member, Oliver! as Dodger.
What kind of plays do you have coming up?
I have Annie Get Your Gun. I’m in the ensemble. I’m going to be a cowboy! Yippee-ki-yay!
It’s going to be in March so we are still rehearsing. It is with Eight-O-Clock Theatre in Largo.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, Jordan, the man?
I am 22 years old, I live with my family, I work at Publix as a front service clerk. [I’ve been there] for two years, I’m going on my third. I have a sister. And I’m a bachelor.
Do you have any challenges in your life?
Finding good performances opportunities is a challenge.
What about your diagnosis?
My diagnosis is Autism.
What does that mean for you?
That I have a brain disorder.
How does that affect you?
It hasn’t been easy, no. I get upset. I start to feel sorry for myself. I hurt the ones that I love.
How does your “brain disorder” affect you every day? What does it do in your brain?
It sometimes makes me forget stuff. And to not make sense when I’m trying to say something – the words just disappear. If I have something important [to say], then it just goes away automatically. It’s hard.
Does it make it had to make friends?
It does, yes.
I don’t know. I’ve been living in Florida for 8 years and whenever I try to make a friend, it just seems very difficult for me to do. Some people – sometimes they see me as a normal person. Sometimes they see me as a not-so-normal person.
What do you mean?
Sometimes when you have a brain disorder and you’re not making sense at all, some people think that you’re weird. It feels like they just keep pushing people away and they don’t want a relationship with people that have Autism or Special Needs sometimes.
Why do you think that is?
Because of [what] they say, how they look, how they think.
Do you think that’s very respectful?
To judge someone? No. Whenever I see someone judging somebody in a bad way, it’s wrong.
How does singing help you?
It helps me to feel better because it reminds me of how grateful [I am] that God gave me this talent.
Now, you were able to go to Camp Banyan for Music Week right?
Can you tell me about that?
I started to teach them about how my business runs, what I do, and I sang to them sometimes.
The most important thing to run a business is to practice what you’re good at every day – that’s the most important thing. And another important thing is to never give up on what you truly desire – what your talent is. And to not be afraid of using that talent.
So there was another word that we used that week that started with a “P” that means to never give up. Do you remember what that is?
Perseverance. That’s what it was! Never give up, never surrender!
That is one of Camp Banyan’s core values. Did you know that?
True perseverance, yeah.
That’s one of the things they look at during camp and they study it to make sure everybody knows that it’s so important to persevere. So if you were telling someone to persevere, what you would you say?
Do what you love best and to not let anybody tell you that you can’t.
You talked a little bit about respect earlier; that’s another core value. Anything you want to say about that?
Treat others the way you wanted to be treated, of course!
Anything else you want to add?
As Charlie Chaplin once said, “Smile, though your heart is breaking. Smile even though it’s aching.”
And as Frank Sinatra once said, (sung) “I did it my way!”