The daughter of a French professor and a British actress/ballet dancer, Sass Jordan and her family emmigrated from England to Montreal while she was a pre-schooler. She was exposed mostly to classical music while growing up, but turned to pop while still young. She idolized American r&b, with the likes of Gladys Knight and Tina Turner among her early influences, as well as heavy rockers such as Cheap Trick, Aerosmith and Bad Company. It was the wide array of influences that helped define her own early sound, beginning with Sweet Thunder – her first high school group. That led to the job of bass player in an all-girl group called The Pinups.
Before long the band was one of the hottest commotities on the Montreal circuit. After doing session work with The Box on their debut lp in ’84, she was asked to join the touring band later that year. She was still in The Pin Ups and returned to the all-girl group, as well as side-lining as a VJ for a French cable network. The band was noticed by Montreal producer Donald K Donald, who signed Sass to a contract with Aquarius Records in 1987.
Produced by Pierre Bazinet, TELL SOMEBODY was released in the spring of ’89 and told EVERYONE a new star was on the rise. Her main songwriting partner was Bill Beaudoin and behind the strength of the title-track lead single, the album quickly shot up the charts. The heavy hitters “So Hard” and “Double Trouble” and the power ballad “Stranger Than Paradise” all followed suit – earning her a gold debut album. The four hit videos also helped in capturing her the Juno for most promising female vocalist and made her a mainstay on several major tours for the next two years.
After moving to Los Angeles, she signed with Impact Records and followed up in 1992 with RACINE (‘roots’ in French). With less emphasis on keyboards than her debut, the new record lived up to its monikor. The ballsier guitar-rocker approach was due in part to the fact she was working with new producer Rick Neigher, who also co-wrote the majority of the tracks. The lead-off single “Make You A Believer” picked up where her first record left off, and turned it up a notch. But she also showed an uncanny maturity and progression with the sophomore effort. “I Want To Believe” was the next single released, followed by the soulful ballad “You Don’t Have To Remind Me”, “Goin’ Back Again” and “Who Do You Think You Are”. Other tracks included “If You’re Gonna Love Me” – highlighting her vocal prowess which almost seems to be in danger of going over the top but never does – and “Do What Ya Want”, complete with horn arrangement. By the time she was finishing up another series of extensive tours around the globe with the likes of Bryan Adams, Extreme, Steve Miller and Aerosmith the record was double platinum and it was obvious Sass was no flash in the pan.
In ’93 she made her movie soundtrack debut, doing the duet “Trust In Me” with Joe Cocker on the ‘Bodyguard’ soundtrack. She then used Nick Didio and Steve Salas as producers for her next project. Recorded in LA, RATS was released the summer of 1994 and featured Salas as Jordan’s new songwriting collaberator. Focused and ballsy, the album contained some of her most potent lyrics and raw emotion to date. Tracks like the lead-off “Damaged” and the singles “High Road Easy”, “Pissin’ Down” and “Ugly” – the duet with George Clinton showed her gritty determination not to soften her sound or lose who she was. The fourth single was the uplifting “Sun’s Gonna Rise”. Another series of sold-out shows across the globe awaited her before taking some time off again to collaberate with others, including Chuck Berry, Colin James, John Prine and Jeff Healey. Her teaming with Salas also resulted in her appearing on his ELECTRIC POW WOW album the year before, and BACK FROM THE LIVING the year after, the same year she contributed her version of “Spanish Castle Magic” to the Jimi Hendrix tribute IN FROM THE STORM.
1997’s PRESENT was next on the agenda. With Reigher returning as producer and co-writer, the album showed the continuing maturity in writing of one of Canada’s pre-eminent leaders in the ‘chick-rock’ movement. She assembled an impressive list of guest musicians which included Cheap Trick’s drummer Bun E Carlos and Tom Peterson on bass. The lead single was “Desire” and was followed by the title-track and the soulful “Someone I Could Love”. Other noteable cuts included the Pagliaro penned “Rainshowers”, “Do What I Can” and “More To Life”. A new marriage and child kept the touring light and sporadic, but as usual – it was sold-out shows when and where she did play. That year also saw “Breakdown” – a song co-written with Mariah Carey appear on her BUTTERFLY lp.
Producer Richard Chycki was brought in for HOT GOSSIP, hitting the stores the spring of 2000. She dropped the last ‘S’ from her first name in an attempt to gain a little publicity, her reason being she was tired of seeing her name vandalized to ‘Ass Jordan’ on the marquees. The new collaberating partner caught the critics’ ears and the record was instantly a critical hit. With a slightly more ‘pop-feel’ to it, the record was like a smooth rock that just got more polished. Tracks like “Monday Morning”, “People Talk” and the haunting “Forever” showed her versatility and dexterity. Following a series of mini-tours she got the acting bug, first appearing on NBC’s ‘Sisters’ and then toured in a couple of plays, ‘The Vagina Monologues’ and as playing Janis Joplin in the off-Broadway play ‘Love Janis’.
Bringing back the missing ‘S’ in her name, she released her first compilation in 2003, entitled simply THE BEST OF SASS JORDAN. Also returning was the gutsy and wrenching vocals on the two new tracks “People Talk” and “Brand New Day”. In 2003 she returned to television when she was asked to be a judge on ‘Canadian Idol’.