From his shaggy, vermillion-dyed hair to his multitude of tattoos, Jutes is the image of a rockstar. Over eight years of making music, he’s amassed more than 20 million global streams, while experimenting with various genres, infusing them with his unique edge. However, he’s never made a full-on rock album. It wasn’t until he met his current partner, Demi Lovato, and participated writing sessions for her new punk-rock album HOLY FVCK, that he decided he should.
Jutes grew up as Jordan Lutes, on a farm in Kars, Ontario, about 44 km South of Ottawa, surrounded by 300 acres of forest; the nearest property was a five-minute walk away. He enjoyed his childhood, riding horses and hanging out with local kids his age, but he was far more interested in basketball and filmmaking. “I always felt like a black sheep,” he says. “Growing up, I just wanted to be in the city, and in the mix.”
He enrolled in the film program at Humber College, but quickly lost interest. He spent all his time in his dorm room, working on his new hobby, making joke raps on his webcam microphone with GarageBand. “I was skipping all my classes just to write these stupid songs,” he recalls. “I made the songs as a joke, ’cause I didn’t have the confidence to say, ‘I’m going to be a rapper now.’”
After deciding he wanted to make music, he dropped out of university, moved to downtown Toronto, got a job, and spent all his free time pursuing his dream. His first hit was “Cocaine Cinderella,” an angst-filled pop-rap song that garnered attention online in 2016, amassing thousands of streams. Recorded on his couch with his first real microphone, it showcased what made Jutes unique: his raw, emotion-filled vocals and highly personal lyrics.
After several years of consistently releasing tracks, he moved to Los Angeles. Initially signed to Capitol Records as a hip-hop/R&B artist, Jutes soon began to see himself working in a different genre. “I wanted to make pop-punk music,” he says. “We can still have hip-hop drums, but I want to make pop-punk.” After being urged not to switch, he compromised, adding more rock elements to his music; his popular singles “When You’re Around” and “Backseat (Kiss Me)” mixed catchy trap beats with big guitars and passionate vocals.
In 2021, during the pandemic, he parted ways with his label and became independent again. The following year was all about musical experimentation: Jutes attempted to write a song every week, and released Careful What You Wish For. In March of 2021, he told Nuance magazine, “I really live to write songs – it’s what I do every day. Sometimes at 3:00 a.m. before bed, sometimes while I have my morning coffee. It’s my therapy, and it’s how I first started being honest about my emotions and mental health, so my connection to it is very deep-rooted.”
Returning to L.A. from a Christmas holiday back home, he received a message from his manager asking if he wanted to participate in a writing session with Demi Lovato for her upcoming album. He was excited but nervous: he’d be working with Lovato and acclaimed producer Oak Felder. Was he the right fit for this? Listening to songs from Lovato’s previous project, he was unsure.
The session started, and they showed him a few of the already completed tracks: “Freak,” “29,” and “Heaven.” Anxiety quickly turned to excitement; he was helping Demi Lovato make a punk-rock album. “I couldn’t believe I was making the music I loved with Demi Lovato,” says Jutes. “It just felt comfortable immediately. We left that session as good homies. It felt like we already knew each other.”
Jutes was invited back for two more sessions, and is now a co-writer of three songs on HOLY FVCK: “Substance” (the video for which has more than 6 million YouTube views), a discontented call to arms; “CITY OF ANGELS,” a raunchy, raucous ode to L.A.; and “Happy Ending.” Lovato and Jutes became friends while working together, chatting and sending song recommendations back and forth. Eventually, they started dating.
Working in those sessions lit a fire under Jutes’ creativity. “Working with Demi and Oak, I was really inspired, and I wanted to make music that made me feel like that,” he says. He started working with a group of trusted collaborators on a new album. The upcoming record will have mostly live drumming, and include grunge, punk, rap, and some pop.
At the moment, Jutes is having fun creating whatever he wants, as evidenced by his most recent singles, “Hollywood Hillbilly” and “Out The Door,” two high-tempo, upbeat tracks. “It feels like for a very long time I chased what people wanted to hear,” he says. “[Now] I just want to make stuff that I would want to listen to non-stop.”