Wrapped in a Warm Blanket Angelina Jordan Podcast Episode 21 Conquering the World with James Riley


Angelina Jordan Podcast

EPISODE 21 Conquering the World with James Riley

In this Season One Finale Alan Papier and Pontus Osterlin are having a heartfelt talk with James Riley about the magic, wonder and awe of Angelina Jordan and how she affects us as human beings.

Alan: James of all our guests, I think you are probably the most swatted up, from everything that you have- all of the studies and all of the preparation that you’ve done for this interview. You are probably the most prepared guest that we’ve ever had.

James: Well, I love what you do. And I loved the process of swatting it up and I still have yet to swat up. Cause there’s still episodes I haven’t heard and videos I haven’t seen. So there’s still much to go.

Pontus: All of them are not that good, but I see what you mean.

James: Yeah.

Pontus: Yeah. So should we start talking about, who was it again?

Alan: It was Genghis Khan. Tonight we’re talking about Genghis Khan.

Pontus: Okay.

James: Genghis Khan disguised as Angelina Jordan.

Pontus: That’s a great disguise.

Alan: They have one thing in common. They’re both going to conquer the world.

Pontus: Oh, that’s a good one.

James: That’s a good point.

Alan: So maybe that will be the title of our episode tonight. Conquering the world.

Pontus : That’s a good one. Yeah. Why not?

– – –

James: There are a few things that stand out for me when it comes to Angelina Jordan. And the first one is, I wanted to share with you that my Angelina story started out with my being a fool. An absolute fool. And I don’t mind saying it and confessing it. My partner and I, Carrie, she and I, when we met, we discovered we had musical tastes that massively overlap. We love music and we love the same music, so much of it. So in September of 2018, when she sent me a video in my email of this little girl covering an Elvis song, because she knows I love Elvis. I had to listen because I trust her musical tastes and she was singing an Elvis song. And so I clicked on it. And there’s this little girl, standing amidst this crowd of people in an open air forum, singing It’s Now or Never, a beautiful song. Everybody’s singing along. Everybody seems to be adoring this young girl. And I was of course kind of skeptical because it was a child. And I was only halfheartedly listening because it was a child and then she kinda messed up a lyric. And I said, yeah, well that’s enough for me. So I clicked away. That’s why I call myself a fool. Later that night, when Carrie asked me if I had seen the video, I said, ‘Oh yes, she was adorable. But you know, she messed up the second verse. And so like, I clicked away’ and she said, ‘No, no, no, no, no, you really should listen to the rest of that because she is really like something you’ve never heard before.’
And I’m like, ‘I’m sure of that. I’m sure that, you know, I’ve never heard anything like that before, you know’. You know, while I’m trying to get out of the conversation, but she said, ‘No, no, really you really should.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh send me another video and we’ll see what with that one brings.’
And so she sent me another video and I think it was from Norway’s Got Talent. It could have been like Gloomy Sunday. And that one, I just completely dismissed it. And this was because, coming from New York city, I was absolutely sure she was like a Broadway child and her parents were coaching her to sing in a certain way.
And I just dismissed it. And this is why I’m a fool.

Pontus: Yeah, I agree.

Alan: Haha.

James: It was a bias in me that was just not open. I was just not open to the experience of hearing something that was very, very strong. She was radiating something very strong that I would discover probably a year and a half later.

Pontus: Sorry for interrupting, but it is interesting to hear someone that is not immediately just blown away, and sort of dig a little deeper to find out, why is it that some people are not blown away by her? I mean, I know for instance, my wife, she doesn’t understand what I’m doing. Everybody isn’t the same, of course we all have different tastes and different sort of backgrounds, so it is interesting to hear this story really.

Alan: It’s really part of human nature. If I come up to you and I say, ‘Taste this, this is the best thing you will ever taste in your life.’ It’s human nature to say, ‘No, no, no, no, I don’t agree with that.’ Partially it’s a contrary thing, but people want to discover things for themselves. They don’t want to be told how they feel and how to react. And you know, especially, this is how esoteric things are taught. You have to learn things for yourself. You could not teach the esoteric in the class. You have to wait until you’re ready to learn. And James, with you had to wait until you were ready to hear Angelina Jordan.

James: You’re absolutely right about that. You’re absolutely right, because it took me another year and a half of Carrie’s prodding until it was, I believe it was a Friday night. And this was a significant night, not just because it was the night that I finally got it. After I wrap up this story, I’ll tell you why it was further significant.
It was a Friday night. Carrie pulled up two chairs in front of the desk where the computer is. And she said, ‘No, no, no. You’re going to sit down with me and you’re going to listen to this girl because you’ve never heard anything like this. She is really the best.’ And I said, ‘Okay, you know, I trust you and I trust what you’re saying, and I’m going to give it a chance. And I’m sure that it’s just one of these blocks that I’ve put up. And you’re probably right.’ And so we sat down and we listened to all the Norway’s Got Talent videos and, you know, I started letting it come down. And when we got to Bang, Bang, I was like, hold on a minute. There’s something here. Her timing, her phrasing, her use of negative space was starting to… it was starting to dawn on me that there is something happening here. And I’m really feeling very excited about this. I’m starting to get high, by listening to this. And then she played, Fly Me to the Moon from Rosie O’Donnell’s show. And I was like, suddenly I’m starting to become a fan. I was like, oh, I think it was that thing that happens to people, you know?
And then she said, ‘Now, this is what happened Monday night. And this was like four nights prior. And she played Bohemian Rhapsody. I don’t like Queen and I’m not a classic rock fan. and I don’t choose to listen to that type of music. But what Angelina Jordan did with that song made me fly. It made me leave my body. And I had not had a feeling like that, maybe since I heard, Hey Jude, when I was a child and I was hooked. I was listening to one of the greatest sounds I’d ever heard in my life. And I had to know more immediately. Luckily we’re sitting at the computer and I typed in Angelina, ‘What is her name? Angelina Jordan.’ You know, and I went to the Wikipedia page and I found that it was her birthday that very night that we were listening, it was her 14th birthday. And I was like, that’s a present to me. That was her giving me a present. That I should have my walls broken down that very night on her very birthday.

– – –

James: I’ve been meditating for most of my adult life and, after breathing exercises and after reaching a certain state, consciousness transcends and I tend to leave a physical state and I tend to maybe levitate in my consciousness. I leave my body, in a certain way of speaking and I’m free of my physical shackles, let’s say. And I am able to stay in that state, because of maybe all the hard work I’ve done meditating over the years, or something like that. And that sometimes that same state of transcendence can be triggered by an outside stimulus. And, and sometimes that is a piece of music. I had mentioned the Beatles Hey Jude, can do that to me. There are certain passages in Baroque music, Monteverdi operas that might be able to do something like that. Not all of them, but only certain moments, but Angelina Jordan almost all the time.
Another thing that I wanted to talk to you fellows about, which is that at the time, I was lead singer in a band. And after discovering Angelina Jordan, I found her to be a leader. I’ve found her to be someone that I wanted to guide me. What I found was someone who was a master, even as a nine-year-old doing, I Put a Spell on You. I found someone I wanted to emulate. I found someone who was so much better than me, and she had so much to offer. I wanted to do what she was doing, and I found myself in my own practices, doing techniques that I saw her doing, and I heard her doing. And I found myself becoming a better singer for it. And this was from a child. I’m 54 and you know, I’m old enough to be her grandfather. And yet I find her to be my leader, and I love that.

– – –

Alan: For many different people, Angelina Jordan is a role model and it’s unusual and maybe not normal for a young child to be a role model. But having said all that in a way, there is a way I think she could and should be a role model for us, and that is how calm she is all the time.

James: That is so true.

Alan: And that calmness is part of her package and that is something we can emulate and really admire and we can try and, use that as a guide in our own lives. That type of calm approach in all circumstances.

James: That is so very true. When I think of that calmness, I think of her grandmother. And I think of all that she has gotten from Mery and I hope that we gain a deeper glimpse into that relationship because I would love to see more of that dynamic, that I think is so important for who Angelina Jordan is.

Pontus: Hmm, that’s true. There’s also one other or two other sort of traits, I think you call them, with Angelina that I want to emulate really, and that is the combination she has of being humble and confident at the same time. I think that combination is brilliant. It’s like she’s living in two worlds at the same time. She’s super confident at what she does, but also very, very humble at everything she does.

James: This is another characteristic to emulate, this is another thing that I would aspire to- is to, be so talented, to be so absolutely wonderful and so masterful at what you do, and yet to have such humility.

Alan: Do you know how most little girls, when they’re four years old and six years old and they want to grow up to be a mommy. Well, and that is their the core of their identity and that is the core of their essence. But when Angelina was four and six years old, she had the same inner conviction. She was going to grow up to be a singer and this was so obvious and so fundamental to her being. And I think this is one of the reasons why she never has any stage fright. It’s the most natural thing in the world for her to sing, this is like who she is.

James: And supported in that by her family. I know you guys talked about that so much supported by her family, just so much.
There’s another area I wanted to talk to you guys about, and I don’t know what you’ll think about this, but in my upbringing I experienced a lot of abuse. It’s been a journey to get over it, to get through it, to become a well adjusted human being, you know? And when I discovered Angelina Jordan being so absolutely marvelous at what she did, and I realized that she must’ve had none of that in her background, my immediate reaction was that I wanted to protect her and make sure that she had never, ever was spoiled by any negativity whatsoever. I never ever want her to ever experience any of the violence that I had to encounter. I just want her to stay in a bubble of happiness so she can keep doing what she’s doing and to be supported in what she’s doing, you know?

Alan : Well, you should be part of her management team, James, because that’s exactly their priority. They want to protect her and make sure she is not exposed to negative influences. That’s exactly their approach.

Pontus: I’m, I’m, thinking also about how we can, as human beings living in this world, sort of use all of the inspiration that we find in people like Angelina, to sort of, lift ourselves in a way and also to pay it forward, as they say to use that and guide us towards other people, how we want them to feel.
I’ve been employed now in this new firm for four weeks. I have Angelina in my head the way she is, the way she’s both confident and humble and I want to use that as a tool to sort of get the whole team in this company to be better even though Angelina has nothing to do with this, this is just my inspiration, my source of inspiration to have this as a tool. I hope my coworkers not listening to this podcast now, because then I give it away.

James: I think you can’t go wrong with that Pontus.

Alan: If they are listening, Pontus, I’m sure you’ll get a promotion.

Pontus: Okay. Yeah. I think that’s one of the visions for Angelina as well that she wants to sort of, inspire us all in a way, to be better, to feel more, to protect our loved ones and all people around us really.

Alan: This was the original inspiration, Pontus when you and I decided to do this podcast, we were just having a conversation and you mentioned that Angelina Jordan makes you a better person. And immediately, as soon as you said that, you had previously mentioned you wanted to do podcasts, and I said that needs to be the subject of our podcast. And we picked up the baton and we’ve just run with it. And we have had a lot of mileage just from that opening gambit.

– – –

Pontus: It’s very evident in a song like 7th Heaven, in the lyrics of what she’s trying to get through to us. That it’s not all good in the world, but we have to live with hope that we can make this world a better place, that we can reach a certain level of happiness, even though it’s sometimes it’s like a very uphill battle.

James: It is, right. And we find that through our own will and our own volition. You know, in that middle part, where she’s going inside and you got to somehow find it within yourself. You know, that’s our own willpower and that’s our own volition. You have to go inside, you have to find it and, you have to take it out. And that is the trick is you have to find it and you have to take it out of yourself. That’s where Angelina is so very, very special is she is able to somehow go inside and source it out of herself.
And there’s another topic that I wanted to talk to you fellows about. I don’t think it’s talked about enough. I’ve watched a lot of videos. I’ve listened to a lot of your podcasts. And there was a lady back, I think in July, Adrian Kelly, I think who may have mentioned it, but Waldorf education, I think plays a bigger role in Angelina Jordan’s environment and what has created Angelina Jordan’s… her ability to be who she is, more than I think that we’re talking about.
Back 500,000 years ago in the days of the dinosaurs, when I was raising my own kids, when they were school age children. I sent my kids to a Waldorf school in New York city. And, I have to tell you that changed my life. It had a fantastic effect on my own children. I’m so glad that I sent them to Waldorf school and the one in New York city, just by the way, it’s called the Rudolph Steiner school.
From the very first time I ever stepped foot into that building for the first ever parent teacher meeting or the curriculum introduction meeting, to the lectures that I attended, to the parents that I met and became friends with and the play dates that we all had with each other. It was one of the most transforming experiences of my life and for my children and for my family.
If you’re familiar with Waldorf education, you know that they much prefer that the children play with a nondescript stick than they do with an action figure that has a hat and hands and sunglasses or anything like that, they insist that you use your imagination. When I heard that I was blown away and I said, this is where my kids are going to school.
And I have to imagine that this has somehow found its way into Angelina Jordan’s psyche and into the texture of who she is. And she is letting us know that this is a good way to learn. That this is perhaps a better way to learn than the kind of IQ based, you know, school systems that we kind of have these days.

Alan: I used to know someone and he once famously said, ‘Your mind can make you happy or your mind can make you unhappy. It’s up to you.’ I think you could almost substitute any word you want, your mind can be a burden or your mind can be liberating. It’s up to you. And it’s a matter of whether your mind controls you or whether you control your mind. But if you meditate, James, you know all about this. But it’s putting this out there, it’s putting this publicly, it’s saying this in a way, which makes it more accessible to the public. That’s in a way what Angelina Jordan is doing. She is almost like a transformer. She’s trying to either transform some special feeling that she has, put it into music and then having that ripple inside of us. Or she is giving us an opportunity to have a learning experience with what she’s been through in her own way.

– – –

Alan: Something else that occurred to me, when we were having our podcast with Christi Bovee, she was making a very good and simple, but very profound point, which is, ‘Well, you know, you guys are open to the Angelina Jordan experience. Not everyone is open.’ She was referring, for example, specifically to some of the students that she teaches to sing. So a prerequisite… What we’re talking about, you have to be open to change. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but if you’re a homeowner, you know, you think, ‘Right, I want to have an extra bedroom and I want to, paint the outside of the house and I want to put a chimney in’, and you’re constantly making, refinements to your house. And you could and should be doing that internally to your inner world, to your inner emotional world. A singer would do that. A singer might have coaching or a singer might think, ‘How can I use my voice in a different way?’ And for me, this is one of the, I think I have to use the G word and say, this is one of the genius aspects of Angelina Jordan, because. 99.9% of singers use their voice for the boom effect. They use the power of their voice and Angelina Jordan goes in the opposite direction. And because it’s so different than everyone else, this is what we take notice, and this is what surprises us. Instead of the boom effect, she softens her voice and she changes her voice three or four times within 10 words.

James: You couldn’t be more right about that. She has the whole gamut down, from her whispers to her roars, to her screeches and her rasp and the whispers that she has. She has an entire encyclopedia of sounds that she can make. And I often find that she’s making sounds. She articulates them as words and she certainly is transmitting messages, but often she makes sounds that are articulated as words, but I find that she makes sounds. That’s the way that my ear reads, what she’s doing is she’s making almost sound effects.

Pontus: Yeah. And she takes her time with the sound. She lets them sort of go the duration even after you sort of think, ‘Oh, now the note or this sound is going to end.’ No, no she’s going with it. And it’s soft there in the end, so it’s barely noticeable, but I think it registers in your subconscious that there is something there. And that is very unique, I think. I’ve never heard any singer do it like that.

– – –

Alan: I have a question for you, James.

James: Sure, Alan.

Alan: You mentioned meditation and going through different states, et cetera, et cetera. Has your experience with Angelina Jordan changed the way you meditate or the result of your meditation or your meditative state?

James: I wouldn’t say it has, no. What has changed is first of all, I would have to say, what’s changed is my bias. It’s such a hard thing to articulate because I wanted to, like, I didn’t trust a child to change me. You know, I didn’t… my meditation is a whole other thing. What I found is that, what Angelina Jordan does is not too different from what it is when I meditate. It comes from a transcendent place, a place that transcends the normal, you know, waking, sleeping, dreaming states. What she does, that place,where she rolls her eyes back, she closes her eyes and she says, she goes somewhere. That place is like a place where I would go when I meditate. It’s a higher energy. And I think that she goes to that higher energy. And I think that she radiates that higher energy. And I think that those of us who are open to it, feel it.
And I think that what she does, is she says that anybody of any age can be open to this and even transmit it to you, with you and share it with you. That’s the difference. I didn’t think that was possible with a child.

Pontus: I think that was the best explanation of Angelina’s abilities I’ve ever heard. That’s brilliant, because I’ve always wanted to sort of get a little bit of insight into that world that she goes into. And I think you’re absolutely right. It’s something like that.

James: Something like it.

Pontus Yeah, I believe that.

– – – 

Alan: I’m probably much less familiar with the Rudolph Steiner Waldorf system than you are, James, but one of the benefits that maybe Angelina Jordan received is, she has a certain type of relationship to free flow and free form with her music that the lack of structure built into her music might be an extension of that type of education.

James: I think so. I think that hearkens back to a bit, like what I was saying before about, she makes kind of like more like sounds, when she’s singing. She’s not held in by the words. You know, she’s not like, the lyrics come first for her, the music comes first, the sounds that she’s making within the lyrics comes first. Imagine the lyrics being a shell, you know. She fills the shell with her own color. And then the shell itself becomes its own shape, because of what she’s injecting it with. And that comes to me the way that I see it, the way I feel it, it comes from her own inner way of expressing, her own understanding of this melody and the way it’s gonna come out. It’s not held tight by the bars of lyrics. The lyrics are there as toys. The lyrics are there as, part of something to play with, let’s say. The melody is where it is for Angelina Jordan. The words are part of it, of course they’re an important part of it. But the melody, I think the melody is the magic carpet ride for Angelina Jordan.
And that’s not to say the lyrics aren’t important. I mean, when you listen to Oslo, Oh boy. You know, I was just listening to it before. And there’s a fellow, you know, that, you know, the live performance, you know, the one where It’s a Man’s World, you know that performance? Oh my. And she does Oslo, the clarinet player behind her. He just starts glowing as soon as the instrumental part stops, he takes the clarinet from his mouth and she starts singing and he’s just like beaming, this guy. Because her words are about Oslo, of course, but the melody that’s just emitting from her is just absolutely incredible. It’s just these waves. It’s like an aura just coming off of her, that you can’t help be carried by it and just be enraptured and joyous. And be made joyous by it. That’s the way I feel.

– – –

Pontus: When she’s performing one of her interpretations of a cover, in my mind she’s sort of getting it so right to my ears. So it’s like, this is the ultimate version, the optimum version of this song that you can think of. And that is something I’ve sort of speculated about, is this the thing that she gets from this world that she goes into? That she can sort of see how things should be in like the perfect state in this world. And then she can bring those back with her abilities and transmit them to us so that we can feel the beauty of that version that she can sort of lift down to us from her world.

James: I gotta tell you, I completely agree with that. You’re a far more intellectual man than I am. And I can never put into words so eloquently the way that you do. I think that the only way that I could ever approach expressing what you just expressed in words is through poetry, probably cause I’m more of an artist type, more of a conceptual guy. I can never approach your intellectual expression like that, but I love it, man. That’s why I love your channel. Your PO talks channel. I do love the way you put things.

Alan: You know, the very important question that we haven’t asked, and that is, ‘If Angelina Jordan has this wonderful world inside of her that she goes into, do you and I have it as well? And can we reach it and can we describe it? And, if she has it, does everyone have it?’ And that is a really, really important question.

James: I think that as you guys say every once in a while that she is not from another planet, you know, we all have said it, right? She must be from another planet, right? But no, she’s not. I think that she is a human being. And I feel that, in moments, when my back has been up against a wall and I’ve had to find solutions to problems. I don’t know where they’ve come from, but like we were talking before about volition and willpower and having, just like in 7th Heaven where she, ‘You got to go inside yourself and you gotta pull it out and you got to find it.’ I think that we all do have that power. And I think that Angelina Jordan is saying that to us and you have to find it within you.
She is saying that you can do this. She does it. And she’s gotten just like, we’re talking about meditating, the more you do it, the better you are at it. Angelina Jordan is singing all the time and she’s sourcing that inner spark. I don’t know what else to call it. She’s sourcing that, so often that it becomes so fluid with her that I think that all of us who’ve been in that precarious position where we’ve got to find a solution for something, and we do it. That’s maybe it.
Now, usually we’re not in the performing arts and so we’re not trying to find a brilliant way to interpret a classic melody in our own way. But whatever that thing is, when we’re at work, let’s just say, and we have to somehow squeeze two months of work into two hours. And somehow we do it, that may be something like that.
And that’s reaching inside ourselves and that’s somehow taking it out and making it happen. And that’s that 7th Heaven that she’s talking about, finding it in you. I think that we do all have that power and I think that she’s letting us know that, ‘You got it and you can do it too.’ That’s what I think.


  1. Adriaan Rijllart

    Thank you for this interesting discussion! It’s good for me to know that I’m not the only one who was not convinced from the first song I heard from Angelina. I like a remark that you made Pontus, about how Angelina often keeps the sound going, even softly. It’s one of the unique things of Angelina, yet I’ve never heard anyone mention it. Great point! Can I send you one of my favourites? Thank you James, Alan and Pontus!

  2. Pedro A.

    For 20 years I tried singing but wasn’t able to produce a decent sound, due to being ‘Tone Deaf.’ I did attend music school and learned to read, write and play it but all by sight, nothing by ear. From time to time I’d upload a video on YouTube, sounding horrible but I never lost hope that one day I’d overcome the challenge. And then I found Angelina, on Nov. 2020, little did I know that she’d change my life. A few weeks later, on Christmas, I decided to sing a song of hope in order to share with friends and family on Facebook, after such a horrendous year. The moment I began playing the guitar, for the first time in my life, not only did I feel the music but I heard every single note. I began singing the song and afterwards I listened to it and I couldn’t help but cry. I had actually produced beautiful sounds with my voice. To anyone else it might had been a coincidence but to me, it was a miracle.

    I’m currently in the process of making a music video for my first single, and the female model is wearing an official Angelina’s T-shirt. My way of paying tribute to the angel from a star that changed the rest of my life.


    • Pontus

      Thank you Pedro for this inspirational story. I would very much refer to this story or publish it in some way. Would you mind? If it’s okay with you please submit it through our form, which you will find here:

  3. Rosie Vega

    This was a great treat , James, your star guest I love his insight about Angelina , I have done what his friend Carrie has done to him, sit a friend down and say “just listen” and yes people have to let go of other things in their mind to hear and accept what Angelina’s sounds are making us feel , we do have to grab it to appreciate it . Sometime when I’m hearing Angelina my ear lobes twitch, it’s amazing no other Artist has had that effect on me.
    I was born in 1960 my mom was a big Patsy Cline fan my father listen to classical Spanish composers, I didn’t care too much for the music in the 70,80 and 90s Between 70 and 80 I had a older friend which introduced me to jazz famous Artist like Ella , Dinah Washington, Nancy Wilson, Billie Holiday, I loved them and then I explored that world of standards the Frank Sinatra , Edda James and the many more, Angelina gave me inspiration to listen to the 70, 80, 90 they meant much more when she is singing those type of music, for instance I never ever listen to Miley Cyrus and I was blown away with her rendition of “nothing breaks like a heart” afterwards I listen to Miley sing it and it wasn’t the same song, this is Angelina gift she brings out a whole different meaning to each song she sings. Or maybe we all hear a different meaning, idk. when I heard Angelina sing gloomy Sunday I feel in love there was something different in her voice that I couldn’t place , I heard the influences of Billie Holiday but there was something exciting to hear in her voice, something I’ve never heard before from any artist so I because a fan , trying to find out what it was that I was hearing , listening to vocal coaches reactions to give me an explanation to what I’m hearing , ok did I get my answer? NO! some of them are just as puzzled as I was. the closest I get to finding out what it is that Angelina has, is listening to your podcast, guys , and I’ve gotta say this was a great one, I loved the trial and error of James describing his journey with Angelina, he was a great guest. Im ending it here, wrote too much already , I appreciate this podcast so much.

    Thank you,


    • Pontus

      Thank you so much Rosie. I’m so happy you liked it. I especially like you saying: ”The closest I get to finding out what it is that Angelina has, is listening to your podcast.” I may have to quote you on that if I may?

  4. Dave

    Great discussion guys!

  5. Michael

    Alan and Pontus… I have listened to all episodes with great interest; this one transcends the rest. I, too, have been seeking insights into why AJ affects me so dearly and why only a limited number of those around me are impacted in similar fashion. Thanks to you two – and to James and your other guests – for assisting me in my AJ journey.

  6. Anette Sundin

    Thank you so much for this! I appreciate your thoughts and thinking. I could only agree!


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