BUFORD -- He is a starter for the Lanier High School football, basketball and baseball teams, but what Jordan Humphrey really loves to do is sing. It might feel like a flashback to Troy Bolton in the 2006 Disney Channel original movie "High School Musical," but Humphrey is completely legit.
"My main priority is music," Humphrey said. "It has been my main passion since I was little. I love sports but I can see myself being an entertainer."
Identifying most with the style of jazz icon Michael Buble, the 17-year-old recently released his debut single "That's What I'm Thinking," which he co-wrote with music industry veterans Anthony Little and Kenny Lamb. They have worked with artists Justin Timberlake, Reba McEntire, Tina Turner, Jessica Simpson and The Backstreet Boys.
Singing has always been Humphrey's focus and passion, although as a musician he plays the piano and is learning guitar. Everything began at a young age when Humphrey's parents first recognized his musical talents.
"When I was little I was in the back of a van and my dad put on N'sync," Humphrey said. "I started singing the whole thing. Later they recorded me singing it while I had no idea. It was pitch-on perfect. From then on my dad led me into being a singer."
His father Jody Humphrey has a special connection to the music industry as a financial planner for musicians and singers. He said his son's singing ability is a "God-given gift" since neither he nor his wife sings.
When Humphrey first started singing he dabbled in country music. At 12, he was chosen to perform with prominent American country music singer Kenny Rogers as part of a Christmas special.
"I grew up more in the country music world and I sang country for four years. It was cool. I thought I was a country music artist," Humphrey said.
His big turning point came two years ago. Until then he floated between styles and sounds.
"The turning point for me was when we were doing a TV show in Nashville. I was singing country and had only begun to move into Buble's style," Humphrey said. "A guy we were working with from the band Alabama named Teddy Gentry basically said, 'You are champagne and we're beer.' From that point on I realized country didn't fit for me."
One of Humphrey's biggest breaks thus far is his work with music legend David Foster, a producer and songwriter who has won numerous Grammys and is credited with discovering Buble, Celine Dion and Josh Groban. Foster personally selected Humphrey out of more than 20,000 applicants for a role in his Hit-Man Tour in 2009. A sophomore at the time, Humphrey remembers it vividly.
"I went to the Fox Theatre in October 2009 and met with Foster. I had to compete with a girl from Chicago also chosen to go on the tour. We fixed the arrangement, which was 'Save the Last Dance,' one of Buble's big covers. We performed against each other and at the end of the night he told us who won. Then I went to Canada to sing a rendition of Rihanna's 'Please Don't Stop the Music,'" Humphrey said.
His dad describes the opportunity as "huge" since his son was performing along with Sarah McLachlan, Ruben Studdard, The Canadian Tenors and Buble himself. Foster said at the end of the tour, "Jordan Humphrey, a name to remember."
Humphrey's agent Bernard Porter, President of PCG Nashville, Inc., has worked with him for three years and calls him "one of the most talented young stars." He is excited to represent Humphrey and his future. In addition to his new single, Humphrey also recently cut a track with R & B artist Ray Lavender called "Hero."
"Hero" debuted at Suwanee Town Center Park on Nov. 5 and sounds like the collaborative tracks produced by T.I. and Justin Timberlake, according to Humphrey.
"'Hero' is about a guy who helps a girl out and shows her what she's really worth," Humphrey said.
Although Humphrey seems to be reaching for the stars of fame and success, he is also like many other high school seniors. On Oct. 28 he was excited when he was tabbed to sing the national anthem at his last football game.
"It meant a lot to me. I got to show school spirit and share my talents with everyone. Plus, it was Senior Night and probably my last football game I will ever play.
"The coaches asked me to sing and I felt pretty honored to help out. I was in my uniform singing and then I got to play the game. It was fun," Humphrey said.
The Buford resident has a black belt and two younger sisters has a big future ahead of him.
"With his single in hand and with tremendous buzz surrounding him, Jordan is headed towards stardom," Porter said.