When Jordan Francis was just three years old, his mother enrolled him in dance class because she said he had so much energy he was always causing trouble.

“I started with jazz, then moved on to tap, ballet, afro and hip-hop,” said Francis, now 18. “Dancing has been my main foundation since I was a little child. Then I moved on to doing acting, then music after that. It’s been like fulfilling dream after dream.”

What began as a control measure turned into a career for Francis, who’s now a seemingly jack-of-all-trades in performance arts. In front of the scenes, he starred as Simba in The Lion King on Broadway, acted in the Disney Channel original movie Camp Rock alongside the Jonas Brothers, and has a music video for one of his songs in rotation on MuchMusic.

But it’s behind the scenes where Francis most flourishes. Also a choreographer, voice actor and songwriter, Francis said he enjoys those roles because of their lack of image consciousness.

“Working in front of the camera, you’ve got to make sure you look really nice and put together,” he said. “I like to get my hands dirty, play sports once in a while, play video games … kind of be a kid. I’m 18 years old, but I still act like I’m 12 sometimes.”

Juvenility works in his favour, however, when it comes to voice acting for animated projects such as Teletoon’s Carl Squared, on which he plays a supporting character. “I’m watching cartoons all the time and mimicking,” said Francis. “Bugs Bunny? Oh my gosh. I used to watch it all the time.”

But Francis’ favourite of his many jobs is making music, he said. Inspired by English classes as a child in which he could unabashedly voice his opinion and “build creative juices,” Francis has written songs for himself and other local rap artists.

“Songwriting really helps me have fun, mess around and do whatever I want, because it’s not like people are watching me while I’m in the recording studio,” he said. “It’s more like people are hearing me out. I feel like that’s what matters most — to really send a message.”

That’s why Francis said the majority of music he makes is for charitable causes. He’s even penning a song now called We Can Make it Now for Ability Online, an Internet community where ill and disabled children can connect.

“Always being in the public eye, it makes me feel like I’m doing really well,” he said. “On top of that, it makes you feel good on the inside as well.”

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