A conversation with singer-songwriter Jeremy Zucker on music, mental health, and more
All the right notes
Since releasing his first EP in 2015 while he was a freshman at Colorado College pursuing a degree in Molecular Biology, Jeremy Zucker has come a long way. In addition to Beach Island, Jeremy has released seven other EPs, including Breathe (featuring Bout It with Daniel James and Benjamin O), stripped, glisten (featuring All The Kids Are Depressed), summer (with comethru), and brent (a joint EP with Chelsea Cutler).
Jeremy was signed to Republic Records in 2017 and has not looked back since. He is now among the most listened to artistes in the world and has amassed over 15 million monthly listeners on Spotify. His upcoming debut album, love is not dying, is slated for release on 17 April 2020. Singles from the album so far include the likes of always, i'll care and not ur friend. Make sure to check out julia, too!
There's no denying that Jeremy is a huge star—one that the music industry is lucky to have. We had the opportunity to speak to Zucker about his career, musical influences, and upcoming plans:
1. When did your interest in music began and how?
"As early as I can remember. I've always sang pop songs in the radio and sang to annoy my family. When I was really young, my parents made me take piano lessons and I absolutely hated it. As I got older and started getting into bands like Blink-182, I begged my parents to let me take guitar lessons. I quit piano—which I regret. I don't regret taking up guitar but I do regret stopping playing piano because I have to teach myself many years later. And I'm not as good as I probably would have been. Ever since then, music has been a really integral part of my life."
2. What is the first song you have ever written? What is it about?
"The first song I have ever written—I remember—was with my piano teacher when I was little. It was just a little piano part on my right hand; like a sequence of notes. I remember saying to her: 'Look I wrote a song'. She looked at and went: 'That's not a song. You were just playing notes'.
"But the actual first song I wrote was about my brother being afraid of heights. We were on a ski trip and he was really afraid of being high up on the mountain. I think that's when my parents knew that I could write music."
3. Who was your inspiration for your songwriting when you were growing up? Who are your musical influences now?
"I listened to a lot of Blink-182 early on. Some inspirations that shaped the way I listen to music now are definitely artistes like Jon Bellion, Blackbear, Eden, Bon Iver, and Oh Wonder. In the past five years, these are the artistes that have shaped the trajectory that I have now set myself down. There isn't one big influence on me right now."
4. comethru has raked in more than 820 million streams so far! Why do you think the song resonated so much with listeners?
"Honestly, I think it just makes people feel good. I know that's like really simple but it's a relaxing and chill song. It tells a story about being lonely—which a lot of people are. It's sort of acknowledging that that's okay. It's alright to not be fine. The song paints all these negative feelings in a really positive light."
5. All The Kids Are Depressed is such an important song and I'm sure that many have thanked you for writing it. What was your inspiration behind the song?
"I wrote that song when I was in college and a couple of my roommates were taking antidepressants. It's sort of this realisation that everyone around me is dealing with depression, anxiety, and various other amalgamations of mental illness. It's a realisation that everybody deals with it. Like everybody's depressed, especially the youth. I wrote that phrase in my notes on my phone ('all the kids are depressed') and I started playing the chords. And it became a song."
6. What advice do you have for anyone suffering from mental health issues?
"If it's too much to deal with on your own, reach out to a friend, a parent, a guardian, a counselor, or therapist if you have one. Anyone, basically. Say that you're not feeling great. At that point, it's about getting help if you could—if you can't really go through it alone, and that's totally fine."
7. You have collaborated with artists such as Chelsea Cutler and Blackbear. Are there any artists that you'd like to work with?
"In the future, I guess so. Honestly, now I'm not really thinking about collaborating with anyone. I'm more focused on making my music the best they can be."
8. Are there any upcoming projects that you will be able to share with our readers?
"I have an album coming up this spring—in a few months—called love is not dying. It's my debut album."
9. You performed in Kuala Lumpur last year. How was your experience in Malaysia and are there any plans to come back again?
"It was a lot of fun! We played at The Bee and my Malaysian fans were super nice. I really liked playing for them and they were super loud.
"Totally! Nothing's set in stone or scheduled but I'll try to get back as soon as I can—to play more shows and to meet the fans."
10. What do you hope to accomplish in 2020?
"Well, my album. I hope it comes out. I also hope that the tours happen because of... the virus."
It's clear that Jeremy Zucker puts a tremendous amount of thought and effort into everything he does, which has translated to his impressive presence in the music industry. While fans wait eagerly for the release of first ever full-length album, they have a brilliant catalogue of records to check out in the meantime. Only 24, Jeremy Zucker has cemented a reputation as one of the most important voices of this zeitgeist.