Photo: Meredith Truax
While a multitude of rising artists finding internet success thanks to Instagram selfies, sponsored posts, and YouTube covers, 22-year-old Jeremy Zucker broke the fourth wall with a different tune. After the success of his debut single “talk is overrated” featuring Blackbear, his single “all the kids are depressed” has reached over 34 million Spotify streams to date and produced a 6 minute music video that shed a light on depression, suicide, domestic violence and more.
His newest EP, summer,, was released on Sept. 28 and captures Zucker’s transition from graduating college to touring & creating music full time – “an endless summer of doing what he loves.” Read more about the project in our Q&A below:
OTW: Your background is very DIY since you started making and releasing music out of your college dorm. Do you think your creative process would have been different if this was done in the more “traditional” way? If yes, how so?
Making music in my bedroom definitely shaped my creative process – I’ve learned how much you can do with so little. The first couple years I made music, I was writing and recording on a laptop with GarageBand. Having limited resources allowed me to really experiment with everything the software had to offer, so I became very good at working with very little. Having that foundation to build on, adding new instruments and software is the most exciting thing in the world to me. I think if I started making music the more “traditional” way in recording studios and such, I would have been overwhelmed with the amount of equipment. It really takes a long time to understand the technical nuances of production, and that can sometimes get in the way of creativity.
OTW: Who do you note as inspirations for your songwriting when you were growing up? What about today?
Growing up, Blink 182 was my main inspiration for songwriting. I started playing guitar when I was about 8 or 9 just so I could learn their songs. It wasn’t that far of leap for me to then start writing songs on the guitar. It came really naturally in that way. Today I get my inspiration in a lot of places. I get inspiration for my production just by listening to modern music and weird, experimental pop songs. Inspiration for my writing comes from my life. These days I literally just write down what’s on my mind, and that’s a really great feeling.
OTW: You mentioned that this new EP is about the transition from graduating college to now being able to fully focus on your music career. Your song, “all the kids are depressed,” tells the story of mental health, depression and more very thoughtfully. What other themes do you hope listeners take away from the release?
A recurring theme in summer, is the feeling of being alone. The project isn’t necessarily about loneliness, but rather the idea of being alone and all of the emotional weight that it can carry.
OTW: Your first headlining tour is wrapping up. What are you looking forward to the most as you continue to perform and make more fans on the road?
It’s just crazy for me to go somewhere in the world where I don’t know anyone and to have a room full of people sing lyrics I wrote alone in my bedroom.
OTW: t’s crazy to say it, but 2019 is right around the corner. What do you hope to accomplish next year?
The goal for 2019 is to keep doing everything I’ve been doing – touring, writing music, working on my craft – but to just do it better.