In lieu of his latest single, “supercuts”, we spoke to the New Jersey-hailed artist about love, lockdown and his musical inspirations.
Platinum-certified megastar Jeremy Zucker isn’t messing around on his ascent to pop-stardom, well, okay, maybe a little… You might’ve heard the frosted-tipped singer already, pouring his heart out on casual slow-burner “all the kids are depressed”, streamed worldwide over 200 million times, or perhaps you chanced upon the stripped-back, breeziness of 2018 single “comethru” instead, deciding to stan immediately after falling in love with his soothing vocals and cheeky lyricism, not that we can blame you.
Following up from his critically-acclaimed debut album, love is not dying, released earlier this year, the artist’s latest single, supercuts, soaks up the last of summer’s feel-good frenzy before we dive headfirst into the leafy chills of autumn. Peppered with the singer’s signature sunny chords and gut-punching lyrics, it’s a play and repeat deal.
“‘supercuts’ is about the fear of being complacent and ending up where you started, which for me was a small town in the suburbs of New Jersey,” Zucker explains. “The idea of seeing your ex’s mom at the Supercuts in the mall is really just the most sarcastically exaggerated way of portraying that life, to me. Despite being a more upbeat record, there is this sarcastic, self-loathing tone behind my performance. It’s quite fun.’
Catching up with the revered indie-popper below, we dove deeper into his new single, his hopes for life post-pandemic, and a recent obsession with Phoebe Bridgers…
Hey Jeremy! Growing up in suburban New Jersey, you are a self taught singer, songwriter and producer; when did you decide music was your career?
I think I decided music was my career when I started getting offered record deals, while I was a junior in college. I started releasing music seriously when I was a freshman, and it took a while for it to build up streams and momentum. At the time I was pre-med, and by the time I graduated I was pretty sure that music was going to be my career.
How did you get signed with Republic? Was that part of your plan?
I got signed because my manager at the time was applying for internships at Republic. I was one of the artists that he submitted when he was showing them his taste of music, and then my now A&R, Tyler reached out. He’s like, “I love what’s going on,” and he flew out to hang out with us at my college in Colorado. I signed a couple months later. Signing with Republic was something I wanted to do because I knew being an independent artist meant a lot of financial investment in myself and a lot of risk. At the time, I wasn’t even sure if I was really going to do music. I was still sort of halfway in between a career in medicine and a career in music. I signed because I didn’t want to take this risk on myself and I knew that I wanted my music to have a bigger marketing push.
“talk is overrated,” “all the kids are depressed” and “comethru” were all smash hits and collectively passed the billion streaming mark, was that surprising to you? Where were you when you first heard your music outside of playing it yourself?
Wow…yeah. I’ve never taken up all the streams and looked at them together like that. I really don’t hear my music in random situations. I think the first time I heard one of my songs was my song “talk is overrated” played on the radio in Denver when I was in school, and that was a huge surprise.
Tell us about your writing process…
My writing process is very solitary. I sort of lock myself in my studio with all my instruments, and I experiment messing around and singing to myself until I come up with something that I like. It’s a very long, arduous process.
Who has been your biggest inspiration for your music?
Bon Iver. I’m really inspired by how Justin Vernon was always trying to think outside the box creatively, and he’s never really held back by previous sound and he’s really big on collaboration. Those are all things that I’m trying to improve myself and my own music.
You released your new single “supercuts” midst the pandemic; how was that experience in these times?
I released my debut album during the pandemic, so I’m sort of used to the weirdness that comes with releasing music when you can’t support it in any physical or real way, so wasn’t that weird to me. It is interesting because the song was meant to be a feel-good summer anthem, and it’s strange because a lot of people aren’t having normal summers. In that way, I was really excited about releasing it because I sort of feel like I’m maybe helping people feel like their summers are going more normal, and you know, it’s a bit of a distraction from the insanity of 2020.
When you’re not making music, what else do you do for fun?
When I’m not making music, I am hanging out with friends watching movies, cooking, and cleaning. My favourite thing to do is when it’s nice out to take a walk outside, take a moment and like look into the sun and close my eyes and just feel the warmth. Lol. I think it’s because I spend a lot of time inside making music and whatnot, but that makes me feel really good.
Which artists have you been listening to lately?
I’ve been listening to Phoebe Bridgers a lot. I just discovered Caroline Polachek, who I’ve really been sleeping on. Those are two artists that I’m really feeling lately.
What is your highest hope for your music and its impact on others?
I think music really helps people emotionally. Everyone talks about the universality of music and how it can really help pull people out of dark places and make you feel less lonely and make you feel comforted. I really believe in that.
Once the pandemic is over, what will be the first thing you will do to celebrate?
I’m gonna throw a massive fucking party and have all my friends over and get really drunk.