Our chat with Jonathan Jeremiah for THEAUSSIEWORD.COM.
How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?
My father was an electrician at Wembley Arena in London so as a kid I would go along to shows and hang around for some shows. Then as each of us in the family turned 16 we became ushers there, walking people to their seats. Me, I eventually became a night security guard and used to watch the shows as they finished. So I guess I dreamed of being on one of those stages as the performer and not the guy locking up the building.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?
I’ve always felt class in a big issue in the UK, monarchy, nobility, sir this and that. Accents almost telling others what we do a for a living. At least it seems to play more a part than in other parts of Europe I’ve been in. As a working class kid we’re kind of told of our limits, not to expect too much more than where we start from. I guess I never liked the idea of that, someone telling us the most we can be, so I used that feeling as fuel.
What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?
I always wanted to be excel at something, probably like most of us and to somehow connect with someone else in doing so. Being a bit of a dreamer my mind would often drift away so I didn’t think a surgeons life would be best for me.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?
I’ve a European tour starting in September and running through October. But also have a month in Australia for Christmas. My partner is from Canberra and hasn’t seen her parents since before the pandemic. Plus my kids, of course being half Australian really want to see the country. Christmas in Canberra, New Year in Sydney and a few weeks in Melbourne after that.
Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?
I sing to feel better, songs about my life and stories that maybe others could connect too. I’m not fussed about genres, anyone worth their salt should be drawing from various wells and like a magpie grab sticks and sparkly bits from all over the place.
Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?
I read JRR Tolkien would sit up in his attic at night when all the family are asleep. Well I’m a little more like that. Quiet streets outside and a guitar to process the whole day.
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
There is. But I’m much more interested in the listener finding a meaning of their own.
Success, what is the secret to it?
Sticking to it. No amount of negativity or doubt has ever been able to keep me down for too long. If anything its only been a subject worth expressing. We all like a party song, but we each fall in love with hearing the song that contains some common hardship.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
Hyde Park 30,000 people listening to an acoustic song or two.
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
Nowadays I find some ‘stars’ or musicians inspiring. It’s a ruthless cut throat industry, so anyone that’s managed to work their way through it deserves a lot of credit.
Are there any new projects in the pipeline?
Well, if you and a few Australian radio stations get on board with the new record I wouldn’t mind performing with the Dutch orchestra Amsterdam Sinfonietta at Sydney Opera House. Get on it guys.
The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years?
Australia pops up in a few of my songs, for family reasons of course but also as I always saw me living out there, ideally by a beach with a nice pair of shorts on and a guitar to keep the day whirling by.
What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?
I don’t know about the favourite or least favourite but I know there’s a special feeling when a song connects with another person and lives a life of its own in that person’s life. A hear how a nurse listens to a song of mine after a shift, or a film maker is in the Antarctic and playing the record. All those things make it worthwhile and help me understand my calling here.
Personally if I can remember that this musicians life, probably like quite a few other types, is a rollercoaster of incredible lows but every now and then there’s an equally incredible high to balance it.
Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.
First gig I ever saw (outside of Wembley Arena) was INXS in Los Angeles. PIL supported and was all pretty amazing. The INXS guys all came out skateboarding of ramps. Quite an entrance.
Been listening to Gang of Youths quite a bit in recent years. They’re friends of a friend so have followed them ever since being pointed in their direction. They’re a super live act and I’m glad to see them doing great.
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
I’d rather throw as much of my energy into the music as opposed to social media but I understand its importance to get that music out there. So I happily take part. Just not too much!
How will you continue appealing to the international market?
I don’t look to appeal to a certain market. I’m happy to have any one take time out of their day and listen in.
Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?
I don’t have a wishlist. Way too spontaneous to plan a collaboration. If something turns up I’ll just give it a good go then and there.
What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Well artists are always welcome to chat. If I can be of help then why not.
Advice, well we covered the rollercoaster, hard work, never ever giving up, normally when others aren’t paying attention it means you could be doing something super fresh. One guarantee, if you’re digging what you’re doing someone else out there is going to feel the same about it.
A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?
IG. Message or send a wave!
Any last words?