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NEW SOUND OF SOUL SERIES: JEREMIAH

2008-12-15
Showtime: 8:00PM
Doors Open at 6:00PM

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Jeremiah
FEATURING:
Jeremiah, vocals
Willie Brown, Jr., guitar
Keith Witty, bass
Chris Eddleton, drums

Ask Jeremiah how he felt going in to record his third studio album and this artist can sum it up in one word.

“Terrified,” he says simply. Terrified?

“Completely, because I knew that it had to be better than the first — that it had to show growth without alienating anyone, and that’s a tough line. So I sat there from the very beginning and came up with the songs, put together the skeleton, and thought about whom I wanted to work with. I wanted to be involved in every aspect because I wanted it to be conceptually beautiful.”

Jeremiah has certainly achieved success on that front. As with his previous two albums, 2006’s Chasing Forever and 2007’s The Momentary Now, the new album boasts more of Jeremiah’s poignant, modern interpretations of standards from a variety of eras, as well as two self-penned originals.

But it’s hardly business as usual for this New York native. It never is for Jeremiah, whose irrepressible spirit, engaging humor, and confident charisma once led Billboard magazine to call him “a singer with an innate ability for passionate songwriting that one cannot learn.” His new CD, which he calls “joie de vivre, my celebration on the state of love and melody,” contains a depth of feeling that will surprise and delight long-term fans and impress those new to his music. “To me, what’s different about this CD is that it has a certain raw emotion because I recorded many of these songs live in the studio.” Jeremiah prefers to keep the track listing a surprise for his interpretations “are sublime.” Jeremiah says. “We wanted it to be authentic and tell the story.”

To help him capture the intensity in the songs’ meanings, Jeremiah turned to Grammy award winning producer Barry Eastmond (Anita Baker, Whitney Houston, Britney Spears) and guitarist/arranger Marvin Sewell (Cassandra Wilson). “We definitely have a great working relationship where I think I interfere just enough,” Jeremiah says with a laugh. “Barry is a great producer and the nicest guy in the world. Marvin is so amazing, I couldn’t do it without them.”

Eastmond first discovered Jeremiah two years ago when he caught the aspiring star performing as an opening act for recording duo Kenny Lattimore and Chante Moore, which Eastmond also produced. The son of a Rochester, NY-based baker, Jeremiah spent his childhood with his single mother, an accomplished musician who accompanied the late operatic Baritone William Warfield in earlier years. She introduced him to the singers who would become Jeremiah’s idols: Sarah Vaughn and Nina Simone. “They were great singers and song interpreters,” he says. “They were entertainers, and I believe that’s a lost art now.”

Jeremiah honed his skills as a showman through years of performing in music theatre and operatic performances in his years as an opera major in college. By the time Eastmond met him in 2006, Jeremiah already knew exactly what he brought to the table — a warm, engaging voice and unassailable taste in music. His debut album was an underground smash. His video Love For a While, a duet with Shanice became a hit on VH1 Soul and BET J.

But along with his passion for creating great music in the studio, performing on stage is pure paradise for Jeremiah. “I just love getting in front of people,” he says. “It’s so important to be in touch with your audience. They’ve paid their money. I want them to be entertained. If they want to cry or laugh or dance or sing or yell, they can do whatever they want. My responsibility is just to take them away.”

 

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