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INFOCUS: The Walls We Build

For his latest EP, the internet crush singer hits all the right notes after a period of internal reflection.


Oversized knit cardigan by JAGGY GLARINO

White tee by VIVIENNE WESTWOOD and

Denim pants by CARHARTT both from GIVE ME THE LOOT

Jewelries by HOMURA


If you look up Jeremy Zucker on TikTok, one of the first things you’ll find is a viral video of him searching for his top Spotify listener. It’s a silly video, in the grand scheme of things, but it’s very telling about how he values his fans, his relationship with his music, and most importantly, his commitment to fun.



The New Jersey-born singer, songwriter, and producer released his first EP, Beach Island, in 2015. He followed it up with several more EPs that produced gold-certified hits like talk is overrated (feat. blackbear), all the kids are depressed, and the platinum-certified comethru. In 2019, he worked with Chelsea Cutler to produce two collaborative albums, brent and brent ii, which resulted in the platinum-certified song, you were good to me, before finally releasing his debut album, love is not dying, in 2020, followed by his sophomore album, CRUSHER, in 2021.


During that time, Jeremy had been collecting records left and right, gathering over 10 billion streams on Spotify alone. In addition to widespread critical acclaim, his physical sales currently stand at 4.5 million, with love is not dying finding itself in the top 25 of the Billboard Top Album Sales Chart. CRUSHER performed similarly and was soon followed by his biggest world tour to date, MORE NOISE !!!!!, performances at festivals like Lollapalooza, Governors Ball, and television shows like The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and the TODAY Show. This year, he released internet crush and OK from his latest EP is nothing sacred? released this June.


Pleated sweater by YOHJI YAMAMOTO from GIVE ME THE LOOT

Asymmetrical suit by BON HANSEN

Denim pants by HOOLIGANS YOUTH,

Jewelries by HOMURA


With everything he’s achieved, there’s a pressure to consistently deliver, but Jeremy’s not afraid to explore uncharted waters. “I don’t want to keep doing the same thing over and over,” he shares. “Whenever I put together a big body of work or finish projects, the next that I do is usually going to be quite different, just out of sheer necessity to stay excited about it.”


Is Anybody OK?

The music video for OK opens with Jeremy holding a Love Actually-style series of notes to the viewer. He tells us, “I know you’ve been going through it lately,” and that he “hopes this makes us smile.” What follows is an upbeat tune with dark, powerful lyrics that check up on whoever’s listening. “There was a lot of juxtaposing going on between how the song makes you feel and the actual words of the song,” he shares. “It’s that way because the song is kind of meant to cheer up the person I’m writing and singing about so it’s a little haunting to hear that you wanna die with that melody,” he laughs. “I wrote the songs I didn’t really know how else to help that

person rather than just being, ‘Hey I see you.’”



OK was made with the intention to check up on the people you care about, which was the result of Jeremy’s internal process of creating is nothing sacred? “The songs came together after I sat down and realized that I wasn’t caring about things as strongly anymore,” he shares. “I was kind of becoming a little jaded and a little bored, kind of with everything, and I didn’t like the way that made me feel so I kind of had to take a step back and think why am I feeling like this.”


After some reflection, he realizes that he closed himself off. “I’ve sort of built up these walls around myself to protect myself from getting hurt,” he says. “if you’re caring too much about something, it makes you quite vulnerable and it’s hard to be vulnerable and it’s hard to accept that pain will come along with that.” But Jeremy figured that the reward was greater than the risk. “I thought it would be a good thing to get back into that place, so I sort of worked a lot on myself and tried to care more and be there for people more. Just during that whole process of introspection and challenging myself, all those songs just came right out.”



Getting It Together

The name of the EP is a phrase Jeremy constantly thought about. “I was asking myself the whole time, ‘Is nothing sacred, does nothing matter anymore?’ It’s the idea of sanctity or something like that, feels so foreign, feels so ancient.” He adds that the idea is tied to a lot of religion and spiritualism, ideas that are seemingly fading in a lot of societies. “Just because we’re less religious doesn’t mean we need to care about things less, so it’s kind of a play on that.” In his continued self-discovery, Jeremy was also happy to have gone back to his production roots. “I think the part that I enjoy the most was feeling like I was making music the way that I

used to make music,” he shares. “There’s a lot of returning to how I used to make music on the project, so it was really fun to just be like ‘I was having fun and it wasn’t too serious.’



Offline Internet Crush

Jeremy admits he’s not actually that online. “My relationship with social media is very dictated by the fans, honestly, because how I personally want to engage with social media is pretty minimal.” There are viral videos of him sneaking into his own concert as well as him reacting to an IUD funeral, but he says that these antics are a result of his love for his fans.


“Obviously, I’m into music so I would share music stuff, but most of my time is spent working alone and I want to keep it a secret for a while, so I can’t share as much music as I would like to on social media,” he adds. “And on the other side of it is I like fashion a lot and I like film and photos, but most of my time, again, is spent with music, so when I do engage a lot of the time it’s in response to cool things that fans are doing.”



It’s a connection he treasures, one that happily translates offline. “[When I’m on stage,] we’re all sort of at a party together and we’re all having fun. It’s a really interesting exchange of energy because I’m pouring myself into the songs I’m playing and fans are absorbing that and giving me a lot of energy back which I can then take in and put back into the songs, so it’s a really cool circular give and take flow.”


Oversized blazer by BALENCIAGA

Knit sweater by YI SHEN

Poplin shirt by ISSEY MIYAKE

Trousers by GUCCI all from GIVE ME THE LOOT

Jewelries by HOMURA


The pleasure, of course, is all Jeremy’s. He shares that Filipino fans have been there since the early days, which is something he does not forget easily. “My audience has grown up with me, comethru came out maybe four years ago and I’ve grown a lot since then, in a lot of ways that was the beginning of my career and Filipino fans have been there since day one,” he shares. “They’re still here with me, and they support me whether I make something that’s exactly like comethru or something that’s totally different and it feels really nice to be supported that way.”


is nothing sacred? is now available to stream everywhere.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

 

Creative Direction: Ara May Tanagon

Photography: Kim Wee Ebol

Interview and Story: Andrea Lam

Styling: Lyn Alumno

Grooming: Ayra Salvador

Fashion Film Director and Editor: Dolly Hernandez

Director of Photography: Gen Porciuncula

Production Assistant: Jhastine Punongbayan


Managing Director ENZO VALDEZ

Head of International LUIGI MALLARI

International Marketing Manager JANINE FENEQUITO

International Marketing Executive JOHN BALBIN

Head of UMUSIC ANGELO DE CARTAGENA

UMUSIC Senior Manager JOE GARCIA


Special thanks to:

UMG Philippines

Universal Music Southeast Asia Regional

Republic Records

 

Listen to Jeremy Zucker here.

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