The 16-year-old Jeremih Felton was not too different from an average Princeton student: having skipped senior year with overachieving academic performance, Jeremih entered college to pursue a career in engineering. He quickly realized his vocal abilities after performing at a school talent show and receiving unanimous positive feedback.
Jeremih could not have known, though, that he would go on to become a 2015 iHeart Music Award winner, well-known for his hit single “Birthday Sex” and the more recent “Don’t Tell ’Em,” which was his third top-ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
His success wasn’t completely unexpected; a self-taught multi-instrumentalist, Jeremih started playing drums at three years old before moving on to teach himself saxophone, piano, and bass guitar. “I wouldn’t say I was forced into music, but while other kids were getting video games and toys for Christmas, I was given musical instruments.”
Jeremih has been described as a “bookworm by day, beat-maker by night.” He’s a producer, recorder, rapper, and singer, and he knows his strengths: “I can make a great sex song anytime I want, without even saying a body part, without saying anything that could be omitted on the radio. Somehow I’ve just been given that ability,” he said in an interview. He isn't wrong.
When asked in another interview whether he sees himself as a perfectionist, Jeremih confessed, “To me, a lot of records are just icing on the cake… I wanted to put out something that I felt would last a lifetime, that wouldn't get old.” It is inspirational to see that his success comes from not only talent, but also hard work and a persistent refusal to produce “anything half-assed.” He knows his calling, and he takes it seriously. That’s to be respected in a musician, regardless of the music itself.
Jeremih cites Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and R. Kelly as his biggest influences. When his debut album was released, Andy Kellman of AllMusic described Jeremih’s voice as “charmingly sly" and “hard to not like.” If you come to the main act at Quad on this Sunday’s Lawnparties, you'll be able to verify that for yourself.
Destin Route, commonly known in the rap community as J.I.D, is an American rapper from Atlanta, Georgia who will be opening for Jeremih this Sunday at Quad's Lawnparties. Currently signed to J. Cole's Dreamville Records, J.I.D has been producing albums since 2015. After starting his college career playing football, J.I.D quickly realized that his future was in the music industry, and dropped out to pursue his dreams.