Jeremih Aims to Hit Everyone Musically With ‘Later That Night’ Album
For the past seven years, the music industry has watched Jeremih blossom from a burgeoning artist to a chart-climbing entertainer. The singer has repeatedly scored top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, which is no easy feat. Up until the past year -- with 2015's Late Nights album going gold and Jeremih receiving his first Grammy nomination for "Planez" featuring J. Cole -- the Chicago native had yet to receive the adequate amount of praise, both as a solo act and for his impressive songwriting skills.
When Jeremih finally dropped his long-awaited third studio album, Late Nights, last December, although the roll-out wasn't so ideal and there was little promotion, the industry finally got to hear what the singer was capable of. The underdog beat the odds. By the spring, Jeremih's second installment of the Late Nights series, his new album, was certified gold, selling over 500,000 copies in spite of it all. "Oui," "Planez" and "Don't Tell 'Em'," the three leading singles off of the LP, additionally all went platinum.
Fast forward to summer 2016, and even though Jeremih normally waits a while between projects, in July, he delivered Late Nights: Europe. While on his first-ever headlining tour in Europe, the "Don't Tell 'Em" singer recorded an entire mixtape of 14 songs on the road shuffling from hotel to hotel. The mixtape was also met with admirable reception.
XXL recently caught up with Jeremih to reflect on his massive year. The singer not only divulged the making of Late Nights: Europe and a U.S. tour, but he also unveiled that he's 90 percent done with his upcoming fourth studio album, Later That Night. And, he even hinted that Kanye West may make an appearance on his new LP.
XXL: You just released Late Nights: Europe and it just went up for streaming. It seems like you usually wait a while between projects. What made you come with this so quickly?
Jeremih: We were just overseas for my first tour period. I never really had my own tour, a Jeremih tour, so we were able to kick it off overseas first before I brought it over here to the states. I was just working with my homie Soundz, who was helping me with some stage production. Luckily, he had a little mic and the Pro Tools set up so for the first time -- actually only being on tour -- I was just trying to record.
We were unintentionally creating what ended up now being Late Nights: Europe but over the last two weeks of that tour, we just put together 17 or 18 songs. I just [did it] for my fans because I wanted to throw something out because I felt like I didn’t know what it was going to be or if it was for a mixtape or an album. I just did something for my fans on my b-day, the day I was trying to release it, [July] 17, but it came out on the 18th. So, that was really the whole motive behind it.
So, you’re about to bring the tour to the U.S.?
Yeah, it actually was supposed to start but I had to postpone it temporarily because I’m about to get surgery on my foot, actually on both of them. So, I’m going to be off my feet for the next month and a half, two months. I didn’t want to kick off my first U.S. tour up there crippled. So, I just postponed it until probably later this year or first thing at the top of 2017, just to kick off the year right.
Late Nights: Europe was recorded on the road. What were the main things different about this recording process?
We were really in small rooms and closets. I was using my Giuseppes and my Yeezys just to hold the sheets up but, at the end of the day, compared to just anybody’s traditional way of recording right now -- I see a lot of people use big studios and have these big soundboards but I come from recording in my granddad’s basement. That wasn’t too far from home, other than having to tell people to shut up -- not making too much noise so it will pick up on the mic -- was pretty much the only difference for me recording and just actually not caring if I messed up a note or if people are laughing -- new ladies or some of the production crew -- other than that, it was cool for me just to know we were recording and getting work done after a lot of those shows.
Normally there’s such a hold up between your projects. Why?
It wasn’t nothing that I felt like I was doing on purpose. My only mixtape that I’ve ever had out before Late Nights: Europe besides the small little project I did with Shlohmo -- this kind of underground producer -- we did like a six song EP -- was the first mixtape I put out in my life. Just knowing that this is somewhat of that series, I didn’t think I was gone too long. If it wasn’t a song of mine, I kind of made sure I was on somebody’s record because people are always like, “You come and then disappear. Then come back and bounce again.”
Honestly, I’ve been a part of a decent song at least every year that I’ve been signed. So, as far as my project-wise, a lot of people don’t know but I’ve been going through a lot of legal things and issues with my production team. Just knowing that there’s little small things that I’ve been trying to perfect as far as my business and management, it’s all those things kind of started to add up but I’m glad we finally put out Late Nights the album, which dropped last year. It probably wasn’t my favorite or the best release for it but to know that it still went gold from my fans and people that have been rocking with the music.
You also got a Grammy nom, which was cool.
Oh yeah, for “Planez.” Shout-out to J. Cole and Vinylz on the beat for that. To know that it wasn’t my biggest record, after “Birthday Sex” and “Down On Me,” just to see that we got nominated for that, we definitely took it. I’m looking forward to just keep hitting folks with more music and hell of collaborations coming up. Hopefully, next time it will be more than a nomination.
XXL is a big fan of you and your talent. You’ve had quite a few top 10 singles and to just get a Grammy nomination. Do you feel like you get your just due?
At the end of the day, I know the people got my back as much as people always say [things]. How long can a person be underrated? Because I see it every day when people ask me like, “Yo this and that.” But, somebody has to be waiting for me to say that I’m underrated. I definitely feel like there’s a lot that I can’t wait to let people see and know about me because you’re talking to a person that ain’t -- even with a Grammy nomination, platinum singles and a gold album -- I haven’t done a video at all. So, that’s a big piece to why people probably haven’t been as recognizable to me or feel [a way] in a sense of if they want to rock with me or not.
At the end of the day, I feel like there’s a lot more that I have to do, starting with people saying my name right. That kind of threw me off from day one, when people want to still call me Jeremiah but say they [my] biggest fans. It’s a lot of disconnects that I feel over the next couple months -- a few things I need to do for myself. I know with this album, Later That Night, I feel like it will really solidify... if you could compare me to anybody out or think they’re your favorite, then I think you might have second thoughts.
Later That Night will complete the Late Night series. Can we expect Later That Night soon?
Yeah, I won’t speak too much on it but I’m definitely 90 percent done with what I feel like if I needed to put out anything, then I got what will definitely put a staple on the state of R&B. I’m a fan of a lot of R&B out right now but overall musically, whether it’s production or lyrically, I could definitely give whoever is someone’s favorite [some competition]. I didn’t bust out my Chris Breezy dance moves yet [laughs]. But, other than that I want to just hit people musically and let them get to hear what I’ve been vibing to.
Earlier in the year, you said that you wrote songs for Kanye West to possibly go on TLOP and if he didn’t use them, you would. Is it possible that we can get a Jeremih and Kanye collab soon on Later That Night?
That’s very possible. Funny you say that, but it’s very possible. A lot of those records at the time that I was writing, he was calling it Swish or something like that. This was before the whole title change and all that. There’s definitely songs that are still sitting there but I believe the records that I want Kanye to get on of mines will be a whole different set of records that I had on my mind for Later That Night.
There are a lot of songs that are out there and people don’t really know you had a part in them. One that we always think of is “Amen” with Meek Mill and Drake. What are some songs you feel are huge and people don’t know you were a part of?
Definitely like [Dreezy's] “Body,” [Rae Sremmurd's] “Throw Sum Mo” and “Show Me,” before Chris actually got on it with Kid Ink. Those are three to name a few but at the end of the day, I’m all about making plays. I had a song on my album called “Feel Like Phil” and a lot of people didn’t really know what Phil I was talking about -- Phil Jackson -- growing up watching him coach the Chicago Bulls. I just feel like once you run a play and you got people around that can help you make the plays, then you win. You get the ring.
“Throw Sum Mo” was definitely one of my favorite records. My friend was on it before Nicki got on it. She was also the lead on the intro of "Planez." Her name is Selena, shout-out to Selena but she was on there and that was a record that I definitely could have kept for myself, even just watching it going No. 1. But when I think about the bigger picture, I definitely saw Rae Sremmurd, the young group who now have made a name for themselves killin’ it with Nicki on it -- we actually tried to get Rihanna on it but Nicki got on it eventually. You get to see the seeds and just watch it grow. That’s exactly what happened with that song. There are a few of them that I felt that way about.
So now we’re approaching your last album on Def Jam. What’s your next move? Are you thinking about going indie?
Just getting to it however I can get it.
You’re quietly always working on things. Are there any additional projects you’re working on? Outside of music.
Yeah, I’ve been getting into it with some movies. Just taking time to see what else there is. I feel like music is just a platform and foundation just to be able to explore and see what’s outside of it. There’s endless possibilities that I’m just looking forward to. Like I said, I want to set up the end of the year to make it a positive 2017. I’m going to just shoot for that.
You and 50 Cent are really cool. Have you thought about jumping on board of 50 Cent’s shows?
Yeah, that’s my dog. If anybody, he has always been around and just held me down. Just knowing that he’s got a couple new series and projects coming up, I’m just looking forward to just being around and getting in where I fit in. Shout-out to 50 for always holding it down and always believing when everybody didn’t. Just to be around and just be cool with him -- figures like him, Puff and Khaled; I always listen when they speak. Just be looking forward to that. You might see ya boy on the screen real soon.
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