It’s not every day that I get an email from Berlin, but I did get one regarding…
…an artist I had yet to discover by the name of Jeremy Mage
Photo by Bill Bernstein
Okay so he’s not actually living in Berlin, but his PR rep does! However, Jeremy is a singer-songwriter who spends his time between New York City and Switzerland.
What strikes me about Jeremy is how he’s a modern, classical singer-songwriter which makes him somewhat of an anomaly if you ask me. My favorite things in the world are those that are unique, so naturally I added Jeremy Mage’s music to my list.
How about a sample? Take a listen to “Waste This Year”:
Don’t you just love the shoes?! I know I do! HAHA
As you can tell there he’s going by “Jeremy Mage & The Magi” which to me seems like an ode to “Florence + The Machine”. We all get by with a little help from our friends 😉
Jeremy was kind enough to answer some questions for us, so here we go:
Illustration by priskawengerillustration.com
1) When did you first find yourself interested in music?
“I remember belting the chorus from “Man of La Mancha” at the top of my lungs while swinging dangerously high on a swingset. That was thrilling. I only knew the first six words, so I just kept singing, ‘I’m the man of La Mancha, da da, dada da da, da daaa, da da da da da daaaaaaa.’ I was a very popular child.”
2) How long have you been pursuing a career in music?
“A long time. It happened accidentally. I was living in Oakland. I was in a band since high school that broke up. My girlfriend broke up with me at the same time and moved to Mexico, so I was adrift. I wandered into a jazz jam session at a place called The Bird Kage. The pianist had been fired minutes earlier in a huge flare up with the bandleader, trumpeter Robert Porter, a former Black Panther. Legend had it that Porter’s hunched right shoulder was from a brutal police attack on the Panthers, but maybe he was just old. I sat down at the piano. It went ok. He told me to come back every week. Four hours on Sunday for $40 and a beer. From there things snowballed into a career as a sideman. But along the way I met mentors who helped me take my songwriting seriously, to put constant time into it. And that changed everything.”
Sometimes a beer is part of your paycheck…right place at the right time 🙂
3) What is your hometown?
“New Paltz, New York. A college town in the Schwangunk mountains. Very funky place. There was an incredible music scene, a fecund mashup of hippy and punk.”
4) Were you ever in any bands?
“Many. My first bands were punk bands. We were listening to the Residents and the Butthole Surfers, which were fun models for early instrumentalists. Attempts at originality were a higher priority than knowing your instrument. Not that those bands weren’t good musicians. They were. But we weren’t, and we could still do stuff that grew into that world. In college, I had a band called Maya, that broke my heart as mentioned earlier. Much more recently, I was the musical director for the Easy Star All Stars (who did Dub Side of the Moon and Radiodread), and played piano with the amazing soul jazz artist Lizz Wright. And I’m a musical director and producer for Nigerian super hero Wunmi (wunmi.com).”
5) What do you wish to accomplish with your music?
“It’s a wonderful feeling to go into a room somewhere in the world, and play for a group of strangers, and together create an intimate, participatory space. It doesn’t happen every show, but when it does, it’s sublime.”
6) How would you describe your sound?
“I’d rather you describe it, and just leave me to play it. I started calling it ‘Psychedelic Singer Songwriter’, but my mom was like, ‘what does that mean? What does psychedelic mean in that context? No, seriously, I’m asking.’ So I give up. Your turn, Music Row Girl!”
Kick-Ass singer-songwriter. That’s a new genre I’m imposing on you, Mr. Mage 😀
I encourage you to give Jeremy’s full album a listen:
Congratulations Jeremy on your music career & cheers to an amazing 2015!
Photo by Bernd Schumacher