By Taylor Linzinmeir, Staff Writer
Photo by Harley Wince, Visual Media Director
Q&A with Athens-based R&B artist Jeremiah Hayes at ACRN Prom 2020.
Tell me about where you’re from.
JEREMIAH HAYES: I’m from Columbus and moved here [Athens] about two years ago to study music at Hocking [College] and then eventually transfer over to OU. But I took a semester off of classes to try to pursue music full-time, and it ended up working out so well that I’ve been doing that for a little over a year now.
Why did you transfer?
HAYES: I didn’t actually transfer, which ended up being the best decision because all the time I have now to allocate over to working on music/performing has allowed me to really grow as a performer and artist. It actually all kinda happened on a whim. I took a gap year after high school and was really lost about what to do with my life. And then one impulse decision led to another; I ended up taking semester classes in 2018.
What prompted you to make that impulse decision to pursue music?
HAYES: I’m a firm believer in making the most out of new experiences, and once I come across a new idea or challenge, ever so rarely do I find myself not jumping headfirst into it. It’s pretty much how I’ve gone about most things for the most part of my life—a sort of leap of faith type deal.
Were you ever afraid that wouldn’t work out?
HAYES: The thought of failure never really crossed my mind, especially once I was 100 percent set on making music. I’ve always been a creator since I was a kid, whether it be music, art, videography or making my own clothes. I’ve just always loved creating things, especially in innovative ways, so it’s always been about which avenue to take, as opposed to what avenue to take. In the long run, I want to touch base on as many creative endeavors as possible, and I think that goal has definitely given me a lot more drive when performing/creating these songs.
You obviously have an intense need to create. What attracts you to the creative process?
HAYES: Well, I fell in love with writing stories/movie scripts and poetry when I was super young, and I kinda fell in love with the idea of being able to create something that’s never existed to anyone else in the world or being able to bring ideas to real life that—up until that point—only existed in my own little fantasy world. I sometimes think if we think too much about some of the decisions we make, the more reasons we give ourselves to diminish or undervalue the importance of what goals these decisions could potentially lead us to.
I think that’s fair. So, let’s talk about your music a little more specifically. How would you describe your sound?
HAYES: I would describe it as sonically pleasing, flowery melodies with a splash of spaceships and mild depression topped off with a stupid amount of synths. It definitely derives from a mix of R&B, pop, alternative and a whole lotta’ Britney Spears.
I know you’re a part of the DIY scene; how does that compare to playing shows at venues like the Union? Which is better?
HAYES: They’re both such different atmospheres, honestly, and I appreciate both for the unique experiences that they provide. The first show (and most shows) I’ve ever had was at the Union, so that place will always be pretty special to me. Being able to be on stage in front of all different types of demographics and see them lock their attention into the experience I’m trying to create through my performance can be pretty surreal at times. Plus, there’s just so much more I’m capable of doing theatrically with props, lighting, visuals. But one thing that the DIY shows have that I can’t really get at the Union is the intimacy and connection you feel from being able to perform, sometimes not even two feet away from the crowd. It’s kind of a safe space for people to be as weird and as awkward as they truly are, and those are the kind of environments I feel like I thrive in the most—when everyone’s being the most unadulterated versions of themselves.
What’s next for you?
HAYES: Next, I wanna release some sort of cohesive project—whether that be visual or audio—just because I feel like that’s one major thing that’s been really stopping me from taking that next step to grow toward what I believe I can be as an artist.
Do you have any advice for other artists who are just starting out?
HAYES: I’d say that everyone’s pace isn’t the same. You shouldn’t be discouraged by someone else reaching success at a faster rate than you or let someone else’s journey define yours, because at the end of the day, if you truly believe in yourself and what you do and really put in the hours to be great, it shouldn’t matter what anybody else is doing. Like, some artists have made their best album when they’re 21, and some have when they’re 35. Everyone’s pace is different.
Listen to Jeremiah Hayes’ single “Intergalactic Remedy” here: