Introducing Ali Barker and the Bug Squad!

You may never slap a mosquito the same way again, thanks to Ali Barker.

At least that’s what occurred to me when I entered the playful and creative world of Ali Barker’s Bug Squad, a cartoon of humanized, and frankly adorable, insects.

Continue reading “Introducing Ali Barker and the Bug Squad!”

Jeremiah1x! our Spotlight Artist

Welcome one and all to The Summer Street Library blog! And a very special welcome to Jeremiah1x, our first spotlight artist!

 

One of the missions of The Summer Street Library blog is to showcase young, upcoming, and underrepresented writers and artists across the globe. With this goal in mind comes our spotlight artist articles and interviews which focus on celebrating one artist (of any kind) and their work. This week, we are proud to introduce Jeremiah1x (also known as Jeremiah McGowan)!

From Albany, New York, solo artist Jeremiah1x (he/him) entered into the world of music at a young age. He first “began making music” at age four when he wondered aloud to his great grandmother about what exactly “she was doing while sitting at the piano.”* Since his great grandmother’s teachings, Jeremiah1x went on to become classically trained in piano and has been producing his own music for seven years. 

Jeremiah1x creates his “own beats, synths, and melodies” and describes his style as a dynamic pop-based fusion “incorporating different rhythms like house or hip-hop.” He identifies his target audience as “everybody who likes pop, trap, and likes to dance” — for my own sake, let’s just hope that enjoying dancing is enough…even without any skill.

Inspiration

As for who inspires his music, Jeremiah1x has never forgotten how he was first introduced to music: his great grandmother. The women in his life have proven to be inspirational throughout his whole life. He also looks to fashion for new ideas, walking the streets, and people-watching. Another key inspiration: the famed rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix (alongside some other psychedelic rockers of Hendrix’s era).

I usually find inspiration in my day to day life, inspiration from people’s fashion that I see. Even talking to people, I can be inspired by their day-to-day or their mindset.

Jeremiah1x’s isn’t only inspired by his family, fashion, and favorite musicians, but A significant number of books and writers inspire him. From Jack Kerouac’s On the Road to Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Jeremiah1x’s bookshelf has always animated his music. He also cites Dickinson as a perpetual muse: “Emily Dickinson’s poems always harbor new inspiration for me.” A keen fan of Shakespeare (especially Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice) and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, Jeremiah1x’s music embodies drama without sacrificing nuance. 

Poetry and Music

When I asked Jeremiah1x more about his artform, I wondered how alike poets and lyrists were — and how various beats, instrumentals, and vocals changed how a piece was received. So many poets (and poetry lovers) say that a poem is meant to be enjoyed aloud — that poetry is meant not only to be read but to be savored in the air. The way a poem is read, especially by its author, permeates its meaning: those subtle pauses, slight tonal shifts, and the way in which breath enters a poem become just as important as any other literary device. Perhaps music belongs in a similar realm. Lyrics and notes on a page exist in a certain way, but only truly live once in the air.

To Jeremiah1x, music is poetry — or at very least, a particular type of poetry set apart by cadence, volume, and sung story. I posed to Jeremiah1x the following question, does the music surrounding or behind the words change their meaning and if so, how? To him, “music itself needs the lyrics to [truly] unfold” — however, that meaning can change from day to day, person to person, ear to ear. Music becomes a conduit for ever-changing, ever-evolving emotion.

Lyric writing is exactly like poetry in a storytelling cadence. I think that even a piano alone can be poetic. Even the image of a lone piano is poetic, to me. Music is auditory art because you can experience the same emotions the artist was feeling writing it.

Writer’s Block

When asked if he ever struggles with writer’s block or creative fatigue, Jeremiah1x had quite the definitive response: “Writer’s block is fake news. It comes from lazy people unwilling to practice their instruments. Creative fatigue however is always a danger. Setting aside daily time to practice your instruments solves both of these problems.” I certainly hope the next time I am feeling stuck, I can proceed with as much gumption! Writing each day keeps the writer’s block away…perhaps…one can certainly hope so!

If you are interested in learning more about Jeremiah1x, be sure to check out his SoundCloud and YouTube channel (and keep your eyes, and ears, peeled for his upcoming single “Fallin'”)! He is also known to live DJ on his Facebook page, a treat you don’t want to miss, so a friending wouldn’t be amiss.

Until next time, I’m signing off. Keep on reading and listening.

~ Sadie

Be on the lookout for more from The Summer Street Library — here all Summer!

 

*all quotations come from The Summer Street Library’s exclusive online interview with Jeremiah1x

 

The Summer Street Library focuses on highlighting young, divergent, and or underrepresented writers and artists with an especial focus on BIPOC, self-published, and unpublished writers. If you are interested in contributing to The Summer Street Library as a spotlight artist, please contact the blog’s founder, Sadie Hofmeester, at thesummerstreetlibrary@gmail.com.