Local pop star Jeremy Loops continues to take the local music space by storm and his new single ‘Til I Found You’ is a testament to the star’s determination to stand out from the crowd while releasing music that relates to audiences far and wide.
As he continues working on his upcoming studio album, which features music he wrote with pop superstar Ed Sheeran, Jeremy opens up about his powerful new single and how he pushed himself creatively in both the writing process as well as in the track’s official music video – his first as a director as well.
Talk to us a little bit about the lyrical content of ‘Til I Found You’.
The instrumentation disguises it but the lyric content here is actually dark. “Steam train souls from the city, we loan our bones to the grave” are the opening words. Ha. “Beware the wolves and snakes wrapped up tight beneath the shade of a lonely one whose on the way out who has no name.” It’s heavy. And it’s this picture of this journey filled with death and darkness and despair in search of light and levity, joy and fulfillment.
And even though you’re seeing this – you being the character whose eyes this song unfolds in front of – it acts like a mirror too. Like, this is your life! Or, this could be your life! But you don’t have to live it – you have to wade through that darkness to find your true self and to find meaning and joy. So, in a sense, it’s about doing the work, the crap work, the dog work of getting past the worst of ourselves to find the best in ourselves for a meaningful life and existence that can radiate that same energy onto other people.
The words on the surface are a love song, sure, but it’s an ode to loving yourself first and finding yourself worthy of loving, in order to be that person for other people.
Why do you think people who hear the song will connect to this particular message?
I think people will connect because the message is universal. If you only hear it at the surface, “I won’t stop ‘Til I Found You”, then it’s a love song about pursuing that person or that thing you should be with.
But if you dig deeper, it’s a song about finding the person you are meant to be, where the word ‘finding’ is just really a euphemism for the hard work you must do to become your true self. The hard work you must do to become your best self.
The music video is beautiful – and it just hit one million views on YouTube! Walk us through the concept of this video.
Okay, so earlier I obviously mention this duality of wading through darkness to find light. Working through horror to find joy. The music does the same thing, in a sense. The verses are down beat, but the chorus explodes with sunshine.
So for the video I had this idea of showing a character move through spaces searching for who they’re looking for, which is why movement through walking or riding my bike in the verses is big, but then there’s this temporary explosion of joy in place, hence the dancing sequences in the chorus.
I think that’s life. On a day to day, we’re just trying to move forward, and the song is calling us to do so with intention. However, every so often – as evidenced by the chorus and the dancing – we find nirvana. Just this bliss we can live in and exist in. That duality was so important to me to capture.
And setting the video in familiar Cape Town places with all the rapid cuts you see anchored this concept for me. These are places my neighbours know. Places they’ve been. And this is work we have to do every day. The setting it’s done in and the phases of your life are both environments and characters in this process.
This is the first video you have directed yourself. What made you want to take on this role?
“Want to take on this role” is a huge misunderstanding. Haha. We had tons of great directors pitch cool concepts for this, but I just had this idea that would not go away. Initially, I actually tried seeding the idea with one or two of the directors who were pitching, but I quickly realised we’d probably end up making a Frankenstein monster out of it. I know this sounds ridiculous, but it kept me up at night.
Eventually, I just told my team I’m doing it myself. I called my friend Ross Hillier, who’s a great filmmaker in his own right, and asked him if he’d be happy to be the Director of Photography and help me bring this thing to life. And so we did.
Listen, I’ve done some challenging things in my life. I hustled through an honours business degree which was ridiculous. I’ve been stuck in a foreign country with my passport revoked, I’ve sailed the Arabian sea and had first hand encounters with Somali Pirates and nearly been held captive at sea. And I can tell you with confidence that, in the moment, directing this video was as difficult, challenging, and stressful as my recollection of all those other things. I know it sounds ridiculous, and maybe recency bias makes me see things that way, but it was hardcore. I’ve got crazy respect for directors off the back of this. Truly.
You mention this task has really pushed you creatively. Tell us more about the experience.
When you do something for the first time, you have no idea just how much goes into it. So juggling crew, working choreography, reviewing footage, casting, location scouting, doing take after take, it begins to take its toll.
Experienced directors know it comes with the game, but you just don’t know what you don’t know. And I learned the hard way on a high stakes video at a really important time in my career.
We all need to be challenged, so I won’t take the experience back for anything, but it just reminded me of the importance of doing hard things for the first time. I don’t mean to make this sound like I was off at war or anything like that truly pushes human resolve beyond our limits, but we’re idle people. Comfort is nice. But comfort is dangerous. This video and hell, this whole year, showed me that.
Now that we’ve entered a new year, what can fans expect from you in the months to come?
We’re hyper focused on promoting this song and this video. I think it’s a big deal. Oh, and I have an album to finish. We’re deep, deep in album mode. It won’t surface ‘til late 2021, but that’s a major focus for me.