Q&A with Jeremy Parsons (2022)


With his latest single “Tickin’” already earning stellar reviews, popular Americana branded roots artist Jeremy Parsons opens his next chapter in a big way. We recently had the awesome opportunity to check in with Jeremy and discuss the new single and its eye-catching music video, more new music that he has coming in the near future, the growth spurt that his longtime fans might hear in comparison to his well-received Things To Come album, navigating the differences between the vibrant Nashville and Texas music scenes, and much much more!

(Interview by: Jeffrey Kurtis)

1) You’ve recently released your newest single “Tickin.” Tell us a little bit about the song.

First off, it's my favorite thing I've ever gotten to release. It has sparked what will be the next chapter of my musical journey. Brought to life by myself during the crazy time we all call the pandemic and the true genius of my buddy, Dustin Martin. We started working on a couple of tracks I had written because we had the time, which quickly evolved into this project. I couldn't be more excited about it all. The breakdown of the track goes like this. We have those moments when we sit down and look where we are. Sometimes followed by that is the thought, "is this where I thought I'd be?" or "is this where I should be in my life?" The pandemic embodied this moment for me. I was lucky enough to be so devoted to my craft and to have that as my clear focus, but it did leave me wondering, "what if I didn't?" I pondered where I would have been mentally and emotionally if not for that. It abundantly clarified how precious our time is and what the focus should be on. I'm lucky to have this creative outlet and found my path in this life. That's all I want for anyone else. I want them to be happy with their choices for themselves and their life. It's a journey for us all; we have the time to take it and should not take it for granted.

2) The song’s already earning fantastic reviews. What do you feel is making it connect in such strong ways with the media and the listeners?

The song reviews and everything have been fantastic to see. When you start writing a song, you look for something that connects us all through human experience. Because we write what we know and want other people to know they're not alone, it's crucial. Wondering if we're putting the time that we have to its utmost potential is something we all do. Whether it's a midlife crisis or just the classic existential breakdown, this is a daily occurrence for some people, especially many creatives I know. Sometimes you get worried that it's not something people are ready to hear and face, but I've been blown away by the reception. It means a lot, and I'm glad it's being listened to the way I hoped it would. It's also a unique production, making it a combination experience where you navigate the music, production, and lyrical context.

3) You’ve enhanced the song with an incredibly eye-catching, animated music video. Tell us how that concept all came together. (See video at end of Q&A)

I'm glad you enjoyed the eye-catching nature of the video. I loved the concept that Nick van Dyk came up with for this one. If you happened to recognize his animation style, he was the same individual that constructed the animated lyric videos for the "Things To Come" and "Something Other Than You Are" singles. The concept came to life when my sister Skylar did the artwork. As soon as I saw that candle character she created, I knew we had our main character. We eventually decided to name the candle Howard, the star the song needed. I fell in love with the thought of that as a metaphor for human existence too. Your candle is burning and will someday burn out; what's your play from there? Once I showed Nick the artwork and told him I thought it would be cool, he came up with all the scenes and moments and finished the video in record time. We had it ready to go before the single even dropped, about 15 days ahead of schedule. I love working with him and plan to do so throughout the rest of this project. It's always fantastic to work with other artists that can connect with the message you're trying to evoke.

4) Is “Tickin’” part of a bigger project you have in the works or is it a stand-along single for the time being? If working on a bigger project, what can fans expect from that, and when can we look for more new music?

"Tickin'" is the leadoff single and the first of three on an EP called 'Life.' That won't be the end of it, either. People can expect a lot more material to follow that. I can't give an exact date when the whole project will be out, but I can confidently say that the next single will be available for all ears sometime early next year. I'm very excited to hear what everyone will think about this next one, especially after the fantastic reception of "Tickin'."

5) In what ways do you feel your longtime fans are going to see your growth as a songwriter when they listen to “Tickin’” and then compare it to your 2021 album Things To Come?

They might pick up on a more direct delivery straight from and to me regarding my songwriting growth and outward toward them. I wrote this when we were communicating through screens and tried our best to connect at a distance. I think that made the delivery blunter from me on most of these songs as if I wasn't going to get the chance to repeat it. That was very new and exciting for me. On top of all that, I believe the thing that will be more immediately ear-catching is the step out of my usual comfort zone as far as production goes. My buddy Dustin Martin took these songs in a direction no one else would've or could've. I love it!

6) Speaking of Things To Come; Congratulations on getting recognized by blues and roots radio with a nomination for album of the year. What does recognitions like those mean to you personally?

Thanks so much! That felt great. I was proud of that record, and it was nice to see it do so much despite coming out at a time when you couldn't get out there on the road and promote it. That being said, many reviewers and everyone were so kind as to give the album props and a little extra attention. That recognition does mean a lot. I never put out a project assuming it would get something like that. I'm more focused on releasing something people can sink into and connect with, making them feel heard and seen. That recognition made me feel like that album accomplished that goal.

7) When we first met you, it was way early on in your career, and you had just released your album Doggondest Feelin’. Back then, you were just starting to navigate the Nashville scene. What ups and downs did you experience while trying to find your footing in Music City?

I call that my pre-beard era, aka baby face era, lol. I found my footing in Nashville quicker than most and stayed longer than expected. When I first went there, I gave myself 6 to 8 months tops and ended up living there for a little over ten years. I got my Grascals cut within the first three months, started working on that first record seven months in, and had it out a little under being there a whole year, and it was a whirlwind from there. The hardest part for me has always been the cutthroat mentally of the industry. I've always loved people, but there are a lot of folks who bounce around the industry that have sold their Humanity for something they no longer even own themselves. It's hard to watch and even be in the same city with, especially as I get older. I'm here to create art; if that's not the goal and focus, I don't want to be a part of it. That being said,  that was the most challenging for me to navigate. Finding a crew of like-minded individuals in it for the same reasons I was. I have encountered very few people like that and have seen even fewer that could stay on the path.

8) Since then, you’ve returned home to Texas and slid into the vibrant scene there and have absolutely thrived. The Texas scene is notoriously tough on artists. Did you carry any of the lessons you learned from pounding the pavement in Nashville into finding your place in Texas?

The Texas scene is way more welcoming than a lot of people see, I think. Especially when you're talking about the crowds and consumers. It can get very cliquish, but that's any industry. I run into many people from out of state who come here to play a lot because they can. There are so many places that it makes more sense to live down here and just tour in the state, occasionally branching out based on fan requests. I would say I do what I did in Nashville for sure. I pretty much bubble myself off in a specific capacity. If I find those like-minded individuals, I will try to connect with them more. I'm looking for someone equally as passionate as I feel I am; those are the folks I want to surround myself with more. Not your usual fame-hungry fake it till you make it inflated ego types. That's a waste of time and energy and not for me. Nashville taught me how to protect myself. Primarily though, I work every day on whatever I can to keep the ball rolling. Whether that be booking shows, writing music, or figuring out new ways to promote in this ever-changing social media-driven society. I get excited about taking on all the new challenges. Lately, putting "Tickin'" out there and trying to find all the ways to reach a new audience has been incredible. 

9) There seems to be a completely different approach between the two scenes. In what ways do you feel Texas is different and maybe more open to accepting new, different music into its scene?

Texas is different because they seem more interested in your original works. They want to hear the songwriter do their thing, which I enjoy. The best feeling is getting to do a show comprised primarily of originals after working the Broadway circuit in downtown Nashville playing a bunch of songs I had never even heard because they weren't my cup of tea. With Tennessee, there are a few other places you can go, like Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga, but the fantastic thing about here is you can find a couple of places to play in every big city and even the connecting towns. They are very open-minded about the sound, too. It's a big state full of people with all sorts of tastes. I'm delighted to be back!

10) What one piece of advice can you offer to someone who is just starting out and trying to break into the music industry?

Opportunity waits for no one! Get out there and get after it. Start booking, playing, traveling, and doing everything you see all the full-time professionals doing. You'll figure out pretty quickly if it's what you're here to do. I've found that if you enjoy it, you're doing the right thing. If you're not waking up each day thrilled to figure out how you will survive and create, you're not doing the right for you. It's going to be challenging at times. You're going to get tired, and you're going to have bad shows. Life, in general, is a roller coaster, but if you can find that thing you're most passionate about, it all feels worth it.



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