Jeremy Zucker, a widely known indie pop artist from New Jersey, exploded onto Aotearoa shores for one night only on the eve of October 5. Playing a sold-out show at Auckland’s iconic Tuning Fork, Jeremy cemented his place in their historic list of performers, including Billie Eilish, who was the headliner in this intimate venue in 2017.
While Jeremy first released tunes back in 2015 with his EP Beach Island, it was his 2017 track ‘comethru’, featured on EP Summer, that really catapulted him into the pop spotlight. Like many young artists, Jeremy’s primary focus in the essence of his songwriting is often relationships – whether good or bad, platonic or romantic, or everything in between, Jeremy has a way of bringing people together with his melodic voice, and this was very clear last night. The atmosphere of the space felt like a warm hug and soft summer sunrises, with the crowd – primarily full of young people and couples – jostling for space under the lights. A master of creating worlds within relatable raw narratives, Jeremy knows how to draw the emotional connection of audiences with ease. His recent album CRUSHER can be perceived as both an arrow straight to the listener’s heart and a space in which to feel seen with his open subject matters.
On arrival in NZ yesterday, Jeremy was presented by our team with a framed award at our headquarters, proclaiming his success in achieving over 35 million amassed streams across the country. With a track record like this, it’s not hard to see why the show sold out in a matter of weeks, and it’s just yet another demonstration of Jeremy’s stardom being on a monumental upward streak as of recently.
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Adam Melchor, the opener for the night, did nothing less than impress to the maximum with his far too brief, yet romantic, set. An up and comer in his own right, he’s supported Jeremy on both the Australian and New Zealand leg of “MORE NOISE”, bringing his heartfelt, passionate acoustic tracks and his guitar. Serenading the audiences with songs such as the intimate ‘I Choose You’, the metaphorical, enamouring ‘Real Estate’ and the melancholic hit ‘Cry’- a pop ballad about anxiety and how overwhelming it can feel to share your feelings with the people you love – Adam set the stage for Jeremy in a way nobody else could, his energy providing a perfect precursor for our main act.
For almost an hour and a half (including an ecstatically received encore that had fans dancing and screaming for more) Jeremy bought his best known works, and some unreleased tracks, giving the audience everything they would ask for in a show.
Opening with “still”, the crowd launched into yelling the lyrics within seconds, having waited – some impatiently – for his arrival on stage. A seamless transition into ‘we’re f**ked, it’s fine’ and the recent banger hit ‘Therapist,’ was followed by ‘all the kids are depressed.’ That last one is up for interpretation lyrics wise according to Jeremy, but it’s definitely a relatable track considering what young people have endured in the last couple of years. Even in the quieter moments, people were jiving, recording and singing along to every lyric. ‘All the kids are depressed‘ also shows Jeremy’s more vulnerable side, exploring the issue of mental health head on. In a recent interview, he explained the track as wanting to address depression in youth in an upfront way, rather than skirting around the issue. It’s become an anthem, one that fosters a sense of community and being recognised in a sometimes turbulent world.
Continuing with ‘I-70’, ‘always I’ll care’ and ‘better off’, the warmth in the room was palpable, with Jeremy making quips before launching into his next track. Uproar spread through the room as he announced the performance of ‘I’m So Happy’, his recent collaboration with BENEE. The perfect place for this song to make an appearance, the audience sang every word back at him as they reveled in the lyrics. “Why paradise feels so right without you / my universe kinda works, it’s true.” These two artists might be in paradise, but hearing it in person just proves this match is made in songwriting heaven.
“Not ur friend”, a revenge-driven, relatable track, described by Jeremy as yet another screw-you song, produced some of the loudest moments of the night, with cheers going through the venue with every word. “Full stop” and “Julia” switched the mood quickly, reinvigorating the soft vibes that encompassed so much of the evening.
The second half of the set predominantly consisted of Jeremy’s more well known songs, with ‘comethru’, ‘cry with you’, ‘18’, ‘you were good to me’, ‘this is how you fall in love’ and ‘Supercuts’ being prominent highlights. They’re all danceable tracks with similar messages, romance of some kind against a baseline of different scenarios, and fans ate up every line. While 18 is from CRUSHER, many attendees questioned loudly where Chelsea was during ‘you were good to me’s opening. They mean Chelsea Cutler, Jeremy’s frequent co-writer and performer who has been on many of his most successful songs, and who he’s released two EPs with – 2019’s brent and 2021’s follow up, brent ii. Even without Chelsea present, the singing more than made up for any perceived absence. The treat of unreleased tracks ‘internet crush’ – a warm, reflective piece on the heartache of loving from afar, and knowing someone is your person despite distance, left many eyes teary and wistful, and was a beautiful addition to the night. A similar new song, ‘Cindy, I promise’ once again showcased his contemplative, picturesque approach to love in his songwriting, providing one of many sweet, heartfelt moments for all the young couples in the audience.
With every moment passing, it became clearer why Jeremy is such a well-loved artist here in NZ. Whether that’s his charismatic and relatable subject matters, his bubbly personality, energetic and powerful stage presence, or a combination of all the above. Closing his encore with the hit ‘talk is overrated’, we agree that talking sometimes is, but one thing is for sure: Jeremy Zucker will never be, and it’s only upwards for this star from here.