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Jeremy Felton (born July 17, 1987), better known by the stage name and mononym Jeremih (/ˈdʒɛrᵻmaɪ/), is an American singer, songwriter, rapper and record producer from Chicago, Illinois. In 2009, he signed a record deal with Def Jam Recordings. Jeremih's commercial debut single, "Birthday Sex", peaked at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. His self-titled debut album reached number six on the US Billboard 200 chart. Jeremih's success continued with the release of his second album, All About You, led by the single "Down on Me", which also reached the top five of the Billboard Hot 100. In 2014, his single "Don't Tell 'Em" became his third top-ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100. After multiple delays, Jeremih released his third studio album, Late Nights in 2015. He announced that he's doing a joint album with PartyNextDoor called Late Night Party. He's also currently working on his fourth studio album, Later That Night.
Born into a musical family in Chicago, Illinois, Jeremih began playing instruments at the age of three and is a self-taught musician being able to play the saxophone, bass drum, cymbals, quads, several percussion instruments and piano in addition to his vocal talent. He learned to play instruments by ear without being able to read notes or having any sort of classical training. Jeremih attended Morgan Park High School, where he was part of the marching band as well as a Latin jazz band, where he learned to play percussion instruments like congas and timbales. In addition to being a self-taught musician, Felton was a good student and earned academic honors at Morgan Park High School. His strong overachieving academic performance enabled him to skip his senior year and graduate from high school a year early. He credits his parents for imbuing on him the importance of education and for the academic pressure that pushed him to overachieve academically, and that a solid educational background would eventually allow him to find decent employment if his music career didn't come to fruition. He graduated at the age of 16 and enrolled in the University of Illinois' engineering science program at his mother's suggestion as a safe career choice. After spending a semester at the university studying engineering science, he wanted to change his education to something more true to his musical passions. He transferred to Columbia College Chicago art school in 2007 to pursue a degree in music business. Having graduated from high school at an early age, he said in an interview that he found himself "getting in a lot of trouble" while attending the college. He eventually plans on returning to college to earn his engineering degree as well as becoming a youth advocate for higher education. After performing a tribute for Ray Charles at one of the campus's talent shows, he received positive feedback and realized his vocal ability, saying that the "music was just taking over".
2009–11: Jeremih and All About You
While attending Columbia College Chicago, Jeremih collaborated with record producer Mick Schultz. Together, they recorded a song entitled "My Ride". Jeremih received guidance from his cousin Day26 group member, Willie Taylor. In February 2009, Jeremih met with Def Jam CEO Russell Simmons and executive vice president of A&R Karen Kwak. After performing for the two, Jeremih signed a recording contract with Def Jam that same day. In early 2009, Jeremih's debut single, "Birthday Sex", peaked at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. His eponymous debut album, Jeremih, was released in June 2009 under Def Jam; it debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 and sold 59,000 copies in its first week. In promotion of the album, Jeremih took part in America's Most Wanted Tour, alongside Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy and Soulja Boy Tell 'Em. The second single, "Imma Star (Everywhere We Are)", has peaked at number 51 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In August 2009, Jeremih was selected by Ron Huberman and Mayor Richard Daley of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to campaign children to return to school. Community activists protested and demanded CPS to undo their decision, claiming that Jeremih's music was "not appropriate for students" and "promotes teen sex". Huberman argued that "school officials would be naive to pretend students don't listen to Felton's music already". Daley also argued that recording artists have the freedom of speech, noting that Jeremih was "a young man, [with a] back-to-school message, a young man who has had great success recording, producer, going to school, went to public school". In September 2009, Jeremih performed on ABC Daytime's soap opera One Life to Live, alongside recording artist Lionel Richie. The two performed "Just Go", a song from Richie's album with the same title.
On June 1, 2010 Jeremih released the first single from his second studio album All About You titled "I Like" featuring Ludacris. The single was released for digital download on iTunes. "Down on Me" featuring rapper 50 Cent was the second confirmed single from the album. "Down on Me" charted the No. 1 position for 8 weeks total on Rhythmic Billboard Chart. A video was shot in 3D for this but it has been confirmed that it's not the official music video, which has since been shot and released on December 17, 2010. All About You was released on September 28, 2010. The following year, Jeremih and Rick Ross were featured in a song by Wale titled "That Way" from the compilation albumSelf Made Vol. 1.
2012–15: Late Nights
In December 2011, Jeremih confirmed he had been working on his third studio album which was originally titled Thumpy Johnson. He announced plans from a summer 2012 release under Def Jam. However, the album was not released. Instead, Jeremih released his first mixtape titled "Late Nights with Jeremih" on August 7, 2012 which received relatively good reviews. In October 2012, Jeremih confirmed that he was still working on his third studio album and that it would be released in early 2013. He also stated that 50 Cent, T.I., Busta Rhymes and French Montana would be featured on the album. Jeremih also mentioned the possibility of working with Diddy. He also expressed interest to work with Alicia Keys, Missy Elliott or Adele.
"All the Time" is a song which originally appeared on his mixtape "Late Nights with Jeremih" but was re-released with an additional verse by rapper Lil Wayne as a single. The song was released on April 16, 2013 for a digital download. "Let Loose" featuring The Game was released for download in May 2013. On December 19, 2013 a promo video surfaced announcing a collaborative EP from Jeremih with electronic producer Shlohmo set to be released in February 2014, under Wedidit and Young Money Entertainment. Both artists have previously worked together in a track titled "Bo Deep (Do U Right)" which was part of Yours Truly and Adidas originals, "Songs from Scratch Series." On July 17, 2014, Jeremih formally released his collaborative EP "No More" with Shlohmo through his Twitter account.
The first single off Jeremih's third studio album (retitled "Late Nights") "Don't Tell 'Em" featuring YG was released on June 6, 2014. The second single, "Planes" featuring J. Cole was released on January 22, 2015. The first promotional single "Tonight Belongs to U!" featuring Flo Rida was released on April 21, 2015. The third single, "Oui" was released on October 30, 2015. The second promotional single, "Royalty" featuring Big Sean and Future was released October 29, 2015. The third promotional single "Peace Sign" featuring Fabolous and Red Cafe was released November 18, 2015. The fourth single, "Pass Dat" was released December 1, 2015. On December 4, Jeremih finally released the album to critical acclaim. To promote the album, Jeremih embarked on his "Late Nights Uncut Tour".
2016–present: Later That Night
On February 7, 2016, Jeremih revealed his fourth studio album will be called, Later That Night in an interview with Billboard. Aside from his own work, Jeremih has recently been working alongside Kanye West and Nicki Minaj, both whom he revealed he has been writing for. He was unsure about whether anything he has done with West will end up on his eighth studio album, The Life of Pablo.
Jeremih cited Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and R. Kelly as his biggest influences. He described their music as "timeless", calling them "true musician-artists". With the release of his debut album, Andy Kellman of Allmusic compared Jeremih's vocals to Slim of 112 and Raphael Saadiq, noting that his "charmingly sly voice...is hard to not like". In contrast, Ken Capobianco of The Boston Globe felt that Jeremih's voice was "thin", showing "little range". Jody Rosen expressed that Jeremih "has a way with tunes and hooks". He received comparisons to The-Dream, R. Kelly and Stevie Wonder.
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