R&B star Jeremih is so busy he can’t keep up with his own schedule. The Chicago singer-songwriter wasn’t even aware of his upcoming gig at Marquee on February 16. “I think I already did that, right?” he says over the phone while awaiting a flight to Europe. To his credit, he did perform at the dayclub in January, but he’s back to kick off Fashion Week for Marquee Mondays. “Probably. My bad. I don’t really know.” That’s what happens when you drop one of the hottest bangers of 2014. “Don’t Tell ’Em” was infectious—and still is, as evidenced by the just-released remix with Ty Dolla Sign and French Montana. He also dropped a surprise smash with No More, his six-track EP with electronic beatsmith Shlohmo. And he’s already on a roll in 2015 with his steamy mile-high-club invitation “Planes,” featuring J. Cole. We caught up with the “Birthday Sex” crooner to talk about his highly anticipated Late Nights LP, penning hits for others and getting “clatchet” in Las Vegas.
Late Nights has been delayed a couple of times. Is there a release date yet?
It’ll be out sooner than everybody thinks. I just have to turn it in. A lot of people like to think that my label’s been shelving me or trying to push me back, but truth be told, I’ve just been doing so much—not only working on my music but with so many other people and their projects, which is what I enjoy doing the most. I’m looking forward to dropping [Late Nights] in the next two or three months. It’s an album for the year, and a good-ass album for the summer for everybody to ride to.
What should we expect from it?
Picture a big-ass king bed in the middle of Marquee in Vegas at 3 a.m. That’s exactly what you should hear on Late Nights.
You’ve written hit singles for other artists. Why not put them out yourself?
I’m in coach mode now. If anybody is paying attention to why I’m winning, it’s because now I’m coaching, and the plays I make win ultimately. … A lot of the songs that didn’t make the album I ended up giving to someone else that I felt would be a better fit. “The Body (Like a Benz)” was on my album at first, but I gave it to Wale and he used it as his single. That new Rae Sremmurd record, “Throw Sum Mo” with Nicki Minaj and Young Thug, that was on my album as well. I played it for Mike Will Made It and he said, “Yo, blood, I got this group; they’ll kill this.” Now here I am in the truck on my way to the airport and I just heard it on the radio.
You know how to play a variety of instruments. Do you ever apply that to your music?
I’m leaning more toward implementing those into my performance, because I’ve never showed that side of myself to people. As far as on Late Nights, expect to hear a live sound on some of the records. Of course, I’m not done learning all the instruments that I want to learn. I want to learn how to play the violin. If I broke the violin out in the middle of my set, I think it would shock a lot of people.
Speaking of performances, do you prefer concert settings or rocking the clubs?
Crazily, I haven’t been on an official tour. For the most part I’ve really just been clubbing. At the club dates it’s just more turnt up, more 808s, more me and the DJ vibing with the crowd. I tend to like those a little more, because I love the club and I love to keep hitting people with the hits.
You’ve called your music “clatchet.” What is that?
Clachet is “classy” and “ratchet.” If I could describe my music as a woman, I’d describe her as a lady in the streets and a freak in the sheets.
How clatchet will your Marquee party be?
I want 100 percent clatchet.
Your first big hit was “Birthday Sex.” How many children do you think have been conceived to that song?
I kid you not, everywhere I go all across the world I witness people naming their child after me. I guess it’s not a bad thing. It’s a great thing for me to be able to say I helped populate the world.