Jeremy Keys | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN
Checking In With… Jeremy Keys of Hardwork Movement
In times of crisis, it’s more important than ever to check in on your friends and loved ones. Here at XPN, we’re Checking In With our extended musical family to see how they’re holding up during the Coronavirus quarantine…and what music has kept them grounded. Today, John Vettese chats with Jeremy Keys of Hardwork Movement.
Jeremy Keys is hook-singer with the golden voice in Philly hip-hop crew Hardwork Movement, whose most recent project was the Playing With Fire EP in 2018. At the top of this month, HWM released the loosie track “AWNC” while Keys released his first solo single “Need Your Love (Dilla Jawn)” last week. The band is slated to play the 2020 Roots Picnic, which as of this writing is still on, but with concerts and festivals dropping in the tide of the Coronavirus quarantine, it’s uncertain what the future there holds.
Keys remains positive, though, and says that in lieu of Hardwork’s Tuesday night band practices, they’ve switched gears to do a virtual skill share meetup while self-isolating; one week, a member of the band might talk about marketing and promo, while another week somebody might talk about chord progressions in songwriting. “It’s a nice way for us to stay connected but also encourage each other to keep creating. I know keeping in touch with them and other artists around the city [has] prompted me to do a little bit more writing and find ways to put myself out there.”
Below, listen to Jeremy’s full Checking In chat with John Vettese, and peruse his music picks.
Favorite Song of All Time: “Jesus Children of America” by Stevie Wonder
“Innervisions is my fav Stevie Wonder album, [and this] such a complex song. It’s really emotional at times too, and the lyricism is absolutely beautiful. It’s a message that still kind of applies today, but is something that feels so nostalgic to me.”
Song that Raises Your Spirits: “Change” by (Sandy) Alex G
“My sister always tells me that whenever she’s going through something, she always hated how she’s encouraged to listen to uplifting music. Instead, she loves listening to things that were a little more somber, and let her wallow in it. I feel like you have to experience a full range of emotions. Allowing yourself to experience a little bit of sadness will help you to get to a little bit of happiness. I really am drawn towards moments like this songs that do have low-key somber tones, but also reflect simpler times and are very nostalgic. Sandy Alex G’s ‘Change’ is one of my favorite songs of all time, and it reminds me of simpler times, and speaks to experiences we all have, but also can be interpreted in more of a somber way, and it’s a nice between for me.”
Song You’re Most Proud of Working On: “Becca’s Jam” by Hardwork Movement
“This was originally written by our trumpet player / lyricist / keyboard allstar Becca Graham. The way this song came together was so seamless fo us and it was something we all immediately connected to. I love the way the MCs link up on this track, I love the way Dani and I connect on the hook. It’s such a beautiful moment in the evolution of our group, and stretched us to become what we’re becoming now.”