It’s always risky to leave a band to go at it alone, but when Jeremiah Daly put aside his group The Perfect Measure in favor of a solo career, it was not just the right time, but a necessary move.
“Switching from my old band, I think I just really lost my passion for what I was doing,” said the Jacksonville, Florida singer-songwriter. “I didn’t feel like when I sang my songs that I meant what I said. I didn’t feel like I was being honest anymore. If you’re going to be a songwriter or be a performer, even if you don’t write your own songs, if you can’t be honest in what you’re doing and can’t really believe what you’re saying when you’re onstage, what’s the point? So I kind of got to that point.”
Which brings us to the fall of 2015, a tour and his first solo album, The Darkness Will Be Over Soon. While prepping for a visit to New York City for a Rockwood Music Hall gig on Monday, Daly is asked whether he’s ready for the world to get a dose of his new music when the album is released on November 13.
“No, not really,” he laughs. “I don’t feel like I am. I’ve never been more prepared to release this record, but I still feel like there’s still so much more I’ve been wanting to do. I’m excited about it though. I don’t think I’ve put as much effort into a record in my life. I’m glad, because it makes me feel like I’m doing something right, I guess.”
Needing to put distance between his past musical life and the present one, Daly knows that the whole process of building an audience is beginning again, and while he certainly has the songwriting and performing chops to ease that process, he’s also hoping that his old fans will be along for this new ride.
“I have a lot of fans that know a lot of my older music that I’ve done over the last six or seven years, and I feel like this record is a lot more me than anything I’ve ever done,” he said. “And it’s also a little bit different, so I’m excited to see how they respond. I hope they like it more, because it feels more me.”
That feel is evident from the opener, “Golden,” and it carries through the rest of the 11 tracks, with some of the personal themes making you feel thankful that for Daly, the darkness will be over soon. Of course he’ll still have to sing about some tough topics every night. But he’s up to it.
“This record is more personal than anything I think I’ve done,” he said. “A lot of these songs I’ve written over the past year, and I’ve already sang most of them on tour, but there are a couple that I haven’t that I’m excited to see how they go. Being on stage is weird for me. When I’m actually performing, if I get inside my head, I can turn a switch on and I’m in the song, and I can turn it off to get out of it. But it starts to overwhelm me a little bit.”
He laughs, but his ability to get into his work and the mindset he had when he wrote those songs is what translates to the stage. And even though he’s without his gang when the lights come on, he’s enjoying the solo life and the particular challenges that come with it, like that drunk guy in the corner playing with his cell phone, or the group out for the night that forgets that there’s music being played for their entertainment.
“This is my fourth solo tour, and I definitely can say that I do like being solo,” Daly said. “It’s easier to control an audience when you’re the only person you have to worry about. (Laughs)
And when I’m on stage, I’m always under the impression that if there’s one person in there that’s actually listening, then what I’m doing isn’t going to waste.”
It’s not, and as people get exposed to The Darkness Will Be Over Soon, he can expect those crowds to get bigger and bigger. Yet no matter who shows up, Daly is in this for the long haul.
“Since I was a kid I’ve been playing music,” he said. “I started on piano in third grade and moved to guitar and I’ve been singing. And when I got to college, I almost felt like I was about to give up on it, so I got my associates degree, and then I quit. There are a lot of things in my life that I think I’m good at, but this is the one thing I think I was meant to do, so if I’m actually going to do it, I can’t half ass it. I gotta go full force. And I think waking up every day and doing it is just like me having hope for that one thing. And whether or not that takes me to a place where I can actually support myself or if I’m just playing in bars in front of people for the rest of my life, as long as there are people listening and believing in what I’m doing, I don’t think I’ll ever really stop.”
Jeremiah Daly plays Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 1) in NYC on Monday, October 26. For more info, click here