Jeremy Reisig, better known as brotha James, is a one-man band from Elk Rapids.
He’ll do all sorts of things — beatbox, play the guitar, rap, sing — sometimes all in the same song. He’s able to do all that because he often loops his own music tracks.
“Looping is an actual technology," Jeremy explains. "It’s essentially a recording device that you have on stage as a musician that allows you to record several tracks right there in front of an audience, and also layer those tracks on top of one another."
Jeremy started brotha James around 2013. He used his day job selling Cutco knives to help fund his music passion for the first few years. Jeremy says back then, he wasn’t very good at music; nobody would hire him.
In fact, if he wanted any exposure, he’d have to volunteer to play at venues for free. But then three years ago, he quit selling knives to work on his music full-time.
And now, brotha James just raised over $100,000 on Kickstarter to fund his second album.
But people don’t raise $100,000 if they’re not good singers. So what’s changed? Jeremy says he's put in a lot of extra effort.
“The hard work has been put in on the guitar, on my voice doing vocal lessons — hundreds if not thousands and thousands of hours with lots of technology," he explains. "A lot of pushing through the failure has been a big part of putting myself in position to be a quality musician and on my way to being a great musician.”
Jeremy is currently in Austin, Texas working on his second album “Abracadabra” which is set to release in April. He’s also working on a book which coincides with the album release. The book tells the stories of the songs he’s written.
Jeremy says people might think of inspiration more like hyped motivation. But he says it can also come from understanding what reality is.
"So the songs are really just kind of like a summary of what I go through every day, like ... paying attention to the words that I’m using," he explains. "I pay attention to the words I’m using internally and externally ... and so it’s inspiring to think about how our words affect our reality. If we use negative words, we’ll see more negative things in our lives. If we use more positive words, we’ll naturally see more positive things in our lives and feel more inspired.”