Catch up with singer-songwriter Jerad Finck and listen to the stripped down version of his single "Criminal" off his latest release, Criminal.
What first got you interested in music?
Oh, I don't know, I guess I've played my whole life. My grandparents played a lot of music and they were a touring country act, my other grandpa was in choir, and I played a lot of jazz and trumpet when I was in fourth grade and did that until college, then I got more in songwriting and that kind of stuff.
Do you remember the first song you wrote?
Yes. A lot of it was just listening, I got hooked into The Beatles really bad and then I just started writing a ton of stuff. I'm trying to remember the name of it, I remember we used to play it all the time. I only knew 2 or 3 chords and I think that's kind of how everyone does it, they play the two chords that they know and try to make something out of it [laughs].. "I'm Never Gonna Be"! That was the name of it [laughs].
Which musicians would you say you've been influenced by?
Pretty much, guys that are just really into songwriting. As far as new people that I'm into, I really like Brandon Flowers from The Killers, Ryan Tedder from OneRepublic, The Script, Ed Sheeran, all that kind of stuff. Older stuff, I was really into The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Tom Petty, just pretty much anybody that focused on the songwriting aspect of it.
Which words would you use to describe your sound?
I just try to make upbeat, positive, pop rock. Before music I was a social worked and did a lot of clinical psychology and I did that for almost 8/10 years so, for me, music was always just more of a vessel bringing something positive to someone's life and when you see that touring and you watch someone react to a song and live through it, that's what does it for me. So I guess, to answer your question, just life music [laughs] we're all getting through stuff.
Could you tell us more about your single "Criminal" and why you've decided to release it in its acoustic format now?
The single "Criminal" I wrote with David Hodges and Steven Solomon and they're both pretty massive songwriters, so that alone was a pretty exciting experience for me, just to be in the room with them and do it. We did the song, we did the full production thing - which is my normal kind of pop rock sound - but, in songwriting, especially the way that we do it, the songs originate in some kind of meeting with just a piano or an acoustic guitar and a bunch of guys sitting around, so we wanted to just bring it back to where it was originally, because it has its own little thing that way, it shows off more of the actual song and lyrics when it's stripped down like that than sometimes I think your bigger productions do. I love the bigger production, I just wanted to show people both sides of it, because I thought it was worth listening to.
How does your Criminal EP compare to your debut album and can you tell us a bit more about what we can expect to hear from you next?
I like to think my Criminal EP is lightyears better than my debut record. My debut record, we had a really small deal from an indie label; I wrote all the songs in probably two weeks, we went in and tracked the whole record in 2 or 3 days, and it was just the process that everyone goes through when they're first starting out. Looking back, at the time I was like, 'this is the greatest thing I've ever done!' but looking back now, it's like, wow, it sounds like some fledgling stuff, and it was. This record, I got to the point where I was able to not have to go and kill myself on the road, I got to take some time off and actually work on just constructing what I thought were great songs. I spent the last year playing around between Nashville, New York, and LA with everyone I've met over the years and all the writers and publishers I'm talking to and just really working on getting some solid tracks. We spent over the last year and a half recording this stuff, so I'm really, really happy with this one [Criminal] and, of course, there's a full length that we're going to be releasing in the next couple months. The EP has a few select tracks from there and then we have probably 13 or 14 we're going to put out in a few months.
You've been on tour, do you have a favorite track to perform live?
I really like playing "Blood In The Water". People seem to really react to that one and, for me, when I wrote that one, it was something that I really connected to. That piece was one of the really personal songs on this record for me, that was just what I was going through when I wrote it.
What do you hope your fans and listeners are able to take away from your music?
I just hope they find something for themselves in it. I found something for me in it and that's what it's all about. You put something out there creatively and hopefully you can take something away from it and it resonates with the listeners and the fans; they're the ones that let me keep doing this, so it's pretty inspiring. When I went out on my first tour a week ago with Parachute, it was amazing to go to some of these cities and have people singing Criminal to me already when we just released it, so that was pretty exciting.
Is there anything you'd like to add?
There's just a lot to come, we're just opening the floodgates here. We've been waiting amongst all of this stuff for awhile to do it right and there's just going to be a lot of stuff coming out very soon.