By Joanne Rosa
Meet our unofficial in house music maven Jermaine!
Officially, Jermaine is the head of IT at The Wendy Williams Show. He is in charge of every computer, our various file servers, technical support, and essentially describes himself as “the custodian of all our computing and digital life at The Wendy Show.” However, staffers have turned to Jermaine for music recommendations since he began his WWS career in July of 2010.
Jermaine’s love for music music isn’t a hobby; it’s a lifestyle. One of his earliest memories is dancing to Michael Jackson with his mom as a young child. In view of the fact that Jermaine’s mother rarely listened to music that wasn’t Christian or gospel, it was a special moment that made the power music holds apparent. Today, Jermaine’s mother wouldn’t be caught dead dancing like that, let alone listening to Michael Jackson. Jermaine described himself as a latchkey kid. His mom was a hardworking nurse. When he wasn’t gaming, he would ritually listen to the radio. Pop music seemed to act as a solace to Jermaine during those days alone, but he learned post college that music is so much more than the radio’s top 40 songs. Jermaine wasn’t familiar with indie music, but his roommate was privy to that genre. He shared a Coachella DVD (from 2006) with Jermaine, and his mind was blown. “It seemed like every time I spent more time [with that DVD] and dug a little deeper, it was like I was digging up treasure. It was all-new to me… and this was like a whole new world for me to explore. It became my mission to digest… and just understand [this music] and what was going on.” This is what transformed Jermaine’s love of music to what it is today, and ignited the desire to go to Coachella one day.
Fast forward to today, Jermaine will be attending his 11th Coachella festival this year. He first went to Coachella in 2008, and never expected it to transform to what it is today. Coachella started in 1999 and was just a two-day festival that had rock bands as the face of the festival. The following year, there was no Coachella festival. Coachella resurfaced in 2001, but was just one day. A few years ago, EDM music was the genre that held a significant amount of weight at the festival and drove people from all corners of the world to Coachella. Now, Coachella is two weekends long and hip-hop seems to be the primary point of interest. Jermaine predicts that a third weekend or an east coast Coachella will be added within the next decade.
There is something special about the energy at Coachella. Jermaine believes that any music festival is largely defined by its setting. Coachella occurs in the dessert with California vibes woven throughout the event, while Bonnaroo is in the heat of Tennessee dancing with hippies and a mason jar of moonshine. Jermaine believes Coachella has the best music the world has to offer, and it largely has to do with the fact that it’s the first major music festival of the season in America. When it comes to “creature comforts,” Coachella arguably has the most to offer. The grass is lush and green; the food assortment is plentiful and top of the line; the couture coutureis unique yet in tune to the energy Coachella projects; the people come far and wide from all around the globe to experience their favorite artists in the flesh. This year, Beyoncé is the headliner who will presumingly be the showstopper of the festival. The Beyhive will be swarming all day on Saturday, and Jermaine doesn’t necessarily associate with the hive. However, the consensus is that something sensational will happen that night. “The world will be watching that stage when Beyoncé steps on it… I always have to ask myself, ‘Do I want to be second or third when it comes to the world finding stuff out, or do I want to be first?’ That’s the energy that would propel me to camp in front of the stage… I was there for the Tupac hologram!” The spirit of Coachella moves people to experience something that is unlike any other music festival.
Jermaine’s taste in music has significantly expanded since his college days. After asking Jermaine what genres of music he likes, we learned the wiser question to ask was what genres of music he did not like. No shade, but Jermaine isn’t here for contemporary Christian music (CCM), or deep country music. Be that as it may, he digs the space where country and folk music meet. The music Jermaine listens to typically depends on the mood he is in, so he doesn’t have any go-to tunes. “These days, I don’t get to listen to music casually anymore! I’m always listening to music for a reason. A lot of times, I’ll listen to music I don’t want to hear so I can articulate why I don’t like it. That’s important to me. You can’t say you don’t like something if you haven’t really heard it.” If Jermaine isn’t doing this, he’s probably listening to artists he’s read about, heard through the grapevine, or have been mention on The Wendy Show. The rest of the time, music is there to serve Jermaine in one of two ways. “I need music that is going to either erase, or bring out whatever that music is designed to bring.” Out of all the approaches Jermaine takes while listening to music, we can relate to his desire to play songs back to back that are worlds apart, or having extended fixations on an specific artist or genre of music. His latest unmistakable obsession was electronic cumbia music four months ago for three weeks straight.
Today, the key latch kid has come full circle by surrounding himself will today’s top hits on the Billboard charts. “It’s interesting… I feel like the world is also in the Billboard chart right now… I just want to say aloud that I love Post Malone,” Jermaine spilled. “He is doing such a great job!” the masses are very in tune to the music videos that often accompany songs today. Music videos are not something new, but technological advances now give artists the chance to show their audience further insight to a song. “Seeing an artist or a group of artists’ visual representation of their music puts me in a totally different place. I love how that can transform your understanding of what you’re listening to based on what you’re seeing when listening to it. I geek out on this kind of stuff!” Portugal the Man’s music video for their song “Keep On” is an example that came to Jermaine. The song seemed somewhat ordinary while hearing it, but the provocative imagery totally altered his impression of it. “Portugal the Man is great, and I just need to say that aloud,” Jermaine made known. “They’re gonna be at Coachella this year, and they won a Grammy as well!” “God’s Plan” by Drake is another example of a song that was elevated by its music video.
Watching a music video is one thing, but seeing an artist perform in the flesh is another level of awesome. Coachella is this weekend, and you can see why Jermaine is our go-to guy for music in the office. He will be flying in on Thursday April 12 for pre-Coachella, then the festival officially begins on Friday April 13. The top performances Jermaine is looking forward to seeing are Japanese Breakfast, Beyoncé, Post Malone, Angel Olsen, Odesza, and Jessie Ware.