Jeremy Manjorin keeps people guessing. His latest CD, Two Sigma Blues, ranges from indie rock to jazz, from adult contemporary to hardcore, and even includes a nod to classical music. So what kind of artist is this? “I’ve used songwriting and music as a way to explore many different genres, and to really get to know the variety of musical influences in my life,” he explains. “I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. It’s evolved over the years, so now the process generally goes: noodle around on guitar, take notes or just focus on parts I like, record parts in Pro Tools, explore it, rearrange it, change it, add bass, simple percussions, keys, synths, whatever, and when I feel good about progressions and changes, I then go into a collection of poems and lyrics I have and am always continuing to grow. Or I grab lines from different pieces and play with the melodies. Once it starts to coalesce, I then go make changes to music or lines and work and rework.”
The album is a look into the musical place where Jeremy lives, seeing that he played all the instruments himself, as well as wrote all the songs. For the live show, he plays acoustic and sings, backed by a group of vocalists called The Spackles, along with a violinist from the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey, Kim Eckstein-Hooey.
Based in Lake Hopatcong, Jeremy has hit many of the region’s top venues over the past eight years, including The Stone Pony and The Saint in Asbury Park, CBGBs, The Continental, and The Lion’s Den in New York, The Grape Street Pub in Philadelphia, and Tumulty’s in New Brunswick.
The collaboration with The Spackles was the result of Jeremy befriending the New Jersey Conservatory Choir. “I go to almost all of their performances and became friends with some of the vocalists,” he recalls. “They asked me to do a few acoustic songs at one of their fundraisers. I planned on having Kim Hooey join me on violin, but thought it would be great to get them involved too. So I agreed to play on the condition that a few of them join me on stage. It went so well we expanded the set and Andrea Birch, Zach Morehouse, Bill LePore, Chuck Wildley and Zach Hubert became ‘The Spackles’.”
As you might imagine with an eclectic artist such as Jeremy, his influences are as wide-ranging as his own style. But one stands out above the rest—and that would be Rush. He credits them for helping develop his appreciation of time changes, key changes, and being honest about what topics one chooses to write about, and how to address them. But other classic artists played a role as well, including Led Zeppelin, Alice In Chains, Tool, A Perfect Circle, Simon And Garfunkel, John Denver, the Beastie Boys, The Beatles, Billy Joel, Blind Melon, the Dave Matthews Band, Frank Sinatra, The Grateful Dead and Tenacious D, among others.
The name of the CD, Two Sigma Blues, was actually borrowed, with permission, from an article in the New York Times, penned by Dennis Overbye. It concerned rumors of discoveries in astrophysics. “Two Sigma is a statistical term of measurement of the variability in a set,” Jeremy relates. “In the context of the album, Two Sigma Blues represents trying to make a set of songs stand out from the crowd. Something away from the mean, noticeable and appealing. Two Sigma Blues is a tongue-in-cheek dig at my own work, as something that hopefully sticks up enough above the crowd to be noticed or interesting, but statistically probably won’t be high enough to really have a major impact on the landscape.”
One song from the CD, “Skinny Seventeen,” was recently licensed by a development company for inclusion on Rock Band 3 and Rock Band Blitz. But at live shows, the song that has been getting the strongest response is “Remembrance,” which showcases The Spackles. “And again, ‘Unfallen’ live,” Jeremy adds. “Different voices doing different things in the same phrasing with crescendoing lead vocals towards the end of the song.”
Jeremy is working on a major CancerCare benefit show at The Stanhope House for later this spring. And he hopes to be able to continue his musical journey, wherever it may lead him. “My goals are to enjoy this, and continue to work at it,” he says. “To get better, keep recording and to build up a core group of people that enjoy what I’m creating and want to share it. I’d love to make enough on the CDs and with downloads so that I can recover my initial investment and just do it all again. Professionally, I’d love to get some placement in film and TV. I’ve also been pitching my songs to different licensing companies with some success already.” For more information about Jeremy and his upcoming shows, check out jeremymanjorin.com.