Things are about to get intimate…
I haven’t properly written about Jared Gelman yet, although he’s most definitely been on my radar for some time now. We go way back. Also, you may remember his name and most recent single “Never Know What It’s Like” from my March edition of Queer Necessities for Billboard Pride.
Jared is an LA-based dark synth-pop prince on the rise. He’s unapologetically fierce, unapologetically queer, and unapologetically here to make you dance with the release of his brand new single “Pop That,” out today (April 26)!
The Raymond Reich-produced track is a slick buoyant slice of synth-pop that pays homage to Y2K-era glory days of pop. (Always a win in my book, obviously.) I recently caught up with Jared to dish about the new single, the inspiration behind it and his evolution as an artist.
What inspired this song?
Lyrically, I love wordplay and I wanted to fool around with the double entendre of ‘ecstasy’ and wanting an ‘ex to see.’ The chorus actually was a freestyle vocal that I planned to change later. It ended up being catchy and, although weird, the “jiggle it” felt cooky and whimsical after a few listens.
Because I am very much an intention based artist, I made sure the end of the bridge was as queer and liberating for me as possible… so I talked about meeting people in bathroom stalls and getting a little inappropriate… art imitates life imitates art….? 😉
How did “Pop That” come together?
For some background, I have been a huge fan of pop artist Simon Curtis ever since I was in high school. A couple years ago, he did a musical side project with Bad W0lfy– a friend of mine FROM high school. Their duo, under the name Wrathschild, was pure electro pop and I immediately knew I wanted to work with their team. W0lfy linked me with the producer, Raymond Reich, and Summer 2016 I came to LA and recorded a bunch of music with Raymond. W0lfy and Simon were actually there when I recorded “Pop That” which feels so full circle. The song has had many lives since it was initially recorded, and I’m super ready for people to listen. Fast forward some time and now, I actually in an apartment with W0lfy and Raymond in LA.
Production wise, this song feels different than your previous release “Never Know What It’s Like.”
Raymond actually produced both songs, but this song definitely feels very different. I usually gravitate to left-of-center, underground derivatives of synth-driven pop music. Because of that, a lot of the people around me didn’t understand that I could make easily digestible songs. Particularly, I knew my family loved the Bruno Mars/Mark Ronson style of pop music that plays at bar mitzvahs and weddings. With this song, I wanted to show them I could make a song that we both mutually enjoy listening to.
What message do you hope people take from this track?
Variety is the spice of life. Sometimes we’re sad and are going to make sad songs. Sometimes we just want to dance. My go-to analogy is that the Black Eyed Peas have a popular song called “My Humps” that is a total bop. That doesn’t make “Where is the Love?” any less meaningfully. At the core of everything I do is a message of individuality and leading with love. I’m unapologetically queer, and my artistic mission will always inform what I do.
What does this song say about your evolution and what’s to come?
In regards to the evolution, I’m excited because now when I make a song that ISN’T pure bubblegum pop, people can grasp that it is a stylistic choice. A lot of my songs have a darker, heavy sensibility to them. This time, I kept it light. Sonically, everything is a lot more polished which makes it easier for people to understand who I am as an artist.
There’s a lot to come. I’m in the routine of writing music every day and making what I think is ear-candy. In addition to a lot more songs, visuals, and performances from me, I’m always excited to write for other artists too.
What can we expect from the music video?
The video was filmed over several months, and is an exaggerated interpretation of the lyrics. It’s cooky and is about wanting to make an ex jealous— think queer home invasion with not-so-subtle looks. Aiming to put the video out in a month or so.
Jared Gelman’s new single “Pop That” is also available on iTunes now!