ST. LOUIS — Some summertime songs have the feel-good energy that make you want to play it at a family cookout, listen to it poolside in your flyest swim attire or ride with the sunroof down in your drop top as it plays.
Jerell McKinney, 20, who simply goes by ‘Jerell’ as a performer, has released a single called “Summertime Vibez.” It is perfect for the season.
"When I was in the studio, I was just like 'Summertime love is a fade to chase. I need your love, girl I just need a taste,'" Jerell said. "I wanted to play on a summertime fling. It’s just a vibe, something that comes and goes, but you let it go. I thought it would be something nice and carefree to transition from my last release [“Love Me No More”]."
Jerell released that single last year, and it is a somber R&B-infused record about a relationship that has run its course and ends with heartbreak.
“I wrote that song because I feel like everybody’s been in that situation,” Jerell said. “Everybody’s been there where you have let go of a love that you thought was once there and it's not there anymore.”
For an independent artist, the song performed fairly well on the iTunes charts. Jerell said it reached number 121 in the top 200 and he later received distribution through Sony the Orchard and VIP Records. It reached more than 75,000 total streams in about six months.
“One thing I’m learning as an indie artist is that you manage so many different roles,” Jerell said. “You have to be the manager, you have to do your marketing, you have to be your team. I make my cover art on Canva, book my own shows, write my own press releases.”
Those unfamiliar with Jerell’s music may wonder who he is as an artist. He creates soulful, meaningful content with a relatable message. His goal is to always leave the listener with a lasting impression.
“If you felt your fingers wanting to move, if you felt your head wanting to bob, if you felt some form of emotion, I know I’ve done my job cause I’ve tapped into something and that makes me happy.” Jerell said.
There’s no denying the memorable presence of iconic entertainers like Michael Jackson when they stepped on stage or were at an event. Jerell aspires to have his music hold the same significance by having “moments” that showcase what a true artist embodies.
“My music is a moment,” Jerell siad.
“Everything I’m trying to do, I wanna make it into a moment. We used to have pop culture moments with Michael Jackson. When you watched his music videos, you wished you were there or you had to see his next photoshoot. I wanna bring that mystique back to being an artist.”
Music has always come second nature for Jerel,l who says he could sing since he learned how to speak. He’s been in a number of commercials, plays and music showcases. It wasn’t until his freshman year at Soldan International Studies High School that he decided to take music seriously by releasing his own songs.
“Ever since [I was in high school] then music was the only thing I could stay on,” Jerell said. “I’ve always felt like I do a good job of selling myself—it’s who I am and how I approach branding my music.”
Jerell, a hybrid artist who incorporates Pop and R&B into his vocals and production, is excited about what the future holds.
“I’m excited about all the upcoming music I have,” Jerell said. “I live off of doing music while I strategize and come up with new content. This has become my life.”
Jerell’s music is available on all streaming platforms. Follow him on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/officialjerell/.
Like Jerell’s Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/theofficialjerell/
Follow Jerell on Twitter: https://twitter.com/official_jerell.