The songwriterRotterdam based singer and producer Jeruma Arnold has taken soul music and made it his own.
With both of his parents breathing music and art (even having met while playing in a band together) it was obvious that Jeruma would be forced to freely experiment with what type of expression fit him. With his mother always playing old soul records (and yes every day the same Vivaldi record too…), taking him to rollerdisco’s in his baby buggy to dance to Prince, and his father always being in smoky band rehearsals, music was always around.
Singing came naturally since early childhood, and together with friends, Jeruma started to take on keyboard lessons at the age of 8. This was partly fun but felt rather pointless. After all, who wants to study sitting by yourself playing along with the ‘groovy beats’ from your pathetic sounding E16.
It all started to make sense when linked to the phenomenon of playing in a band. In his teens, with his voice dropping being a true pain in the ass, Jeruma started to compensate for this by playing keys and making songs that other people sang to.
Former worshipper of all that was Michael Jackson, in high school Jeruma started looking for new things under the sun to relate to concerning his own material. Finding his own (musical) style was not so obvious at first. Going out dancing to Usher and Puff Daddy. Head bobbing to Common and Mos Def with backpacker hiphop buddies. Feeling the music, but finding image-based RnB to be lacking sincerity, and simply not being a rapper (insiders have convincing evidence!), Jeruma was still in search of something to identify himself with. Meanwhile at home he was happy singing sappy popsongs with his uncle on guitar.
Everything came together with a braided man in a white t-shirt holding his breath under water. Listening to Maxwell’s Embrya in a record store a pleasant lightbulb kind of thing occurred. This felt right. Forceful yet lazy beats, sensual love songs. From the heart, gentle, and stripped of put-on macho attitude. Being an official softie had a nice ring to it.
From there on Jeruma started to discover a whole dimension of wonderful contemporary soul music, the likes of D’Angelo, Musiq Frank McComb, and more recently, Dwele and Bilal. Looking for their roots, he came back to the music that was already around in his childhood. Being re-introduced to Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, but especially falling in love with Al Green and Donny Hathaway.
Having gained direction, Jeruma was increasingly drawn to making music. He started to take on music production to learn how to create the sound he wanted. It was also time to leave the safety of being ‘the keys guy that can also sing’ and be the singer and artist.
Jeruma had always been eager not to make the same ‘mistake’ his parents did: Have a, perhaps artistically fulfilling, but financially insecure profession. So, although always having persued music as an essential hobby, ultimate goal was to become an architect. The concept of thinking up structures from scratch, developing them, and actually having them created, fascinated immensely.
However, in his final year of high school it started to become apparent that artistic death was soon to follow if he was to solve one more mathematical problem. Instead he studied chord progressions, rhythmical arrangements, and a lot of singers, making a helpless sight the only comment the math teacher had to his presence. He passed his final exams with the lowest possible grades for sciences.
Now certain he wanted to build harmonies and beats instead of buildings, Jeruma auditioned for, and got admitted to, the Rotterdam Pop Academy as a vocalist, enabling him to dedicate himself to music fulltime. Every day discovering new ways to grow and continuing to define his vocal and musical signature.