Ever the optimist, even in the midst of the darkest trials of his life and career, Jerad Finck wrote his powerful and provocative 2011 anthem “Runaway” about not giving up on your dreams, no matter how hard things get, and dealing with his issues head on instead of trying to escape them.
The title of the track became the perfect metaphor for the wild success of the track, which has propelled the tireless Spokane, WA based singer and songwriter and road warrior to new heights in his career – including collaborating and co-writing tracks on his latest upcoming full length album with top producers David Hodges (Kelly Clarkson, Daughtry, Christina Perri), Steven Miller (Pink, Dave Matthews Band, Avril Lavigne), Andrew Williams (Five for Fighting, The Old 97's, Toad the Wet Sprocket), and Nathan Meckel (Sara Haze, Autumn Hill). Hodges helmed “Criminal,” the infectious power-pop ballad set to be the new album’s lead single. Jerad recently signed an exclusive management deal with Milk & Honey, a 21st Century hybrid entertainment company that was launched by renowned industry veteran Lucas Keller and represents some of the most successful songwriters, producers and artists in the world.
At one point in 2011, “Runaway” was the #1 independent song in the country, peaking at #33 on the Adult Contemporary Chart, #42 in Hot AC and #25 on the Hot AC Indicator Chart. While inspiring popular remixes by Ajax and DJ Lynnwod (that appeared on later editions of Jerad’s Anthony Resta produced EP Stuck In Your Riddle), the song was used by the NBA and NHL as the backdrop to videos created for each league’s finals that celebrated wins by the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Bruins. In addition to leading to Jerad’s signing with Rock Ridge and ADA/Warner Music for further distribution, the song’s enduring popularity led the Gibson Guitar endorsee to add to his already breakneck touring schedule with a near constant slate of performances everywhere from small towns in Texas to the entire East Coast.
Growing up in Spokane and spending his childhood summers on his family’s farm in Odessa, Washington, Jerad has been playing music his whole life – starting with trumpet and playing jazz heavily until college. Since releasing his self titled debut album, produced by John Seymour in 2008, he’s been on the road practically non-stop, opening for and/or touring with Daughtry, Christina Perri, Edwin McCain, DADA, Vertical Horizon, Parachute, One EskimO, Ingrid Michaelson, Matt Hires, Red Wanting Blue, Ron Pope, Cracker, Ingram Hill, Tony Lucca and many others. Jerad credits his experiences touring with the highly fan interactive Sister Hazel for helping him develop a deeper, more intimate relationship with his own audiences – both onstage and off.
The singer’s special performances include Live In The Vineyard, Hotel Carolina, SXSW, Indie Week Toronto, The Rock Boat XII, and Balcony TV. Jerad has also been featured in over fifty newspapers and magazines; including CMJ, Skope, American Songwriter, Amplifier and Acoustic Magazine. He and his band have performed on performed on dozens of morning TV shows on NBC, CBS, ABC & FOX, and his songs have been featured in films and TV shows on HBO, ESPN, Discovery, CBS & NBC, among others.
“One of the most gratifying parts of ‘Runaway’ taking off was that it allowed me to take dedicated time off the road to focus on recording – whereas in the past, I was always trying to squeeze in sessions between shows,” says Jerad. “Conceptually, my goal was simply to make a great album and I had the time to write the 60-70 songs from which I could find the best ones for the album. I started working with Nathan Meckel in Nashville, and we wound up with 15 songs. The interest grew from there, with introductions to more producers, publishers and songwriting collaborators which opened the process up even further. I was only supposed to work with Steven Miller on a few cuts but our sessions went from being something of an experiment to a much larger collaborative effort, which in turn led me to work with David Hodges on ‘Criminal.’”
While Jerad’s signature as a writer and performer is songs where optimism breaks through the difficulties that everyone goes through in life, he brings a fresh perspective to the new material as a happily married man since April 2014. “I often wrote about heartbreak and relationships in a cynical way, but I feel like the subjects of those songs were leading up to the one that wasn’t going to make me feel that way,” he says. “Rather than always being the scarred little boy, I’m writing about these things from a more mature viewpoint. We’re all going through infinite struggles and this thing called life isn’t easy, but the one thing that binds people together is that we all strive to find pieces of hope that help us push forward – whether we’re a struggling artist, college student or person on the street. We’re all looking for something to inspire us to keep going.
“Another important progression is the deeper production values and electronic music elements,” Jerad adds. “Though I still play acoustic guitar along with electric guitar and keyboards, I consciously have evolved from being pigeonholed as an acoustic singer-songwriter. The bands I most admire, from The Beatles to One Republic, were led by great singer-songwriters who create a much larger sound.”
The Steven Miller produced tracks on Jerad’s album include the throbbing pop/rocker “Codebreaker,” a whimsical look at a guy trying every which way to impress a girl; the mid tempo power ballad “Shut Down,” about picking back up after a bad relationship and moving on; the electronic rock and vocal harmony driven “The Good Life,” about the simplicity of life as we knew it before virtual reality took over our day to day lives; the super optimistic high energy jam “We’re On Fire,” a song about loving fully and going for broke; a wistful look back on the magical “Sins of Summer” even though the relationship didn’t work out; and the pulsating electronic rocker “This Love (You’re The Drug)” about intense, obsessive and very sexual love.
The Nathan Meckel helmed tunes are “Fireproof,” a rumbling, intensely percussive anthem of sheer will and determination; the acoustic guitar driven “Pieces of April,” the thoughtful and reflective look back on love, penned with Meckel and Britton Cameron, which Jerad calls “one of the best songs I have ever been a part of”; “Blood in the Water,” a lighthearted slice of dreamy soul pop equating a crafty woman to a shark playing games with its prey; the easy driving “Never Coming Back,” a Gin Blossoms inspired tune Jerad wrote with Jordan Hester at Razor & Tie in Nashville; and the mystical, trippy, super electronic based “Dangerous,” about a comic book nerd who thinks he’s a super cool ladies’ man, which he clearly isn't. Rounding out the set is the symphonic, power-pop tune of longing “Take Me With You,” the lone song produced by Andrew Williams; it features the unique touch of a multi-textured vocal chant in the bridge.
“It seems funny to say,” Jerad says, “but the most enjoyable part of making this album and working with great new producers and songwriting collaborators like David, Steven, Andrew, and Nathan was being free to listen to their honesty and constructive criticism, even when they thought some idea was terrible. This helped me ‘up my game’ tremendously as an artist and songwriter. I loved being in an environment with super talented musicians where we would come up with something we thought was great, then ask, ‘How can we top this?’ I loved the challenge of wondering how we would top ourselves on any given day. There was always a fantastic sense of excitement – and it’s wonderful to now have a chance to share that with everybody. ‘Runaway’ got people to start paying attention, and I really wanted to make sure my follow up songs were even more compelling.”