Over the summer, The Remedy, an a capella R&B group of four self-taught singers from the South Side, received some unexpected appreciation when a video of their performance at the Jackson Blue Line station went viral. The group’s members, Jeremy, Karon, Fresh, and Cody, have been performing together for over ten years now and show no signs of slowing down. I had the pleasure of meeting with the group to talk about where they’re going, and how that’s impacted by where—and who—they’ve been.
When asked what motivated or inspired them, Jeremy said he was most motivated by “feel-good music” of all kinds—“it inspired me to do more feel-good music.” However, he admits it’s not quite as simple as that: as he spoke, the blaring of police sirens rang, and he offhandedly added that staying away from the police was another potent motivation. We laughed, but the reality of his comment was deeply understood—for Jeremy, involvement in music and performance has been his peace and serenity in an often-violent world.
Karon, however, cited his children as his motivation, along with the inspiration that comes from working in a group with the other members. He was also open and honest about how the difficulties in his life push him forward. “The grind and all-out struggle makes me want to push forward,” he said.
Fresh, meanwhile, is most motivated by his children, and the thought of anyone who says his children can’t succeed—“the haters and anyone who tries to put them down.” For Fresh, these haters don’t realize the galvanizing effect they have on those they critique. Cody is similarly motivated by his children, but also by God: he cites his faith as the thing that wakes him up every morning.
One unifying motivation for all members has been each other: the group spoke highly of its brotherhood, describing it both as a mechanism of accountability in reaching their goals and as the glue that keeps them together. They live by the words “NO BROTHER LEFT BEHIND.” Although they work on a smaller scale, much like the Temptations, they measure the success of the group by its ability to meet the daily needs of each member, the group’s ultimate goal is to be recognized as one of the R&B greats of its generation.
The group sees a huge void in the music industry, one that many artists don’t pay attention to, and they try to fill that void in the type of music that they create—one that focuses on love, because they believe it’s a topic almost anyone can relate to and understand. It is important to The Remedy to be able to create and provide music that the whole family can listen to together. In their view, mainstream songs today are lacking this value, and they look to change that with their music—indeed, they seek to provide “the remedy” for a generation of music listeners.
The group performs music from a range of genres, ranging from R&B to country to rap. Across these genres, what unifies their performances is the importance they place on audience experience and enjoyment. This means that each one is tailored for that particular audience. Performances for large public crowds, for example, usually include covers of past and present Top 40 selections, while a performance for seniors might include legendary R&B and soul classics.
It’s clear that while the members of The Remedy are thankful for and proud of their accomplishments, they are also looking to reach higher. Cody wants to have the group’s music heard by millions, and “to keep pushing until I fulfill my dreams [but] continue to be humble about it.” Such a moment might be starting to arrive. Since the video filmed at the Jackson Blue Line Station went viral—reaching over thirty million views, according to DNAinfo—the group has connected to fans all over the world; many of these fans have created fan pages and groups on the internet to show their support. As a result, the group is planning to do some travel in the near future: they say they will be traveling to New York later this year and to Germany in 2017.
The group focused the final words of our conversation on a message for young children and upcoming artists (just like they were, not too long ago): “Don’t get caught dreaming, make your dream a reality.” And in a nod to the strength of their own dynamic as a brotherhood: “Be careful who you hang around and the company you keep. It is a reflection of you.”
The best way to reach The Remedy is firstname.lastname@example.org