- Friday, August 11, 2023
- Jeremy Haywood-Smith (JayWood)
- Collector Studio
- Royal Mountain Records
- Where To Buy
Arriving a year after his 2022 album, Slingshot, Canadian songwriter and producer Jeremy Haywood-Smith returns to close the loop with a new EP, Grow On. Grow On is a continuation of the sonic playground Haywood-Smith cultivated between 2018 and 2020 and seeks to “leave nothing behind artistically” from the last record, while shedding some light on the creative path ahead. The EP’s title, which is also a lyric in the Slingshot single, “Thank You”, was inspired by Haywood-Smith’s late mother and her advice to him to “grow up and grow on”. This advice stuck with him over the years, especially between 2018 and 2020, a time that brought many life changes, including his mother’s untimely passing. Although Slingshot - a nod to looking back in order to move forward - was ultimately chosen as the album’s name, the phrase never left his mind.
Opening track, “Heavy Eyes”, is a song about clarity; clarity on one’s path in life, clarity of mind, and spirit. In the beginning, Haywood-Smith repeats “I’m grown halfway there” - a chant that pushes him to embody the growth that he has achieved. When discussing the track, Haywood-Smith explains that when he wrote the song, he felt that he had figured everything out, and felt clear about where his life was headed. A couple of years later, he sees the song’s lyrics as “more like manifesting clarity than actually having it”. It’s the realization that part of being grown is having the wisdom to know that you have further to go, while recognizing and appreciating where you have already been.
Sonically, “Heavy Eyes” can often feel like 5 different songs in one, a certain controlled chaos. This controlled chaos is made possible by Jeremy’s growth as a producer. Throughout this process, he turned his focus to the creation of sonic space, helping him get big ideas like “Heavy Eyes” off the ground without overwhelming the listener, and learning to trust his ear more wholeheartedly as both a composer and producer.
“Dirk Gently (Know Yourself)” is a track that very much leans into the signature JayWood sound. Haywood-Smith started working on “Dirk Gently” in 2020, returning to it recently with fresh ears, and infusing it with his new found sense of space and structure. As with “Heavy Eyes”, “Dirk Gently” was written in a moment of firm assuredness - a sense that he saw his path clearly. Now, as it's releasing, he feels as though he is just figuring out who he is and what the future holds, especially as he embarks on a new journey moving from Winnipeg to Montreal.
“Thank You (OG Version)” is the original version of the Slingshot single written to honor Haywood-Smith’s late mother. It’s a quieter, more emotional approach to the composition. Writing this song was a breakthrough moment for Jeremy, his first time utilizing songwriting to confront emotional and vulnerable experiences head-on. The OG version acts as a direct sonic reflection of that intention, while serving as homage to his mother’s musical tastes. Along with a reference to Al Green, the aim was to infuse the track with Motown sensibility. It taps into the culture of Black church gospel that reminds him of the music he grew up on. “Thank You” was also the very first song that Jeremy played for others as he began to compile what would become Slingshot. In sharing this original version, Haywood-Smith says, “it feels like a full circle moment - literally like a slingshot”.
The EP closes with a cover of “SWEET” by Tyler, the Creator, a long-time influence of Haywood-Smith. In a way, he sees a parallel between Tyler’s career and his own artistic journey. When CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST came out in 2021, Jeremy listened to the record from start to finish - the first time he’d felt the urge to experience a new album that way in quite a while. It reminded him of listening to the first Odd Future tapes in high school, when making music as a career was a mere dream. Fast forward to now, JayWood is two EPs and two albums deep, actively working on his next full length release. The slingshot continues.
released August 11, 2023
Recorded at Collector Studios, Winnipeg, MB
Engineer - Arthur Antony
All songs except ‘Sweet’ Produced by Jeremy Haywood-Smith (JayWood);
‘Sweet’ Produced by Jeremy Haywood - Smith & Brett Ticzon
All songs except ‘Sweet’ Mixed by Arthur Antony & Jeremy Haywood - Smith; ‘Sweet’ Mixed by Arthur Antony, Jeremy Haywood - Smith & Brett Ticzon
All songs except ‘Sweet’ Mastered by Ryan Morey (Greymarket); ‘Sweet’
Mastered by Will Grierson (Collector)
All songs except ‘Sweet’ Written by Jeremy Haywood - Smith (JayWood);
‘Sweet’ Written by Tyler The Creator
JayWood is Jeremy Haywood-Smith (AKA Jay AKA Jeremy AKA J DADDY)