Jeremy Messersmith

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Jeremy Messersmith
A man in a pink-and-white striped shirt and gray jacket, with neck-length hair and clear-frame glasses, stands before a microphone playing an acoustic guitar. He faces to the viewer's right. In the background on the left are the red and white stripes of a vertical American flag.
Messersmith in 2016
Background information
BornCharleston, South Carolina, United States
OriginMinneapolis, Minnesota, United States
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active2006–present
LabelsGlassnote Records

Jeremy Messersmith is an American indie pop musician, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States.


Jeremy Messersmith was born in Charleston, South Carolina, United States, and grew up in the Tri-Cities area of Washington.[1] He began playing music in church at a young age, and counts Sandi Patti, Carman, DC Talk and Michael W. Smith amongst his earliest musical influences. He initially played the trumpet, but was forced to stop after having dental braces installed; he then switched to guitar. In 1999, he moved to Minneapolis to study music at North Central University.[1][2][3]

Music career[edit]

After his first album, The Alcatraz Kid, was released in 2006, City Pages called Messersmith the "premier under-30 songwriter in the Twin Cities".[1] The Alcatraz Kid also received the attention of Performing Songwriter, KCRW, and The Current. The album's title was inspired by a man who used the name to prank-call Messersmith's workplace.[4]

Messersmith's second album, The Silver City, was produced by Dan Wilson and features an array of pop songs ranging from the electronically inspired "Miracles" to love songs like "Love You To Pieces".[citation needed]

The Silver City was recognized in a press poll as the second-best album in the Twin Cities in 2008, losing out only to the rising star of hiphop act Atmosphere. Messersmith has been featured on NPR, NPR's Car Talk, Paste Magazine, iTunes, NY Times, New York Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Wired Magazine, BoingBoing, USA Today, My Old Kentucky Blog, Yahoo Landing Page, World Cafe Live on WXPN, Independent Film Channel, MTV's The Real World, NBC's Chuck, ABC's Ugly Betty, 2 Broke Girls (CBS), and Showtime's The United States of Tara.[citation needed] His songs have appeared in a French film and a Norwegian commercial.

Messersmith's Reluctant Graveyard was named one of the Top 10 Albums of 2010 by NPR, Top 25 Videos of 2010 by Paste Magazine, and also won the Star Tribune's Critics' Poll for Best Local Artist. His video for the Star Wars-themed "Tatooine" went viral, with Messersmith receiving national press in several publications.

He has opened for President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on separate occasions.[citation needed]

In the fall of 2012, Messersmith embarked on a "Supper Club Tour" in which he combined Pot Luck Dinners with Living Room Shows, selling out shows across the country.[citation needed]

In 2013, he signed with Glassnote Records for his forthcoming release, Heart Murmurs, which was released in February 2014. He also toured extensively, playing with Tom O'Dell, Daughter, BOY, and Brett Dennen. The lead track from the album, Tourniquet, was featured on The Current, WXPN, NPR's Here & Now, and Time Magazine, where Messersmith was named one of 14 artists to look out for in 2014.[5]

In 2014, Messersmith appeared on the radio variety show Wits alongside comedian Maria Bamford and host John Moe at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota.[6]

In 2017, he released a digital-only songbook, 11 Obscenely Optimistic Songs For Ukulele: A Micro-Folk Record For The 21st Century And Beyond, which could be downloaded for free from his website. Regarding the release of his own versions of the songs, he wrote, "The audio will be released in mid April. I just wanted people to experience the songs with their own voices first."[7]

In early 2018, Messersmith released "Purple Hearts", the first single off his 5th full-length studio album, Late Stage Capitalism. In a press release, he elaborated on the narrative of his single, describing it as "two people on opposite sides of a cultural divide, who are experiencing the loneliness and disconnection of modern society in the form of the worst first date of all time. For a pop tune, that concept is a giant bummer. So I went full Bacharach to lift the lyrics above the dread, and coated the song with a generous layer of 1960s orchestral schmaltz, which I find irresistibly euphoric. So much so that I even dusted off my trumpet from middle school to take a solo during the instrumental break."[8]


While raised in an Assemblies of God church and later attending an Assemblies of God college, Jeremy Messersmith identifies as an atheist.[9]


Albums and EPs[edit]

  • The Alcatraz Kid, 2006
  • The Silver City, 2008
  • The Reluctant Graveyard, 2010
  • Paper Moon (EP), 2012
  • Heart Murmurs, 2014
  • Late Stage Capitalism, 2018


  • "Tatooine", 2010
  • "Tourniquet", 2013
  • "Purple Hearts", 2018


  • 11 Obscenely Optimistic Songs For Ukulele: A Micro-Folk Record For The 21st Century And Beyond, 2017


  1. ^ a b c Dylan Hicks (August 30, 2006). "Speaking in Strums". City Pages. Archived from the original on May 23, 2010. Retrieved January 28, 2010.
  2. ^ Mary Lucia (January 4, 2007). "Jeremy Messersmith Creates Dark Lyrics and Sweet Melodies". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved January 28, 2010.
  3. ^ "Jeremy Messersmith "One Is The Loneliest Number" w/ J.S. Ondara + Rachael Kilgour". Icehouse MPLS. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  4. ^ Garrick Van Buren. "First Crack 85. Jeremy Messersmith Talking about the Alcatrez Kid". First Crack Podcast. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved February 14, 2010.
  5. ^ Locker, Melissa. "14 Musical Acts To Watch in 2014". Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  6. ^ "Radio show 'Wits' comes to CSB". Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  7. ^ "Welcome". Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  8. ^ "jeremy messersmith announces new album, puts 'Purple Hearts' on display". Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  9. ^ "Jeremy Messersmith wears his atheist heart on his sleeve". October 20, 2014. Retrieved November 19, 2020.

External links[edit]