If you’ve been on the College of Charleston campus lately, chances are you’ve seen Jeremy Hobbs. Maybe you’ve noticed him drifting down the street on his hoverboard, hanging out in the Cistern Yard or studying in Addlestone Library. Hobbs’ distinctive dreadlocks and his modelesque features, combined with his flair for unique attire, definitely distinguish him. But it’s what you don’t see – his music – that really sets this arts management major apart.
Hobbs, a junior at the College, is a budding singer-songwriter with a passion for making music that can positively impact others. (You can listen to his work on Thrillerrdome.com.)
“That’s the beautiful thing about music,” he says. “You can do it just to touch people’s lives. That’s my motivation. I want to offer people something that can take them out of their pain or give them a distraction from worry. I just want to make people happy. And wherever that takes me, I’m OK with that.”
His music, which Hobbs says defies categorization, is primarily vocals over previously recorded tracks of percussion and synthesizer. “It’s hard to put a label on my music,” he says. “As an artist, I love doing different genres of music. Sometimes I’ll make a rock song and sometimes I find myself doing pop music and sometimes it’s rap. It really depends on what’s happening in my life at the time I’m writing a song.”
This fall, Hobbs issued his first album, Freedom, celebrating the occasion with a live performance in front of a small crowd of friends and family at a venue not far from campus.
“That was really fun,” he recalls. “I performed four songs off the album. I was really nervous beforehand, but it’s just like anything that you do in life, whether it’s playing sports or performing a show, there are always nerves. Once I got the mic in my hand, I felt comfortable. I knew that I’d been preparing myself for so long for that moment, so when it actually happened, I was fine.”
It shouldn’t be surprising that Hobbs doesn’t suffer from stagefright. He has worked as an actor and a model and has evolved into something of a self-made celebrity. For that role, he uses the stage name “Thrillerr,” which is partially an homage to one of his favorite performers and musical influences – Michael Jackson. Through his father’s show business connections and sheer audacity, Thrillerr has become a fixture at red-carpet events such as the Teen Choice Awards, the ESPYS and New York City’s Fashion Week. Visit his website and you’ll find candid selfies of him posing with a range of athletes, including Peyton Manning and Kevin Durant and celebrities such as Usher and L.L. Cool J.
Despite this glittery exposure, Hobbs remains humble about what he loves most – making music. It’s not uncommon for him to be in the studio composing and recording from 10 at night until 5 in the morning. “The way I usually work,” he explains, “is, I first listen to a collection of beats that my engineer has developed. Usually, I close my eyes and if I can visualize something to talk about that’s important and has substance, I start writing it down. Once I have a song written and memorized with the beat, that’s when I start recording.”
Since his album release party, Hobbs has been encouraged by fellow musicians to consider offering more live performances. “I’ve always wanted to do that,” he says. “So, I’m focusing now on being ready to perform with a band. Once I do that, I don’t think I’ll want to go back to recorded music. I really like the vibe of live music.”
So, chances are, you’ll be seeing a lot more of Thrillerr, and not just around campus.