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Victoria artist combines songwriting with performance art in debut music video

“Hey, how ya been” explores self-acceptance as a queer artist
Victoria sing songwriter Jeremy Sinclair released his debut music video “Hey, how ya been” in July, drawing inspiration from his performing arts training and miscellaneous items he found around the house. (Courtesy of Jeremy Sinclair)

Jeremy Sinclair’s debut music video opens with him sitting Carhartt-clad, hair-tousled in an empty bathtub. Clip by clip, he whips out a new prop – a fake rose, a candle, three rubber duckies, a suction cup dart gun and a cheap bottle of chardonnay – as he presents his goofy personality alongside lyrics of isolation, heartbreak and self-acceptance as a queer artist.

It’s a far cry from the snippets of poetry the 25-year-old used to scribble into notebooks during high school and university. Then, the words served as a creative outlet away from class time, and the notebooks a space safe from the homophobic language Sinclair said often permeated his kinesiology degree and university wrestling team.

“The social environment was not very accepting to everyone in the sports I was in. I felt I had to be somewhat repressed.”

About halfway through his degree, Sinclair suddenly realized he was devoting all his spare time – and class time too, he admitted – to writing songs. Why, he asked himself, wasn’t he pursuing something he was so clearly passionate about?

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An impromptu open mic night in Edmonton sealed the deal. Besides a Grade 6 talent show Sinclair doesn’t even recall, it was the very first time he had performed, and he loved every second of it.

Two years ago, Sinclair moved to Victoria and began training at the Canadian College of Performing Arts, devoting himself to singing, songwriting, acting and dancing full time. There, he has found a sense of community.

“It’s nothing but openness and appreciation for the individual, whatever their story is, wherever they come from and however they choose to express themself.”

Although his sports teams weren’t the most accepting environment, Sinclair acknowledges their demanding training schedule helped prepare him for 10-plus-hour days he now spends studying at the performing arts college. His hard work paid off when he earned the lead role of Bobby Strong in the college’s production of Urinetown last spring.

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Sinclair is able to thrive on the busy schedule, but it’s in moments of calm and solitude he’s inspired to song write. Every morning he starts his day with a writing session, jotting down whatever is on his mind just to get ideas and thoughts onto paper. When he has some spare time, he’ll head to a coffee shop or public place to people watch and make up stories in his head. Later, he’ll often turn his notes and thoughts into lyrics, a poem or a rap.

The introspective process is easily heard in Sinclair’s crisp, emotive music. While “Hey, how ya been” is his first music video, Sinclair has several other recorded songs. Lately, he’s been straying away from the indie-pop style and playing around with hard-rock, which he hopes to debut this winter as he gets more integrated into Victoria’s music scene.

More of his material can be viewed at @jeremy_james_sings on TikTok and Instagram.

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About the Author: Jane Skrypnek

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media after starting as a community reporter in Greater Victoria.
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