R&B artist Jeremih reintroduced live music to Penn State at the first-ever annual LightsUP concert event Saturday. Hosted by the Student Programming Association and Penn State’s Movin’ On, the free event allowed students to let loose, dance, sing and celebrate the first week of classes.
Many students said they were most surprised by how normal the concert was, after not having live events for so long.
Rylie Thomas said her favorite part, in fact, was that sense of normalcy.
“Him performing and including all of us back together was so awesome,” Thomas (junior-civil engineering) said.
Jeremih released his “MIH-TY” album in 2018, but many concert attendees said they recognized him for his work from the early 2000s. “Down on Me” and “Birthday Sex” were two of his biggest hits in 2009 and 2010, both landing a spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Because of the timeline of his releases, there was a wide variety of fans represented at the event. Some students said they were there for the more recent songs, while others said they recognized the older songs from when they were younger but never knew it was Jeremih who sang them.
“I’ve heard a lot of his songs, but I didn’t know who he was. So it was really good to put a face to the music,” Kayla Jones (freshman-pre-medicine) said.
There were also those who had never heard of Jeremih but appreciated the exposure LightsUP brought them.
“I actually just heard of him,” Tahir Bhaila (freshman-division of undergraduate studies) said. “If I hear him [in the future] I’ll recognize a song or two.”
And of course, there were also some Jeremih aficionados in the mix.
“I would say that [I have been a Jeremih fan for a while],” former student Syd Erin said. “He has been on my playlist for a few years. [My favorite moment was] probably when he performed ‘Birthday Sex.’ I love that one — classic.”
Erin Straub (freshman-veterinary sciences and science) agreed and said the performance of the song was particularly well done.
Between songs, Jeremih thanked the Penn State audience in words familiar to his songs, like “Thank you for holding me down all these years” and “Shout out to all the birthday ladies out there.”
Spectators were given glow sticks to wave around during his songs, and Jeremih, as well as other singers and backup dancers on stage, frequently emptied bottles of water onto the crowd to keep the audience engaged.
Many students agreed the quality of his performance was thanks to the little ways he kept the crowd on its feet.
[My favorite thing was] how he interacted with the crowd,” Alexandria Morrison (junior-advertising and public relations) said. “It kept us motivated and moving.”
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