My Song Stories: Jeremy Gruber of Friends at Work

AJM5933 Digest-Hard-Cover(5)Music shapes our identities and changes our lives. It brings back our memories and stirs up our emotions. My Song Stories asks music professionals and indie artists questions about the songs in their libraries. Today, Jeremy Gruber, the head of digital marketing and strategy at Friends at Work, shares the artists and songs that have impacted his life and career.


By Kyle Bylin, author of Song Stories

Who are you and what do you do? Wpid-jeremygruber2

My name is Jeremy Gruber, I’m the head of digital marketing and strategy at Friends at Work – we’re an artist management, marketing and social impact company that works with acts including John Legend, Lindsey Stirling, Ciara, Cynthia Erivo and a number of other artists.

What song have you most recently played non-stop or on repeat?

Matt Nathanson – “Bill Murray”

What song most compels you to sing along when it plays?

Delta Spirit – “Bushwick Blues”

What song do you play when you need to feel motivated or inspired?

It really depends on the type of motivation. I guess the closest for me is running in which case the answer is anything Slipknot.

What song are you most embarrassed to admit that you enjoy?

Kesha – “Don’t Stop”

What song in your library has developed a personal or deeper meaning?

The last few years I’ve been really into the ‘psych folk’ music out of Eu Claire (Bon Iver included but there are others) and two of my favorite artists are Field Report and Aero Flynn. I think the Field Report album Marigolden and the title track “Marigolden” have taken on some special meaning to me but it’s hard to explain why. You know how people listen to or play the blues to feel better when they’re feeling down? It’s part of the same thing.

What five artists most influenced you when you were a teenager?

  1. Sublime – “Boss DJ”
  2. Incubus – “Shade of Green”
  3. Nine Inch Nails – “Wish”
  4. Stone Temple Pilots – too many to count
  5. Soundgarden – “The Day I Tried to Live”

What year did you graduate from high school?


What were your favorite activities or hobbies in high school?

Playing music (electric bass), track (Shotput and discus)

What five artists best represent your favorite music today?

  1. Field Report – “The Year of the Get You Alone”
  2. Nathaniel Rateliff – “You Should Have Seen the Other Guy”
  3. Jason Isbell – “Cover Me Up”
  4. Delta Spirit – “Bushwick Blues”
  5. Aero Flynn – “DK/Pi”

What is your most prized music possession or memorabilia?

My 1977 Rickenbacker 4001 Bass – it’s a recent acquisition but I bought it right around the 20 year mark of when I started playing electric bass. The fact that I’m still playing and able to get something so iconic is pretty amazing to me. Other than that I’m not a huge memorabilia collector.

How would you describe music’s role or importance in your life?

It pretty much is my whole life – it’s my professional life, and creative life.


Kyle Bylin is the author of Song Stories: Music That Shaped Our Identities and Changed Our Lives, a collection of essays about songs that impacted people’s lives. Read an excerpt here.

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