Theatre grad set to release long-awaited EP

JJ Gerber credits Sheridan 'family' for record's completion


After four years, Sheridan Theatre grad JJ Gerber is ready to release an EP that he believes audiences will relate to.

“I think that a lot of these songs have lyrics that people can relate to, and I think that people will listen and be like, ‘I went through that’ or ‘I just really feel like dancing right now and this song is the dance track that I need to listen to,’” says Gerber.

“I’m so excited to finally give this to the world. I’ve been holding on to the reins of the music forever so I’m really excited to give it away and get it in people’s hands.”

Gerber’s six-song EP, Outside is to be released Jan. 28. The release concert will be at the Supermarket Restaurant and Bar, downtown Toronto and Kensington.

The show will open with Toronto’s up-and-coming band, Ginger Ale and the Monowhales. A fellow singer-songwriter, Andi, will then perform her EP Sketches and Gerber will finish the show.

Gerber, 27 graduated from Sheridan’s Theatre program last year and worked on his album during his time at Sheridan.

“I started it back then and it’s been, gosh, three or four years that I’ve been working on it now,” he says. “You have to make sure that the product is worth giving.”

Gerber's EP, "Outside" will be released Jan. 28. Photography by Francesca Ludikar.

Gerber’s EP, “Outside” will be released Jan. 28. Photography by Francesca Ludikar.

Gerber describes his music as soul-pop, partly influenced by his growing up in the church and being surrounded by the gospel community. “That being said, I’m also a child of the millennial ages, so I get my dubstep on every so often.

Gerber’s mother, Christine, is part of the Toronto Mass Choir that has won multiple Junos and is releasing her own album next year. Growing up in a musical family, Gerber says that music has always been apart of him.

“My parents used to tell me that when I was a baby I would sing myself to sleep. It’s just one of those things that has never left,” he says. “(Music) has been my first love really, second to dance. I’ve always considered that I’d do something like this in my life, I have always wanted to. So with this opportunity coming up, it’s basically fulfilling my dream.”

Gerber says that a lot of people from Sheridan have played a big role in helping prepare the album.

“It’s been really wonderful how the Sheridan community has come together to work on this project. It’s been like a big family thing.”

Sheridan photography students helped by shooting music videos, professors have worked on demos with him and multiple Sheridan grads sang with him on the album.

Vanessa Sears, a fellow Sheridan grad of the Theatre program, sings with Gerber on the song “Outside.”

Sears and Gerber met in their first year at Sheridan and have become close friends through performing opposite each other in several Sheridan theatre productions, as well as working together on the album.

Sears says that Gerber’s talent is undeniable. “He has such a talent for creating a unique sound and he’s an incredibly captivating performer. Anyone who has worked with him or had the pleasure of watching him perform can testify to the fact that he’s an incredible talent,” she says.

“He’s an incredible spirit and a joy to watch, and his music is so easy to connect with. He understands people and when you see JJ live you’ll feel a connection and an energy that you won’t want to miss out on.”

Sears says that she is always eager to work with Gerber because of his easy-going attitude and his great vision.

Another influence on the album was music technology professor Alan Poaps, who helped Gerber with the early demos.

Poaps taught Gerber during Gerber’s first year at Sheridan and recorded demos for different songs,including “Hypnotized,” “Outside” and “If You Got a Soul” during the his third and fourth year.

“I am looking forward to hearing the finished songs that we worked on in the demo stage. I am thrilled that JJ is pursuing his dream and that my music technology class was able to play a part,” says Poaps. “I believe he will have a very successful career. His musical journey has just begun.”

Gerber says working with so m12540196_10153842799777296_201810143_nany different people on the album has morphed his music in ways he never expected.

“It’s been helpful, with the whole inspiration side of things. Sometimes you’ll have inspiration to create one type of song and then they’ll change it to sound like something completely different,” he says. “That’s been the fun thing about this, exploring new sounds on preconceived lyrics.”

Gerber had to choose from a list of about 40 songs when picking the six that would go on the EP. Because he has so many more songs to share with the world, he says that people can expect a full album in a couple months.

Tickets to the EP release concert can be bought at or Listen to samples of Gerber’s music.