SINGAPORE - In an alternate timeline, Jeremy Zucker is a scientist instead of the American pop singer known for hits such as Comethru and All The Kids Are Depressed.
In 2018, the same year he released both songs, he graduated with a degree in molecular biology.
But music is his life now and he has no plans to pursue a career in science, the 25-year-old tells The Straits Times in a Zoom interview.
"I still like keeping up to date with science journals and news, just because it really interests me and I'm always watching random YouTube videos and documentaries. I feel like it's still a part of my life, but I don't really have a need to make it my career," he says from his home studio in Los Angeles.
What he is focused more on now is his second album, Crusher, set to be released on Oct 1.
Zucker, who started making music in his bedroom when he was in high school, says he had trouble following up his debut album Love Is Not Dying, released in April last year (2020). "I just spilt so much of my heart and my life into that last album."
All the plans that he had to promote the album - including a global tour that would have taken him around the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia - were scuppered due to the pandemic.
"The only thing I could do that was productive was to make another album, and I didn't really have anything to write about. So, it felt really impossible to follow up."
He eventually found his muse again and the result is a new batch of songs that are very different from the ones in Love Is Not Dying.
"It's got a lot more energy, a lot more drums. I think it's a lot more fun, a lot less dramatic, a lot less serious," he says of the songs in Crusher. "I was really trying to let go and have more fun with the music. And I think that really shines through."
Four of the songs in his sophomore album have been released as singles, including a song inspired by an ex-girlfriend, titled 18.
"When I was in high school, for a short amount of time, I dated a girl who was a senior in high school, a girl who was a couple of years older than me," he recalls. "It was an amazing feeling of dating this person whom you thought was so cool and talking to your friends about it."
Another single, Cry With You, is an emotional track he wrote after a long-distance conversation with a close friend.
"I was on a FaceTime call with my really good friend Lauren, and she was going through a tough time. I was on the East Coast, she was on the West Coast, and I wanted to be there for her and I couldn't, except for talking to her on the phone.
"I remember saying, 'If I can't be there with you, the least I can do is cry with you.' She was, like, 'You should make that a song.' I was, like, 'okay', so I hung up the phone and went to the other room and started writing."
The most recent single, Therapist, touched on mental illness and the importance of getting help and treatment.
It is a message Zucker first explored in detail with All The Kids Are Depressed. He had put out a call on Twitter asking fans who suffered from depression to share their stories with him and received hundreds of responses.
The song's affecting music video features the stories of how some of these young people deal with living with mental illness.
He says: "It never gets old for me - the meaning is stronger and stronger as time goes on, because obviously I was younger when I wrote that and released it, and I still see it really affecting people in a positive way. And it's just incredible to see the amount of comfort it can give people still."
Crusher will be available on music streaming services on Oct 1.