Premiere: JRM’s Stunning Debut Single Captures Life As a Black Man in “America”

JRM © Rene Sascha Johannsen
JRM’s raw, timely, and achingly intimate debut single “America” paints a powerful, poignant depiction of the Black experience in America.
Stream: “America” – JRM




While everyone calls this place the land of the free, I wanted to shed some light on the truth about America.

Jaramye Daniels didn’t intend for his debut single to speak so directly to the national dialogue. Initially written three years ago, “America” was always going to be a deep cut from an intimate perspective: An impassioned song about his life as a Black man living in the United States. The son of Jamaican immigrants born and raised in Philadelphia, Daniels took the long road to his music career – earning his Business degree from Howard University and attending culinary school, before eventually moving to New York and diving headfirst into songwriting.

Now based in Los Angeles, Daniels – who writes and performs with the moniker JRM – has already made a name for himself as a Grammy-nominated songwriter and vocalist for artists like Beyoncé (“All Night”), Martin Garrix (“Summer Days”), Jessie Reyez (“Imported”), Teyana Taylor, Kygo, and Lukas Graham. Yet it’s what we experience when he steps into his own spotlight, under his own name, that leaves us truly breathless. That solo story begins today, with JRM’s long-awaited debut: Achingly vulnerable and intimately honest, “America” paints a powerful, poignant depiction of the Black experience in America.

It’s a raw, soulful, and unabridged take on life that needs to be heard now, more than ever.

America - JRM

America – JRM

We got 13 stripes And 50 stars
A couple million behind bars
So many folks can’t even eat
They spend their nights on city streets
You call this home i call it no mans land
That’s what it means to be American

The ambitious act of penetrating the media bubble and reforming society sounds hopeless and feels insurmountable, but the activism and dialogue over these past five weeks following the death of George Floyd and the revitalization of the Black Lives Matter movement have already shown us that change can and does happen. It starts small; it will require continued, unabating attention and intense, unwavering pressure – but something real is happening in 2020, and we have to believe that it’s for the best. The United States of America claims to be a place of freedom and equality, but it is not – it never has been – and that is where JRM’s heart-rending, eye-opening “America” comes into play.

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “America,” JRM’s haunting debut single (out July 3rd, 2020). Listening to his voice, we see the world through the artist’s eyes – and learn that our experiences are not the same. Daniels’ voice rings out as he pours his soul into song:

They say pledge allegiance to your flag
But it won’t pledge allegiance back
Just do your time and pay your dues
But it won’t pay none back to you
You call this home, I call it no man’s land
That’s what it means to be American
So if you’re heart ain’t heavy you’re not scared enough
When you ask for blessings don’t forget America
They say read your books and go to school
Cuz uncle Sam’s got plans for you
And if you’re broke he’s got your tab
But nothing’s free remember that
You call this home i call it no mans land
That’s what it means to be American
So if you’re heart ain’t heavy you’re not scared enough
When you ask for blessings don’t forget America

“America” does away with assumption and tells it like it is. Arriving just around the fourth of July, what might have once passed as a tender, acoustic ballad sounds more like a resounding protest song.

“The song is an honest depiction of what it feels like to grow up and exist in America as a black man,” JRM tells Atwood Magazine. “This country often has a way of not making me feel so at home. Given the current climate, this song just felt like the only acceptable type of music to be released at the moment. While everyone calls this place the land of the free, I wanted to shed some light on the truth about America.”

JRM © Rene Sascha Johannsen

JRM © Rene Sascha Johannsen



“America” is sublime – an emotional, moving journey through and through. JRM’s pained message arrives against a seductively soothing backdrop. If you really weren’t paying attention, you might think you were listening to a breakup song – and sure: If you consider this song the termination of an idealized society with blinders on top of rose-colored glasses, we might consider it JRM’s very-own breakup song with “America.” But there’s little chance of you listening to this song and not hearing its message. JRM’s words are emphatic, his voice blazing with clarity and strength as he shares his perspective and his story.

Please listen to this song twice: The first time, I want you to ease into JRM’s lyrics: Read along with him as he sings, if it helps. The second time, I want you to close your eyes and embrace these lines as your own: Put yourself in JRM’s shoes, and think about what it meant for him to write this song – what these lyrics and various anecdotes represent, both on the surface and deeper down within.

When we rally together as one, learning from our differences and unifying over our commonalities, we can achieve great things. JRM’s “America” brings us one step closer to that goal of connection and understanding, opening up all who listen to an honest dialogue about the Black experience in America.

It’s safe to say JRM’s debut single is absolutely stunning, but we’re sure he would likely deflect such praise – telling us it’s not about him, but about what his music represents. Stream “America” exclusively on Atwood Magazine.

You so stuck on immigration
But you brought the ships to take em
Making laws so now they don’t
Get to come here on their own
And you call yourself the man
Cuz you stole some people’s land
Took some kids from overseas
To help you build this shit for free
So if you’re heart ain’t heavy you’re not scared enough
When you ask for blessings don’t forget America

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Stream: “America” – JRM



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America - JRM

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Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com