Hartford native Jeramy Griffin was raised on a number of diverse music styles, and they eventually helped pave his path to him becoming a musician.
“When I first got into music, (I) was actually listening to all the classic country records (ranging) from Garth Brooks and George Strait (and) listening to the hard rock records basically from like Linkin Park to Kid Rock’s earlier records and Staind,” Griffin said.
After picking up the drum sticks at 11, Griffin was persuaded by both his mother and the teachers around him to venture into the music world with the concert band at Wayland Alexander Elementary School when he was 12.
But he had a different instrument in mind to play.
“Originally, I did not want to play drums actually,” Griffin said. “When I first joined the concert band back in my sixth grade year, I originally wanted to play the keyboard. When I heard the word ‘band,’ I assumed it was going to be like a band of guitar players and bass players, drums and et cetera.”
Though he found out that keyboard wasn’t part of the set up, Griffin, 28, still decided to audition, and he became accustomed to the drums rather quickly.
“The band director would play a groove on the floor, and I would try to repeat his pattern, and it became natural,” he said. “Out of 60 drummers that auditioned to play in the concert band, they could only have 10 on the roster, and I was one of them that got selected.”
Griffin continued to play drums and explored different percussion instruments before taking his skills behind a drum kit in the eighth grade at Echols Church of God in Beaver Dam.
Drumming began to serve another purpose for Griffin, who was diagnosed with autism at age 3 and was formally diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at 12.
“When I was growing up, I didn’t have a whole lot of friends … when I was going to school,” he said. “You had your fair share of bullies, just like anybody else, that were trying to keep you down and tell you that you can’t really do anything or amount to anything in life or saying that you’ll never get far. You had your doubters, of course.”
He recalls one “dark moment” period where he was close to “throwing it all away” before finding his faith.
“I remember coming home from school crying after such a hard day, and I felt like I just wanted to give up,” Griffin said. “But the very moment whenever I hit my lowest point, I just realized that something had spoken in my heart that kind of stopped me.
“The spirit of the Lord (was) telling me that He still loved me, even though I had my haters around me.”
Griffin went to church to give his “life over to the Lord” and was asked by the youth band to join them on the drum set.
Though he had initial apprehensions, Griffin said it felt right.
“I remember when the music was playing, all of the sudden I just remember that after I gave my life to the Lord, I just started playing like a straight on beat on the drum set,” he said. “Never played a drum set before in my entire life, and I just picked it up just like that.”
That moment became a “gateway” to more opportunities, he said.
“When I first accepted the call to be a musician, I knew that was the exact moment I wanted to be a musician, I wanted to record on records and just be able to be an inspiration to people that may have went through the same things that I did, to help somebody else out (and show) that autism doesn’t have to be defined as a disability.”
Griffin was a member of the Ohio County High School marching band during his freshman year in 2008-09, playing the timpani, among other percussive instruments.
To stay busy when the season ended, he and his brother Glendil, a singer-songwriter and acoustic guitarist, began to take their talents to more evangelist music and began to have an active schedule performing on the weekends at different churches and revivals. They eventually formed their own ministry.
“Most of my weekends — instead of going to football games or drive-in movies with a bunch of friends — we both would play revivals from Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” Griffin said.
By the time he graduated from OCHS in 2012, Griffin was ready to take his music career to the next level by playing as many shows and festivals as possible, while also hoping to record with Glendil and their Christian band Restored By Grace.
The group recorded a professional extended-play in Nashville — where Griffin started to learn the difference between studio recording and performing live for an audience, with some of the advice that he received was “less is more” and to “not fall in love with what you do live and put it on the record.”
“I took that advice to heart,” he said.
The experience, while nerve wracking and time consuming, also had its perks, such as being able to work with The Crabb Family and Gaither Vocal Band lead singer Adam Crabb, who was a guest vocalist on the project.
Since then, Griffin’s career has continued to prosper. He has received opportunities to play as an opening act for Christian artists and groups like Zach Williams, JJ Weeks and City Harbor and has shared the stage with Michael Cochren of the Gospel Music Association (GMA) Dove Award-nominated group Cochren & Co. on a few occasions.
Locally, Griffin has played at some Friday After 5 events and has played on the praise team for a number of different churches in Owensboro, such as Bellevue Baptist Church, Christ Community Church and Living Hope Community Church.
He currently plays on the praise team at One Faith Fellowship alongside his cousin, who serves as the worship pastor.
He’s even had the opportunity to intern for a day at Daywind Recording Studio in the Nashville area, learning from people who have worked with the likes of Alan Jackson, Diamond Rio, The Doobie Brothers, Reba McEntire, Taylor Swift and more.
And his growth and dedication has turned many of Griffin’s adversaries from his younger days turned into supporters.
“For people that doubted me and stuff and being able to say that they’ve got a blessing out of my work … and saying that I do good work, that’s just a big honor in itself,” he said.
While Griffin and his brother don’t play together as often as they once did, they still find time to make music together, with Griffin playing drums on Glendil’s record “Shall Be Saved,” with some of the tracks receiving radio play internationally.
“God has been just so good and is working in so many wonders for me and my brother,” he said. “It’s really been just an honor.”
His musical talents keep on growing, as Griffin has recently picked up the guitar on a more regular basis.
But he still considers the drums to be where he feels “at home.”
“Drumming plays such a big role in my life, because music for me was my way of release and an outlet for me to kind of get the baggage I was carrying off my chest and off my shoulders,” he said. “Anytime I had a rough day, I would just mess around on the drum set … and all the problems I faced in the world just seemed like it would just disappear before my very own eyes.”
And his plan is to continue to serve as an inspiration and lead by example.
“My end goal basically is just to be able to bless as many people that have struggled with the same things I have and being able to show them that nothing is beyond the power of God,” Griffin said, “and that we can do all things through Christ which strengthens us.”