South African Jeremy Loops, born Jeremy Hewitt in Kommetjie, Cape Town, was a modern folk singer/songwriter and environmental activist. As his name suggests, he relied on loop pedals as integral parts of his live performances, and would often borrow elements from across the genre spectrum, including hip-hop, electronica, and traditional African music.
After completing his studies, a desire to travel away from South Africa prompted Loops to take a job on board a yacht, resulting in a lot of time spent alone in his cabin with his guitar. A loop pedal enabled him to accompany himself, from the drum beats, to bass parts, to background harmonies, and two years later a style and repertoire of songs were developed from these foundations. Upon his return he co-founded the urban greening social enterprise Greenpop, which, after reaching the milestone of planting 1000 trees, decided to have a celebration party at Cape Town's Assembly venue. As co-founder and organizer, Loops decided to put himself on-stage as the event's musical opener, which was, in fact, his first gig.
His debut self-titled EP, consisting of five tracks and released in 2011, proved to be very popular and featured frequent on-stage collaborators Motheo Moleko and Jamie Faull, a rapper and a saxophone player, respectively. As a live act they quickly became in-demand and gigged relentlessly, playing at major festivals in South Africa and abroad. Validation of Loops' on-stage craft came in the shape of the MK Male Solo Artist of the Year award in 2013, and the award for Best Live Act at the same ceremony in 2014.
His first full-length album, Trading Change, came in the same year, and immediately hit the iTunes South Africa number one spot. He used updated versions of the six songs from his 2011 EP as a basis for the album, and the lead single, Down South, found itself at the number one spot on the three most prominent radio stations in South Africa. The album was released in the U.S. the following year, accompanied by a promotional tour on which he supported the California roots reggae band Rebelution. He would also support the American duo Twenty One Pilots on a European tour, although it was cut short in November 2015 due to the terror attacks in Paris. Entitled Continental Drift, Loops' own headline tour of Europe launched in early 2016.