Jeremy Willets has been releasing music as TLNGO (The Light Never Goes Out) since 2018. His latest single, “Satisfied,” sounds like an audio amalgam of Dua Lipa and Radiohead, with a nod to the Replacements “Unsatisfied” sprinkled all over top.
“‘Satisfied’ is about realizing that you’re satisfied with where you are in your life — the complete opposite of the Replacements song. But just because you’re satisfied, that doesn’t mean you’re giving up and becoming complacent. You still have more to give.”
That never-give-up ethos has infused Willets’ entire run under the TLNGO alias. “I feel like I’ve gotten into a good routine recently,” he says. “I’m trying to balance the time spent creating new music with the time you have to spend promoting it. If you don’t spend that time, nobody’s going to find the thing you worked so hard to create.”
“It ignited a fire in me that was burning embers for many years,” says TLNGO – The Light Never Goes Out – the nom de plume of singer/songwriter Jeremy Willets. He’d always planned to get back to making music after taking a hiatus to raise a family; John Seabrook’s The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory showed him the way. “Reading about modern pop songwriters like Max Martin was a revelation, and made me think, ‘Let me try my hand at that.’”
The first thing Willets had to do was re-learn how to write a song. “All of the songs I’d ever written had started on the guitar, and added other instruments later on,” he says, referring to his days as main songwriter for The Rails, a mid-2000s Cleveland alt-rock act. “It was a paradigm shift to root songs in rhythm and beats, and then layer instruments and hooks on top of them. It was completely liberating.”
His efforts to date have yielded more than twenty songs; each one getting released as a standalone single. “When I started to think about how to release these songs,” says Willets, “I thought about how music was released in the early days of rock n’ roll – the seven inch single.” He also wanted an approach that allowed him maximum freedom to experiment with anything that would fit under the wide umbrella of pop music. In the end, he drew inspiration from his day job. “I work in the software field,” he says. “There’s a heavy emphasis on frequent releases and fast feedback. I figured I’d try and do that with how I write and release music.”
To that end, Willets has been releasing new music every month for more than a year, and shows no sign of slowing down. This music has received a lot of attention locally. He’s shown up in local alt-weekly, Cleveland Scene. He’s also appeared numerous times on the monthly “New Cleveland Music” Spotify playlist, curated by Cleveland.com (the digital arm of Cleveland’s Plain Dealer newspaper).
“It’s gratifying to know that people are listening,” says Willets. “I hope they find something memorable enough to keep coming back.”