DOWNTOWN — A rapper said he's found new opportunities for sharing his music — in part through driving for Lyft.
Jeremy Mitchell, 34, of Pilsen, is part of the musical duo known as Disguised as Heroes with friend Demeatrius Jackson. The ride-share company featured the two on a Riot Fest-themed playlist spotlighting Chicago drivers who make music.
Mitchell and Jackson meet several times a week to work on their music, and they need even more time for their music when they're performing or gearing up to release a song or EP — a schedule that doesn't always mesh with 9-to-5 jobs, Mitchell said. Hoping to focus more on music, his passion, Mitchell quit his job and started driving for Lyft about a year and a half ago.
"I drive [Lyft] because it allows me to drive my passion forward, drive our dream of being artists that are performing globally," Mitchell said. "Those [are] lofty type of aspirations; this is the only thing that allows me specifically to create time for that."
Mitchell said he took a "leap of faith" when quitting his job to drive for Lyft and focus on his music. But many other artists are doing the same to "fund their passions," he said.
Through Lyft, Mitchell has had more freedom to work the hours he needs, he said. The job has also helped him network. He's met graphic designers and videographers who have worked on projects with Disguised as Heroes, and he even met a woman who appeared in a music video for the group.
This week, Lyft featured Disguised as Heroes on a playlist the company said it developed to help people discover local artists.
This creates an "opportunity where ... everybody throughout the city has a chance to listen to it and hopefully it's a domino effect from there," said Jackson, the other half of Disguised as Heroes. "We're hoping that we're able to reach people through our music and connect on a bigger scale — let Chicago know we're here."
The musicians respect popular Chicago artists like Chance the Rapper and Common, but they hope listeners will "see there's other sounds and other styles of music that Chicago can present," Mitchell said.
The two described their music as "alternative rap" with rock and pop elements. There's a "lot of instrumentation" in the songs, they said, and they also treat their music as a performance piece. Jackson wears a helmet while performing, and they're inspired by Marvel comics (hence the name, they said).
There is "something new for everybody to experience with our music," Jackson said.