- Erin Kirkland/Daily
By Zach Helfand, Daily Sports Editor
Published August 28, 2013
Four years before the release of their first EP Tuesday, Joe Reynolds first met Jack Kennedy, Reynolds said, when Reynolds was a freshman on the Michigan football team. Then, Reynolds was a 160-pound walk-on receiver who needed extra work but couldn’t find a willing quarterback.
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Kennedy, a grade ahead, had just walked on as a quarterback. He volunteered. A bond formed between the two walk-ons on the fringes of the team. They connected over passes and catches and music.
Kennedy had started with the drums and later tried rapping. Reynolds played the guitar and had a smooth singing voice. Kennedy coaxed Reynolds into a studio.
Four years later, Kennedy has graduated and Reynolds, 36 pounds heavier as a fifth-year senior, has a chance to start with just three days before Michigan’s opener against Central Michigan.
Reynolds has had a busy week. A week ago, on Aug. 21, Michigan announced that sophomore wide receiver Amara Darboh would miss the entire 2013 season with a foot injury. That thrust Reynolds into a three-way competition for playing time with senior Jeremy Jackson and redshirt freshman Jehu Chesson.
Monday, Reynolds and two other walk-ons were awarded scholarships.
The next day, Reynolds and Kennedy, known as JDK and Rey, released their first EP, The Nightcap EP.
The duo worked on the project for the past eight months between class and football. Often, they had to squeeze in the time late at night.
“We kind of spun the term nightcap, because the nightcap can be the last drink people have before they go to sleep,” Reynolds said. “So our nightcap is music. It’s the last thing we do before we go to sleep.”
Reynolds said musicians like Kid Cudi and Frank Ocean have influenced the sound, but a rapping/singing R&B duo is breaking new ground.
“There’s not anything else that’s kind of like that,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds said he plans to pursue a career in music with Kennedy after he graduates. For now, the two work for free — NCAA bylaws prohibit either from profiting off their music while Reynolds is an athlete.
The EP is available for free download here.