Sounds Like: A singer/songwriter armored to compete in a world dominated by trap and EDM
For Fans of: N.E.R.D. ballads, Gallant, Troye Sivan
Why You Should Pay Attention: When R.Lum.R (pronounced "Ar-Lamar") released "Frustrated" in 2016, Spotify threw its weight behind the power ballad, putting it on playlists like Are & Be, which boasts 3.3 million followers, and using his photograph as the face of the "Alternative R&B" playlist for months. "Frustrated" has now accumulated more than 15 million streams on the service, and it recently started getting played on Urban AC radio stations. On August 11th, R.Lum.R will build on this with the Afterimage EP.
He Says: Reggie Williams Jr. spent years training as a classical guitarist before hitting the Orlando bar circuit as an acoustic troubadour. "I was doing my best John Mayer impersonation, essentially," he says. The dense electronic production he records as R.Lum.R was discovered accidentally during an experiment writing songs to potentially pitch to artists like Jason DeRulo and Chris Brown.
"The last year of college was one of the hardest years of my life because of all the trepidation: I had built up my whole life to be this classical guy, and people understood me to be this thing," he says. "You're essentially just doing a completely different thing, and you don't know if people are going to go with you on that. I figured, why keep studying commercial music, why not go do it? The same thing happened when I switched over from Reggie Williams music to R.Lum.R. I started doing this as a side project, and I didn't know people were going to react so strongly. But I really like lots of types of music. Why not explore them?"
Hear for Yourself: On "Frustrated," R.Lum.R is suspended in a state of torturous indecision. "I'm screaming underwater every time I say goodbye," he sings, creeping through the verses and crashing through the hooks. Elias Leight