Ever since his first single, “My Life,” got a sneak debut in June during the WWDC mega-conference unveiling of Apple Music, the question has lingered: Who is Loren Kramar? Googling the unsigned artist reveals a minimal digital footprint. With an only recently active Twitter, no previously released tunes and little coverage of his music, Kramar seems shrouded in mystique. Admittedly, he’s not exactly a no-name. Though a new face in the sonic sphere, Kramar has established himself as a key player in the New York art world as the editor-in-chief of the online publication Megazine.
At least we know what he sounds like. “My Life” finds Kramar singing unabashedly earnest lines like “Talkin’ ’bout my life/Talkin’ ’bout feelings” in a lithe, trembling warble, floating lightly atop velvety keys. The straightforward lyrics demonstrate an embrace of pop vernacular, while the melancholy synth backing indicates an alt-R&B influence. Today we’re offering an exclusive premiere of the song’s moody, black-and-white video. The clip is just a glimpse of what Kramar can do, so we spoke with the artist to learn a little more about his work.
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Apple gave you a big media boost a couple months ago when the company highlighted your single, “My Life.” How did that opportunity come about?
I was introduced to Larry Jackson from Interscope a year ago after he heard a demo. He was really passionate about my music but was in between Interscope and his next move — Apple. In late May, I heard from Larry about playing “My Life” at WWDC. Apple has been extremely supportive, and they’ve enabled me to get my song to thousands of listeners. It’s nothing but an honor.
You co-founded an online art magazine called Megazine. Can you tell me about that?
The goal with Megazine was to provide an innovative online platform for emerging artists. In featuring new work made exclusively for the site, the project became a highly collaborative one.
And you worked with some of those collaborators on your upcoming music video, right?
Yeah, the team on the “My Life” video was very small, four of us in total, and all people I’d worked with before. The director, Oto Gillen, had never made a music video but is a photographer I admire and someone I really trust. The star is one of my closest friends and greatest loves, Ebecho Muslimova. With Gillen, we wanted to create something simple — portrait and still life that would capture the intensity of intimacy. I wanted a video that was sensual and very much about the pleasure of looking.
“I wanted a video that was sensual and very much about the pleasure of looking.”
Speaking of intimate art, the “private show” you and Francis Starlite (of Francis and the Lights) recorded and posted on Megazine is a pretty fascinating document. Can you talk a little bit about your work with him?
Francis Starlite is someone who really wants to be singing the songs that he writes. We met years ago and have worked together many, many times. We’ve sung and danced like hell in karaoke rooms all over America. We co-wrote one of my favorite songs called “Cover Girl” that will be on my album. He is as gifted as he is inspiring.
You’ve described yourself as having a non-ironic sense of humor. How does humor figure into the art you make?
It’s as simple as this: Everyone wins if they have a sense of humor. There are certain mood combinations that I just can’t get down with. Action/comedy, for example, has always been a worst of both worlds for me. I believe in funny lines, but I’m not one for “haha-funny” songs. I love Ween and Shel Silverstein — these are brilliant and very funny people whose songs have everything to do with balance. I want people to know that I’m funny and that I also have a heart.
You’ve also described your work as “indulgent.”
Making music and sharing it is an over-indulgence in pain and pleasure.