Music Artist Review; R.LUM.R

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( R.LUM.R is one of those extraordinary artists who has the uncanny ability to capture the thoughts and emotions that appear universal. He effortlessly expresses feelings of hurt, longing, loneliness, doubt, vulnerability as well as the effects of toxic femininity or toxic masculinity, mental health issues and (self)healing. Born Reginald Lamar Williams, Jr. in Bradenton, Florida, R.LUM.R now calls Nashville, Tennessee home. This amazing singer-songwriter first gained recognition when his most well-known single “Frustrated” (a 2019 track of his EP Afterimage) racked up 50 million plays on Spotify as of December 6, 2019.

Also notable was his mention by NPR as one of their Artist to Watch at that the 2017 SXSW (South by Southwest) Conference & Festival – an annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, and music festival and conferences held mid-March each year in Austin, Texas. Further adding to his growing list of accolades is R.LUM.R’s 2013 single “Show Me,” released on Spotify which subsequently was picked for their New Music playlist that some year. R.LUM.R’s unique genre-bending approach to music comes from his original (unique) blend of R&B/Soul, pop, gospel, prog-rock, and dance that broaden his appeal to his rapidly growing fan base.      

R.LUM.R started singing in the choir of the church that his grandmother attended from the age of nine to 14. His mother, as well as his sisters were also singers and he appears to have inherited the gift. Also, his childhood home was filled with music from artists like Sade, Frankie Beverly and Maze, Anita Baker, among other. However, as he matured his taste in music opened up to include more eclectic artists such as: Kirk Franklin, Coheed & Cambra, Linkin Park, Fleet Foxes, Ray Lamontagne, Radiohead, The Mars Volta, and Circle Survive. “It reaqlly resonated with me at the time because I was mad Emo. So, I started writing songs about all the stuff I was feeling at the time – girls that didn’t like me and such.”

Animation, anime, as well as film and video games are also a big influence on the artist. One of his biggest visual influnces come from Japanese film director, animator, and screenwriter, Satoshi Kon – evident in his videos for the album. These influences can be heard, and seen, throughout his major label debut, Surfacing . The album has been described as the artist’s actual process of surfacing or emerging as an adult artist. Some say his music is like hits you would hear on the radio. “Surfacing is my proudest work to date. It took me almost two years, but now a lot of these pressing thoughts I’ve had about my Blackness, my version of masculinity, mental illness, healing, finding your path, and more are finally dredged up from what seems like a bottomless ocean, and committed to wax,” he explains.

MG Alcard calls the album, “introspective without being pretentious.” The opening track, “Making a Choice,” is a sort of narrative prologue that explores the different sides of a very complex personality. Experimental tracks like “Call Me Back,” and “Circles” utilizes voicemail technology in a “way the is heart felt and relatable.” “Middle of the Night,” flows seeminglessly into one of my favorite tracks on toxic masculinity, “Boy Should Never Cry,” and according to the artist, “[Crying] is good for people, because people have emotions.

Men are just people. We’ve been trained to be brutish  and monolithic. We can still be that  if necessary, but also release some of those emotions that are killing you frankly,” R.LUM.R says.The closing track, “Lonely,” expresses former internalized emotions – expressing everything. R.LUM.R will embark on a 5-week, 26 city tour across North America. His first a a headliner which kicks of in Nashville in February.

Staff Writer; Gustavus Betts

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