After a lifetime of struggle, R.LUM.R. is finally seeing his hard work pay off. Now that’s he’s got a hit song on Spotify, the alt. R&B singer/songwriter has no plans to rest on laurels.
The origin story of Reggie Williams — the artist’s real name — is rife with hardship. His parents divorced when he was a five. His relationship with them was always contentious, so a young Reggie spent time bouncing between the two households until he couldn’t do it anymore.
“I just left,” he told Uproxx of running away at fifteen. “I had no plan. I was like ‘Nah, anything is better than this.”
He found himself in Orlando, Flo., where his lifelong love of music was nourished by a community of artists he found while playing around in the city’s all-ages clubs. Among those people was Chris Martignago, R.LUM.R’s now manager. The way R.LUM.R. tells it, Martignago served as a stabilizing force in his life. Not only did he let him crash on his couch for more than a year, but, and perhaps more importantly, Martignago actually believed in what his friend was doing.
“Chris was the first, literally before anyone else, Chris was the first,” he said. “Before my family, Chris was it.”
That faith in R.LUM.R’s talent was validated with the success of “Frustrated.” In March 2015, right around the time that the artist and his manager were driving to the South by Southwest Music conference — they went there to volunteer and to play music on the street — Spotify featured “Frustrated” on one of their “new music” playlists. It blew up.
“People listened to his song more in that one day than they had in that whole time it’d been up,” Martignago remembers.
As of this writing, “Frustrated” has more than ten million streams,. It’s a significant milestone in the young performer’s career, but it’s just one step of a longer journey.
“I think that’s the assumption that everybody makes, that just because he’s got ten million streams, that he’s massive already.” Martignago said, putting this newfound success into perspective.
“He’s like a baby. He’s still learning. Because in the grand scheme of things nobody knows who he is, he’s just getting started.”
So what’s the next move? Trying to build a new music scene in Nashville, Tennessee. When Martignago’s job relocated him to the country music capital of the world, he saw a perfect opportunity for his friend.
“I thought ‘how cool would it be to create something new in a town that is hungry for it,'” he recounts, explaining the line of reasoning he used to convince R.LUM.R. to relocate. “To be a forerunner and also be somebody that lifts the rest of that community and spotlight there is really cool music here that isn’t just country.”
As part of our Uncharted series, R.LUM.R. is also making a video for “Frustrated.” Uproxx and Honda teamed him up with filmmaker Dylan Reyes to make it happen.
“It’s a cool opportunity to get into visual representations of sound,” the artist said. “I think frustrated seems very visual to me, like a lyric ‘screaming underwater,’ that’s a picture to me.”
We’ll be bringing you the finished product in the coming days, so make sure you tune in.