R.LUM.R Went From Sleeping On People’s Couches To Having More Than Ten Million Streams On Spotify

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.