For many people, 2017 just was not their year. Wither politics, personal issues, or just worldly problems, the year was filled with a lot of darkness. However, I want to talk about a huge bright spot of the year, the music from Reginald Lamar Williams Jr., or as you may know him, R.LUM.R. I have gotten to know Reggie over the past two years; he is a staple in the Nashville music scene. Not only is he a classically trained acoustic guitarist, but he also loves anime, even studying Japanese as a second language during his time at Florida State University. With almost 1 Million monthly Spotify listeners, multiple cover spots on playlists, a SXSW headlining showcase, a spot on 2017’s ACL Lineup, and the release of his debut EP, Afterimage, we talk with R.LUM.R about his huge year and what is to come.
Wade: You have an awesome story, what was it like growing up in Florida and the music scene there.
R.LUM.R- Growing up in Florida, the scene there was a lot of hardcore music. It was challenging to be in a scene dominated by bands, but it was inspiring to be in a scene that was very DIY. I think that led to why I still do many things myself; I like to have my hand in everything. More specifically about my development, it was challenging but shaped me into what I am today.
Wade: What sparked your move to Nashville?
R.LUM.R- My lease was coming to an end in Orlando and I felt like there was just more to do with music. I started observing my friends and what they were doing in different scenes. I wanted to create and find a lane for myself. As much music as there is in Nashville, I didn’t see anyone doing what I wanted to do.
Wade: Afterimage, your first EP, just released in August. How long was the process making the EP and what were some of the biggest influences during the creation of it?
R.LUM.R- Self-observation, like watching how others and I interact with each other. Like how we come into contact with one another and where I am in that context. There was a little bit of difficulty fitting into a new city, new scene, and figuring out where I wanted to go. It took about a year. I got asked at a songwriting lecture at Vanderbilt the other day about how long it takes me to write a song. There just isn’t an answer for that. Sometimes I can write it, record it, and everything work the first time. But it sometimes takes weeks for one song. You just have to trust your instincts.
Wade: Describe to us what it was like getting that phone call to play Jimmy Kimmel Live.
R.LUM.R- I actually didn’t get the initial phone call, Chris called me, and with our history, it was just kind of cool. He’s been in bands and we’re both kind of living out our dreams with this. He called me and was so ecstatic to the point I had to tell him to calm down. I was in a rental car because I had just returned from tour and he told me to sit down, which I was. When someone tells you that, you know it’s going to be incredible news, or terrible news. He hit me with the information, and at first I was kind of numb, like you understand but I’m trying to understand the gravity of it all. I grew up watching Conan; I discovered a lot of my favorite artists from late night TV. So for me jumping into that canon was wild, I was approaching that level of those I admire so much. It was a process of absorbing it all. Like we were booking flights, ok were getting hotels, ok Jimmy wants to talk to you, ok take a picture with Jimmy, and I was like whoah, holy shit. Fun fact, Jimmy was super nice. He brought my entire team together to celebrate it. It was most exciting to see my entire team meeting each other for the first time. Like, wow, we did this together.
Wade: That was so cool. Just felt like a win here in Nashville. Like we all felt like it was small victory for the scene here.
R.LUM.R- It did feel that way. Sometimes these things create animosity and competition. But I heard from Melissa Mastrandonas about a party at Kenny Fleetwood’s house about like 18 people watching it together. Which is awesome, I had no clue until after. It was cool to see it unite others.
Wade: You just finished your tour with Phangs and will be heading out in February. Do you have a say in where you get to go?
R.LUM.R- Booking does do most of it, but I have input as well. I like to go to places where the fans are, I want to meet them. Going to places that have the feeling of support. We’ve seen it spread via word of mouth, other shows, and its wild seeing people want to be at these shows. Once we identify where, we go.
Wade: Describe to us what “Framily” is to you and the uniqueness of it.
R.LUM.R- It was something Chris Cline said and something I felt for a long time. If you’ve read about my past life, I was homeless, ran away from home, but the people who are always there for me were my friends. Those people became my family. The words friend and family, and actions of being a friend then supporting to a level of that like a family, is how that word shows via Framily. I see how our fans support each other, bring people, interact positively on Twitter, and we are seeing pictures of them together. Some kids made custom t-shirts, another got my signature tattooed, and it is just becoming bigger than I am. I feel like to unite these people in a meaningful way is to just say something that is distinctive in my family and that is framily.
2018 should be another prolific year for the R&B act. Billboard selected Afterimage as one of the top R&B albums off 2017. With a February tour, The Framily Matters Tour, with Gibbz, it’s going to be hard to miss him this year. I’m so pumped to see him at Hangout Music Festival in Alabama, and I have a good feeling we will see him at more festivals this summer and fall.