The art of truthful performance with R.LUM.R
by Tranelle Maner
For Florida-native Reggie Williams Jr., known professionally as R.LUM.R, music has always been about expression and identity.
As a young black male, Williams found himself constantly criticized by society for his character traits, hobbies and interests that differed from the norm or widely accepted in the culture. He described that time of adolescence as a lot of turmoil, and said that it was music that kept him grounded and allowed him to forget his troubles.
Now, as the Rolling Stone “artist to know” watch prepares for the release of his debut album he talks about his journey through music and his hopes for the future of the industry.
Williams said that when he was young he never considered music as a possible career choice. As he grew up he said that he had different genre influences through every phase of his life; elementary school, jazz; middle school; new metal, but it was in his early adulthood that his acquaintanceship with classical music began.
“I had the choice between football or an arts school and I made the choice,” he said. “I didn’t want to take orders from some coach guy, so art school it was.”
It was then that Williams began the music program at Manatee School for the Arts in Palmetto and chose his instrument — the classical guitar.
From that point forward Williams was invested in his music career and only continued to progress. As he got more serious about his craft he found himself recording in a studio at 14 with his friends in the summer and writing his own music.
After high school the former Bradenton resident found himself at FSU on a music scholarship, where he would eventually drop out to solely go after his dreams. The self-proclaimed outlier found himself in another rough spot when he took the leap to move out-of-state for the first time selecting Nashville as the root of development. It was his ups and downs in moving and starting life in Tennessee the inspired the lyrics behind his song “Frustration.”
“Once you get in the groove of everything you get comfortable,” said Williams about his life doing shows in Orlando, Gainesville and Jacksonville. “But, I knew I had the potential to do something great, so I had to go.”
He said that the real stress he wanted to portray to listeners is the internal conflict of feeling like the best thing to do for you is the hardest.
Most would be surprised by the raw emotion and vulnerability that Williams placed in one of his first mainstream records, but for him honesty and truth have never been a question in his music.
“In the same way that rappers rap about their lives, I don’t think I know anything other than honesty,” he said.
Williams said this is because of how he eased into the process from a young age and impressionable enough to be blind to the gravity of producing, writing and releasing music into the universe. Now that he is older, Williams said he feels like he is now put here as a service to provide the public with lessons.
“I want people to feel empathy,” Williams said. “I want to allow them to learn from others experiences and use that to learn about themselves.”
The R&B sensation is taking that same energy into the completion and release of his debut album this fall. He said that he is approaching it from the way of service and what his body and emotions are telling him to say. While he is letting the songwriting flow organically, he still had certain ideas he wanted to experiment with.
“There were two songs in particular that were the impetus to everything becoming clear, “ he said.
In terms of the future of his music, Williams said that he is open to letting all things happen in time. The singer quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson saying “Nature doesn’t rush, everything happens in its own time.”
“We as humans think we are above nature, but we have to remember that we’re a part of it,” he added.
Williams said that for the future his goals aren’t as tangible as most musicians. He said his major wish is to continue making music that is truth and that brings him peace.
“Regardless of if people love new singles or don’t, I can go to my grave knowing I didn’t lie,” he said.
His wish for the industry is to follow suit and become more transparent in their approach.
“I would like to see more honesty and less salesmanship in the industry as a whole,” WIlliams said. “To me there are so many truths to be told. I want to feel something that’s true.”