“Lonr. is going to be a problem in the R&B game, if he already isn’t.” – FLAUNT
“Get ready to witness the future of alternative R&B shift into hyperdrive” – Ones To Watch
“Emerging from under a quiet shroud of mystery, LONR decodes emotion out of unconventional instrumentation, nocturnal R&B production, and lyrical confessions. He arrives as a singular and cinematic talent whose vital and vibrant vision piques fascination as it blurs the lines between soul, soundtracks, and simmering alternative Hip-Hop.” – The Hype Magazine
Lonr. refuses to conform. The mere mention of labeling his music makes his stomach turn. “If we’re gonna name genres, we’ve got to name, like, seven,” the 24-year-old singer, songwriter, and producer says. “I am not in a box, and I never will be. I do hip-hop. I do rock. I do punk. I do grunge. I do indie. A little R&B. I do everything.” And he certainly poured his all into the new Land of Nothing Real 2 EP, on which elastic, genre-fluid songwriting is used to grapple with a lifetime of loneliness, of constantly feeling like his individuality was under siege. It’s an extension of his goals since he adopted the name Lonr.: To present a true and complete version of himself and to inspire others to do the same.
For the project, a follow up to 2020’s Land of Nothing Real, he wrote to diversify and elevate his sound, to appeal to as many types of people as possible. The punk-scuffed “Redlight” and the hypnotic ballad “Hi Lonr” were written in the same night but they sound like cuts from wildly different albums. The former features desperate vocals, finding strength in breaking through dead ends, while the latter is a love letter to himself that swells over syrupy beats. Elsewhere, he offers romantic hip-hop-infused songs like lead single “Read My Mind” featuring Yung Bleu, and “Cuffin” featuring Coi Leray. For Lonr., the variability of the songs is an honest reflection of his experiences—it’s hard to stay in one mood for too long.
“The songs are soundtracks to life,” he says. “I love to write about love. But I’m human. I have different emotions. I have different reactions to different things. I’m always thinking about the listener and what the climate might be for them, and I tie that into what I’m going through in the moment.”
Moving from Los Angeles to Onset, Massachusetts, at 8 years old introduced Lonr. (born Elijah Dias) to the harshness of the real world. There was a lack of diversity, to say the least. Racism and rejection followed, and he instinctively isolated himself. But music and poetry were constant companions. One day, Lonr. flipped on the television just as Babel was ending, and he was fascinated with the song that soundtracked it: composer Ryuichi Sakamoto’s “Bibo No Aozora.” “That shit hit me so hard—in the chest,” he recalls. “I didn’t know what this movie was. I didn’t know Sakamoto, but I was so inspired to create something that gave me that same feeling within my chest.” He got to work after his now-manager, Ant Bryant, downloaded music-making software onto his computer at the start of high school.
Kurt Cobain, André 3000, Drake, A$AP Rocky, and Tyler, the Creator, were also formative influences, though they motivated Lonr. in a different way. “All these people were outcasts at first and continued to push the envelope on who they were and what they wanted,” he says, later adding, “The idea behind my name and my vision is to push for people to trust within themselves. To make all their dreams reality, because everything that lives in our heads, everything we fantasize about, is what we truly want. Why not go for it?”
Rather than let his surroundings confine him, Lonr. started learning how to express himself more fully. He officially began this quest with his April 2020 EP, The Land of Nothing Real. It explored the unrivaled power of imagination, drawing on memories of his challenging upbringing. In 2017, long before anybody else heard it, the EP’s track “Time” caught the attention of H.E.R., which birthed a fruitful collaborative relationship that resulted in shared GRAMMY® Award nominations. Success bred hunger, and the pandemic crystalized Lonr.’s mission as a solo artist moving forward: He wanted to empower listeners to trust their intuition regardless of external circumstances. “It’s important for us to take a step back and really figure out what it is that we want to do with our lives, and quarantine offered a chance for me to do that,” he explains.
Now, as he readies The Land of Nothing Real 2, Lonr. is ready to share even more of himself, to present all the various sides of his personality and interests. Now that he’s received acclaim and validation from critics and fans, he doesn’t need to retreat into his imagination as much as he did as a kid in Cape Cod. But he remains driven by his hard-earned self-love. With The Land of Nothing Real 2, he is stepping into the world and reaching out his hand to offer the solace he’s found through his music to others. “I feel so comfortable being an outsider now because I have a platform to speak to those who feel the same way,” he emphasizes. “I want them to know that they’re heard. I want them to know that they’re not forgotten.”