Who is AJR?

If you know me, then you know basically the only music I download is Taylor Swift or country… until I hopped into the Evolution Studios last semester. After a few days, the music started to grow on me and I can say I’m now a fan of alternative rock.

One of the first songs I turned up the studio volume for, is a song called Dear Winter by AJR. I immediately downloaded it. A few minutes later because of the delay to the world, my supportive mom, who tuned into her very nervous daughter everyday, texted me saying, “I love this song.” Like mother, like daughter, I guess. I had the song on repeat and by the end of the day, the lyrics were memorized along with downloading AJR’s other albums.

AJR is a trio of three brothers, Adam, Jack and Ryan Met from Manhattan, New York. They started creating music in 2005. From street performing in Central Park to opening for Demi Lovato and having their own sold out US Tour, AJR has worked hard to be where they are now. One of their first live shows, they played to three people and slowly built up their fanbase. There were definitely times when they thought music might not be the right career, but they kept going. 

They grew up listening to Simon & Garfunkel, The Beach Boys and other bands from the ’50’s and 60’s and also listening to modern hiphop artists such as Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar, which allowed them to continuously create new sounds.

The band’s first single, I’m Ready, released in the summer of 2013 followed by their EP a few months later when they signed to Warner Music Group. The second EP, Infinity, contains five tracks, released in 2014 and their debut album followed in 2015. During this time, Jack started to wear his mother’s bomber hat while performing, and still wears it to this day. This is definitely a staple to his look.

(@AJRBrothers / Twitter)

AJR released a single called Weak, in 2016, which they wrote in just a few hours. It has now been certified platinum in Canada, the U.S., Norway, Netherlands and Belgium as well as having over 500 million streams on Spotify.

Flash forward a few years, 100 Bad Days, the lead single to their unannounced album, Neotheater, released on January 30, 2019. The concept of the song is about how 100 bad days can lead to 100 good stories. The song has a large production aspect as well as a relatable concept, so it was perfect to be their lead single. In March, the band played the song on Jimmy Kimmel Live! It was also included in Taylor Swift’s Apple Music Playlist, “Playlist by ME!”

In an interview with Rollingstone, AJR says that the best way for them to write songs is to play Wii Tennis for twenty minutes, and most of the time, they have come up with a new song idea.

While they were in the writing process for this album, AJR went to school at Columbia to be around kids their own age because they had only been around adults and fans for the past few years touring. While at Columbia, Ryan asked a girl on a date and he was turned down. That night, he wrote Dear Winter. It’s a sad song written in a quirky way. For years, he has always wanted to name his son Winter but he just has to find his wife first.

Neotheater released on April 26 and debuted at number one on Billboard’s Top Alternative Albums, number one on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums as well as number eight on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums.

The band kept releasing music throughout 2020 as well as doing drive-in concerts for fans across the United States. They announced their fourth studio album, OK Orchestra, which is set to release on March 26. AJR’s song, Overture, is featured in Disney and Pixar’s Soul as the films main character, Joe, explains the love he has for music and piano. The band shared the exciting news on social media as their fans freaked out.

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