The Art of Nothing Real With Lonr.

Image via Audible Treats

Lonr. – which is an acronym that stands for Land Of Nothing Real – leans into the aesthetics of escapism, creating opportunities for discourse on the different archetypes that exist in today’s world. He pays homage to his struggles in an effort to validate existing, marked by the desire to process emotion: “We’re people that are governed off of feelings and that’s what I’m tryna get back to.”

“Social media is guiding you away from who you truly want to be because everything online is a specific archetype, and your archetype isn’t always going to be in those binds,” Lonr. explains. He’s making a conscious effort to detach from the perilous (and highly addictive) power of social media. However, serious dives into his psyche also reveal that Lonr. is striving to reconcile with his inner voice, and he wants the rest of the world to find theirs. 

Land Of Nothing Real 2 is a cohesive body of work that flexes Lonr.’s natural ear for melody. It’s a varied affair, meant to be played in any setting, celebrating the multifariousness of his soundscape. His obsession with intimacy permeates the work, featuring staple tunes like “CUFFIN (feat. Coi Leray)” and “READ MY MIND (feat. Yung Bleu)” that basks in romanticism.

When trying to make sense of Lonr. (pronounced: Loner), you’re introduced to a young man with a lust for emotional intelligence. During our conversation, he injects depth into close-ended questions whenever possible. His universe is expanding, giving rise to a dreamy sense of belonging. And he’s just getting started.  

Who is Lonr.?

Lonr. is exactly the name. First and foremost, Lonr. is actually an acronym: it stands for Land of Nothing Real. It stems from – and I have to ask you, when you go on social media and you look around at everything that’s going on, what of it seems real to you? 

Nothing, it’s all a facade. 

Exactly. When you see a dude with all the money and cars, that guy probably leased the shit. When you see a couple that’s happy and doing things on social media, you never know what’s happening behind closed doors. When I see stuff like that and I’m around that community, I don’t really know what to believe in so I stay in my own world because everything around me isn’t real anyways. Who I am as a person, who I am as an artist, is just really tryna build a community of people who really want to feel something authentic, something that isn’t being thrown in your face everyday. For example, “Make the Most,” that was a song that I threw out there, something that was outside of the norm with a little bit of substance in it – something that could shake the current vibrations that are out. 

Is music a form of catharsis (cleansing, laying it all on the table) for you? 

That’s exactly what it is, a means of therapy for me. I think that’s what music has always been: a means to escape from your reality. In all times of man, we’ve dealt with hardships. Whenever music was created, that was our way through art, through expression, to you know, get over it (and get through it). When I create my music, that’s exactly where I’m coming from – a place where you can escape to and get away from the stuff that doesn’t feel real anymore. That’s really what I’m about. 

What keeps you fresh, inspired? 

When I go into studio sessions, I go in based off of the feelings that I’m currently feeling at bay. Whatever I’m going through at the moment, whatever I’m going through that week, I let it out, and most times it comes out in this form of healing. I’m an unruly person. I’m a person that’s going off of the moment, going off of feeling. We’re people that are governed off of feelings and that’s what I’m tryna get back to, feeling everything and going based on that. 

With being so emotionally invested in your creative process, does that put a strain on your creative psyche? 

Really, no. When you’re getting to the art of things and explaining how you feel, it’s really not analytical: it’s all feeling. It’s your first instinct. It’s something that you see and it comes along, and right when you see it, you know it. What was the feeling that you felt when you first heard the song “Make the Most”? 

I was in the car with my dad, and it honestly made me question if I was ready to settle down.

Those feelings that you initially felt from that song, that mustered out of thin air. If you were to have that conversation about life with your father, or your homies, they’re going to come into the conversation with their own perspective and that might turn you away from that first feeling that you had. Everything that I do, everything that I pick (when it comes to the cover art or the hi-hat), I’m not so well-versed. I didn’t go to school, I’m not this music theory genius when it comes to creating. Everything that I do is solely based on feeling and if it comes together right, then you have a piece of art like “Make the Most.” Obviously, we’re not just running around rampant trying to throw shit together. Everything is structured, but to follow your voice within is what I’m completely about. When we see these things on social media, when we see these things that are the complete opposite of what’s actually happening, it’s taking us away from that first voice: the thing that tells you who exactly you are. Social media is guiding you away from who you truly want to be because everything online is a specific archetype, and your archetype isn’t always going to be in those binds. I’m a loner because I don’t want to fit into anyone’s archetype. That goes to say about my music, whether it’s r&b, rock, hip-hop, this, that, or the other, that’s my archetype and I just want everyone else to believe in theirs. 

What advice would you give someone who struggles with listening to their inner voice? 

You have to continue to struggle. The longer you do and the more you do, you’ll continue to find people that are just like you, struggling in the same way. The more you’re going to reconcile with yourself. The more you’re going to validate how you feel. You know how people say if you’re in a relationship too much you have to get out of a relationship to really realize what it is that you like and who you are as a person. You have to take a step back and assess. 

There’s power in struggling is what you’re saying? 

Yes. And with that struggle, it always seems like it’s not worth it because you’re constantly walking up an escalator, but eventually you’re going to realize that you gotta walk down that bitch (laughs). Without adversity, there is no growth. We don’t strive for greatness without adversity. Without something to overcome, you’re just going to be complacent, content with where you are. If you continue to strive for greatness in whatever it is you’re striving for, greatness will come. Just continue to run up the escalator.

Do you consider writing as the most liberating form of expression for you?

I think writing is. Even if you’re going to write a letter that you’re not going to send, getting it out on paper and validating it is very important. I don’t really know the psychology behind it but whenever I get my feelings out on paper, even when I structure it into a whole song, it’s liberating. It’s the same as going to a psychiatrist. You’re getting out how you feel and not bottling things in. I speak with confidence on those things because I’ve spent so much time on the outside. I’ve spent so much time as a loner to really understand at this age that everything I was shameful of, things that I might not have been confident in, those things are attributes of mine that make me who I am, and that’s a beautiful thing.

Are you okay with being alone, though? 

Yeah, I love it. There’s a difference between being alone and lonely. You could be alone and chilling, watching a movie by yourself and not feel anything. You got a blunt, your favorite snack and a movie, and you’re good. You could also be lonely and have all those things, and not feel okay about it. It’s ups and downs, it’s like the stock market. 

Talk to me about a movie called Reminiscence

My good friend Jeff Gitelman, a great guitarist and producer. I had a session with him one day and he told me that he had a song that could be pitched for the trailer of a movie. He pretty much told me to go hop in the booth and see what I could come up with. As we were getting the mic ready, we were just testing it out and I started to hum what would later become the hook, and he was like, ‘Wait, before you go in, let me play you the trailer so you can know what the movie is about because what you just hummed is exactly what we needed for the movie.’ We went back in, watched it, and I got the whole premise of the movie. I go do my takes, write the song, send it to the director (Lisa Joy). She said she had been going through hundreds of songs and nothing felt right, but right when she heard that song, right when she heard the guitar come in, she knew that was the one. We met up with them, and then she talked about doing a music video, etc. I just got a huge connection with a bunch of people off of one song. It was a beautiful moment.

Can we expect more acting gigs from you?

Hell yeah, I wanna act. I’ve always wanted to act. It’s fun as hell. I lowkey have always wanted to be in an action movie. Before I wanted to be an artist, I wanted to be a stunt double because I felt like that was my way to be on set. I started doing music off of music scores. I heard this music score way back in elementary school, and ever since I heard it, I wanted to recreate something like it. To go full circle to 24 and actually having my voice in a song was pretty sick. 

What has your Grammy-award winning status done for your ego? 

I’m nominated for two more this year. 

Wait, you’re 24-years-old, with two Grammy’s to your name. And now, you’re nominated for two more? That’s insane, congratulations. 

Yessir, thank you. It makes me feel happy because I’ve never been the type to validate myself. I’ve always pushed myself to be more. When I see that, it feels great, but now I have to get one in my name. That’s on the writing tip, but now we have to get the Grammy in Lonr.’s name. It really pushes me in my head. I gotta push myself to do something better. 

Is the Grammy win your crème de la crème of bucket list accomplishments as an artist, or what’s next for you?

Grammys’ is definitely the crème de la crème, but getting invited on some regular shit, or having a cocktail at Drake’s house, or Kanye’s house (laughs). When you hooping with Drake, that’s when you know you’re certified. 

About the Author

Derrius Edwards
Derrius is a music industry professional with experience in content strategy and editorial writing, sharing relevant and resonating stories as a conduit for hip-hop culture advancement.

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