Thirsty Thursday Featuring LJR
Thank you for chatting with us! What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given about pursuing a career in music? Marky Ramone told me after hopping on a plane that “if anyone ever tells you you can’t do something, tell them to go fuck themselves.” That’s the best advice I’ve gotten for music, and for life.
What song that you have recorded means the most to you and why? “Need a Little Lovin’” right now, though often it changes with “I Can’t Say.” “Need a Little Lovin’” because it was an opportunity to work with my college roommate Gurpreet Sarin to create something that embraced both of our cultures. This has a lot of deep meaning for me. In the church, and I will speak specifically to my experience as an evangelical Christian, you are brought up to be very much “us versus them.” While this is not always explicitly said, it is functionally understood at a deep level, especially when you are brought up in it and fully committed or “sold out“ as I was. This at its core drives a fear of others who are different because true acceptance of those “others” threatens the narrative you place your identity on. When my faith fell apart and I lost everything that made me who I was, I had the opportunity to rebuild as someone who would be different. I think that is a lot of why this song means so much to me; instead of seeing the rest of the world as people who need to change to be as I was, I can choose to celebrate the incredible beauty that is to be found in our diversity and common humanity.
You recently released your new single. Tell us about the writing process and where the idea came from. I wrote this song as I was dating someone wonderful but experiencing a sense of anxiety and caged-ness that I couldn’t escape from. She wasn’t the cause, but she was the trigger for unresolved issues going on inside of me where I wasn’t ready for a serious relationship because I needed to experience real freedom on my own first and find myself. Otherwise, real love, which requires a free giving away of some freedoms, to me felt like a cage. So this song is about that, and how at the same time as feeling that I also desperately needed and wanted that love. I wrote it as I was first developing my ultra high full voice that I never thought I could do, so that’s also a huge part of this song for me.
What’s the story behind your album’s title? The title, “When the Sky Began to Fall,” represents the destruction of my old world, the lens I used to depend on to feel I saw the world clearly and had a place in it. It felt like the entire sky was falling, that I would have nothing left if I truly followed the journey life was pushing me on. However, it’s only helped me to become more alive; I just had to let my old self die first and have that world ripped apart. One might even use the phrase “born again,” ironically (and somewhat beautifully), to describe it.
What is your favorite dish to cook? Right now it’s any type of pasta, especially with angel hair and Italian sausage.
What is one food that most people seem to like, but you cannot stand to eat. Olives. I keep trying them every seven years hoping my taste buds have changed and that I’ll like them but they’re always horrible.
If I was a bartender, what would you order? An old fashioned.
What is your favorite childhood cereal? Reese’s Puffs for sure, though we were rarely allowed to eat sugar cereal.
Finally, if you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why? Definitely Bullet Whiskey right now, that’s my go to for my old fashioneds I make at home.