OJR—the initials of songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Oliver John-Rodgers—got his start self-recording indie-folk ballads as a student at New York University. Following the 2010 breakup of a short-lived pop group fronted by fellow NYU freshman Ryn Weaver, OJR took to releasing his raw solo efforts on Bandcamp, beginning with High School (2012), followed by Human Style later that year, and Lady Bushwick EP in 2013.
In 2014, OJR left the concrete jungles of Brooklyn for Paris, where he continued recording singer-songwriter material (à la Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes) on a 4-track recorder, before settling briefly in London. After several months abroad, OJR returned to New York, then quickly relocated to Nashville in October 2014. Drawing from his recent travels and eager to leave behind the quieter, mostly acoustic approach on which he fashioned his singer-songwriter identity to date, OJR soon began piecing together his next collection of songs: an ambitious rock-‘n’-roll full-length, self-produced entirely on the Apple software GarageBand, titled Nashville Demos (2015).
“Numb,” the album’s single, saw notable success on AAA radio throughout 2016, earning OJR opening slots for Grace Potter, The Black Angels, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Nada Surf, Galactic, and Railroad Earth—along with glowing coverage from NPR, and a placement on the Amazon Prime original series Sneaky Pete.
2017 saw OJR following up Nashville Demos with his first studio release, the Acid Cowboy EP.