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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 folksinger 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).
Nashville Demos proved to be OJR’s final DIY effort, as he followed that up with his first studio release, 2017’s Acid Cowboy EP: a blend of psych-rock and Americana, tracked to tape at Nashville's Welcome to 1979.