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Loren Kramar Coalesces His Artistry With Our Current Climate To Create Visual MasterpiecesRead More
Loren Kramar Drops “Nuanced, Engrossing, Immersive” Chris Taylor-Produced Single “Cover Girl”Read More
For as long as he can remember, Loren Kramar has paid the keenest of attention to the smallest of details. As a child, the 31-year-old would watch Michael Jackson concert specials on HBO, snapping Polaroids of the screen at key moments. When the photos printed, he’d intricately mimic the pop legend’s autograph on them to pretend he’d been there, in-person, up-and-close to stardom—even going so far as charging friends $5 per as-request forgery as an eccentric side hustle. Years later, enrolled at New York City’s Cooper Union, Loren’s professors allowed him to focus his classwork on performance. To Loren, that meant getting to know each of his fellow students intimately, crafting monologues about them, performing and recording the works, and DJing the final product for his teachers and his classmates. “One of the through lines in my work has always been my obsession and fixation on intimate relationships,” he says. “I'm interested in the diaristic, the voyeuristic, and the deeply private.”
Those close to Loren call him inquisitive. He’s the type of person who asks questions and listens to the answers; he’s been this way as long as he can recall. “I remember being depressed over my spring break in first grade because I was going to be away from my crush, which was a boy,” he remembers. “I think knowing who I was from a very young age, and knowing that this was something that was not to be shared, made me an extremely critical observer. I became hypersensitive to my own actions and censoring them or modifying them for others. That translated into a fascination with the mechanics of other people.”
Making music came to Loren after he graduated. He’d always known he wanted to perform, but it took a failed attempt at running a magazine (“we basically made negative money,” he says with a laugh) to open his eyes to championing his own artistry instead of anyone else’s. Karaoke-ing his way around New York City—Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer” and Diane Birch’s rendition of Haddaway's “What Is Love” chief among them—Loren started putting pen to paper, on the advice of friends like Francis Starlite. “After all these years of growing up with the piano, and writing countless shit songs, suddenly music made sense to me,” he says.
Demos of early songs like “My Life”—an emotional, no-holds-barred piece of storytelling—caught the ear of record label executives, one of whom asked Loren if he could play it for Kanye West. A whirlwind trip to his hometown of Los Angeles ensued, bringing with it a record production deal and, quickly thereafter, a prominent Apple sync of “My Life” that catapulted the then-unknown artist to the national stage. “We weren't prepared,” he says of the sudden spotlight. “It was so much a cart before the horse moment. It suddenly created these expectations, ones I placed on myself, that I had to come out the gate with a certain level of quality. There was no time for the training wheels.”
Suddenly, music blogs were asking about him, wondering how an unknown, nearly unsigned new artist had cut the line. And it was happening at a time in music when the debate about indie music—what it meant, who had the right to label themselves as such, and most importantly, who didn’t—was raging as artists like Lana Del Rey burst onto the scene. “I don't blame people who were asking, ‘Who the fuck is Loren Kramar?’” he says with a smile. “I was figuring that out myself.”
So he locked himself away to write music and discover what he wanted to say as an artist. Now, he says, he knows the answer. “I want people to feel like I'm telling them something private,” he says. “I realized recently just how important it is to share an experience with somebody. I used to write that off. But now I really live for sitting at a piano with people who can hopefully share some sort of emotional reality that activates us all in these very specific and private ways.”
As a singer and a songwriter, that desire to unpeel our most intimate layers—laying bare the human experience for all to hear—percolates throughout Loren Kramar’s music. Songs like “Cover Girl” and “Let’s Go To My House” take a microscope to things like unrequited love, desire, uncertainty, escapism, and ambition. Others, like “How Am I Supposed to Dream?” and “Flowers,” position Loren’s compelling voice—a powerfully singular instrument that gains its strength in its own measured, purposeful restraint—front and center. They’re the type of songs he’s long dreamed of making. They’re inquisitive, just like he is, and they’ll stick with you long after you hear them.
Now living in Los Angeles full time, Loren says he’s ready for the world to discover the artist he’s discovered within himself over the past five years. “I reached a threshold in New York, where I realized that I didn’t want to think about myself in the context of a competitive community while I made this work,” he says. Foremost among his revelations? Loren’s queerness now lives in the forefront of his music, a conscious decision he says was necessitated by years of being forced to hide that truth from the world. “The sort of shut up and sing attitude affected me deeply, he says. “People didn’t want my songs to be overtly gay. I couldn’t use he/him pronouns. It's shameful and infuriating to listen to those voices, but the way that I feel now, after being forced to wait so many years to release my music? I will never let this happen again.”A visual artist as much as he is a musician, Loren is treating his artistic output like he would a painting or a drawing, he says. “There are ways to do this without the fantasy of the big sugar daddy in the sky who's going to come down and give me the major record deal and set me free,” he says, laughing. “I want it to feel very intentional. If I'm going to fight to get my music out into the world, I’d better be fighting for something that I really give a damn about. That intensity of purpose only makes me more confident in saying I don't give a shit if you think that this is too gay or too long or too obscure. Who gives a fuck?”
“I'm ready to start again, now,” he says after a pause. “I’m ready to start my career the way that I think I would have as a 20-year-old. This time, it’s for me.”