AJR

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AJR
AJR performing "Bang!" in 2023. From left: Ryan playing a electronic keyboard, Jack singing, and Adam playing a bass guitar.
AJR performing in 2023. From left to right: Ryan Met, Jack Met, Adam Met
Background information
OriginNew York City, U.S.
Genres
DiscographyAJR discography
Years active2005–present
Labels
Members
  • Adam Met
  • Jack Met
  • Ryan Met
Websiteajrbrothers.com Edit this at Wikidata

AJR is an American indie pop band founded by brothers Adam, Jack, and Ryan Met (formerly Metzger), collectively a trio of vocalists, multi-instrumentalists, and songwriters.[1] The brothers grew up in New York City, primarily focused on busking and singing covers until releasing their first album, Living Room, on March 3, 2015.[2][3] As of 2024, they have produced and released five studio albums under the independent label AJR Productions to various record labels.[a]

The trio broke out with their song "I'm Ready". The song was their first Platinum in Australia and also served as a lead single to their debut album, Living Room (2015).[9] Their second album, The Click (2017), achieved one million album sales in America, making it AJR's first Platinum album; its singles "Weak" and "Burn the House Down" received triple and double Platinum (RIAA), respectively. Their co-written single on the album, "Sober Up" (featuring Rivers Cuomo), was certified single Platinum and reached number one on Billboard's Alternative Airplay chart.[10][11][12] AJR continued to build audience with a world tour, supported by their first Billboard 200 top-ten and third studio album, Neotheater (2019).[13][14] Two years later, AJR won a Billboard Music Award for Top Rock Song for their first Hot 100 top-ten single, "Bang!", which was a double Platinum single from their second Billboard 200 top-ten and fourth studio album, OK Orchestra (2021).[15][16][17] Prior to their fifth album, The Maybe Man (2023), AJR had over eleven million US digital single sales, which accounted for the five aforementioned songs, "100 Bad Days", and "Way Less Sad".[18][12] The Maybe Man spawned the song "Yes I'm a Mess"; it is the album's most successful single, which charted at number sixteen on NZ Hot Singles but not in the United States.[citation needed]

Career[edit]

2005–2013: Street performing and breakthrough with "I'm Ready"[edit]

Your early covers on YouTube were kind of what inspired me to get into making covers on my own ... your "Ho Hey" cover ... that was like one of the first covers that I saw that made me want to put out covers.

—Mendes

AJR, originally known as TB³,[b] began street performing in the parks of New York City on July 9, 2005.[20][21] Prior to releasing original music, they posted covers of popular songs onto YouTube, under the username of AJRbrothers. Jack revealed in 2017 that their cover of "Ho Hey" by the Lumineers later inspired pop singer Shawn Mendes to perform his own covers.[22] In 2012, AJR self-released their first and eponymous limited edition EP in CD format.[23]

In November 2012, Ryan tweeted a link to a video of their debut single, "I'm Ready", to about 80 celebrities, including Australian singer Sia.[24][25] Sia told her manager about the song, and he contacted Steve Greenberg, former president of Columbia Records and current CEO and founder of S-Curve Records, who now acts as their manager.[26][7] "I'm Ready", which features a sample of SpongeBob SquarePants repeatedly singing his catchphrase "I'm ready" from the eponymous animated series' premiere episode, was commercially released on August 22, 2013.[27][28][29] The song was placed in regular rotation on Sirius XM Radio's Top 20 on 20 and Hits 1 stations,[26] and they performed it on Good Day New York and VH1's Big Morning Buzz.[30] The official music video for "I'm Ready" premiered on VEVO on October 15, 2013.[31] It was certified Platinum in America and three times Platinum in Australia.[32][33]

2013–2016: Living Room and EPs[edit]

AJR on Border Crossings in 2015

AJR released their second EP, 6foot1, on December 20, 2013,[34] later being re-released as I'm Ready - EP via Warner Music Group on March 25, 2014. They were named Clear Channel's "Artist on the Rise" for the month of October 2013. By 2014, the band was named iHeartRadio's Artist of the Month for Top 40 in January.[35]

The band's third EP, Infinity, was released on September 23, 2014. It contains 5 tracks, including the lead single "Infinity". A lyric video directed and produced primarily by AJR was released for the single.[36] The EP was released instead of their debut album, Living Room, which was pushed back to a release date of March 3, 2015. The band expressed the delay in their debut album was because they wanted to add some of their newer music to the project.[37] On October 23, 2015, they released the individual single "Let the Games Begin".[38]

The brothers released their fourth EP, titled What Everyone's Thinking, on September 16, 2016, which features the singles "I'm Not Famous" and "Weak".[39] "Weak" has been certified Platinum in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and the US, generating over 250 million streams on Spotify in one year.[40]

2017–2018: The Click[edit]

AJR performing "Turning Out" at the White House in 2017

Their second studio album, The Click, was released on June 9, 2017, including the singles "Weak", "Drama", and "Sober Up" (featuring Rivers Cuomo). The featured single was both AJR and his first chart-topping song co-written by them;[41] atop Billboard's Alternative Airplay chart for two weeks in 2018, apart from his band Weezer.[42] The album, on the AJR Productions label, was released by BMG in the US, Ultra Records in Canada, Liberator Records in Australia/New Zealand, and Black Butter Records in the rest of the world, as were AJR's next two albums. The band's 2018 tour in support of the album, The Click Tour, featured Hundred Handed, Grizfolk, Ocean Park Standoff, and MAX as openers.[43]

An extended version of The Click was released on September 21, 2018. The Click (Deluxe Edition) included new tracks such as "Role Models", "Normal" and "Burn the House Down",[44] the latter which the band released in March 2018 as a single and reached number two on the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart.[45] Also included was "Pretender – Acoustic", an acoustic version of "Pretender", which was a collaboration between AJR, EDM artist Steve Aoki and American rapper Lil Yachty.[46]

Due to a resurgence in popularity after four years, AJR released a music video for the album's second track, "The Good Part".[47]

2019: Neotheater[edit]

AJR performing in Amsterdam in 2019

On January 30, 2019, AJR released the song "100 Bad Days", which would later become the lead single for Neotheater.[48] A music video for the single was released on March 7.[49] The song was additionally included on Taylor Swift's Apple Music playlist, "Playlist by ME!", in May 2019, with the pre-chorus' lyrics being used for Taylor's description of the playlist of songs she loves and appreciates.[50]

On March 10, the band announced their third studio album, Neotheater, which was to be released on April 26. On March 12, the promotional single "Birthday Party" was released and "100 Bad Days" was performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.[51] The second single, "Dear Winter", was released on April 5 alongside a music video.[52] After releasing on April 26, 2019, Neotheater debuted at number 8 on the US Billboard 200 and hit number one on Billboard's Top Rock Albums chart.[53][13] A show for the Neotheater World Tour was later sold out at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on October 5, 2019.[54]

On October 25, 2019, the group released "Dear Winter 2.0", re-imagining the song by "changing the production and upping the emotion".[55]

2020–2021: OK Orchestra[edit]

AJR performing "Bummerland" at "We the People" in 2021

"Bang!" was released as the lead single for the band's fourth studio album on February 12, 2020.[56] The song charted in the Billboard Hot 100 at number eight, making it AJR's first and only Hot 100 top-ten single.[15] The album's second single, "Bummerland", released on August 31, 2020,[57] later being performed by the band at the virtual concert "We the People" on January 17, 2021 for the inauguration of the 46th United States president Joe Biden.[58]

On December 22, 2020, AJR released "My Play" as the third single,[59] followed by "Way Less Sad" as the fourth single on February 17, 2021.[60] OK Orchestra was officially released on March 26, 2021,[61] with the Blue Man Group featuring on its ninth track, "Ordinaryish People".[62] At the 2021 Billboard Music Awards, "Bang!" received an award for winning "Top Rock Song", and they performed the song alongside "Way Less Sad".[17]

Following the release of OK Orchestra, AJR collaborated with the American bands Weezer and Daisy the Great, releasing a remix of Weezer's "All My Favorite Songs" on May 12, 2021,[63] and a remix of Daisy the Great's "Record Player" on August 31, 2021.[64]

2022–present: The Maybe Man[edit]

AJR on 96.5 TDY's interview in 2022

On April 22, 2022, the band announced that a new song would be released before the OK Orchestra Tour resumed. AJR signed to Mercury Records in May 2022,[65][66] and officially released the song "I Won't" through the label on July 29 with an accompanying music video.[67] On November 12, the band released a video teaser announcing their new album, abbreviated as TMM,[68] and released the follow-up single "The DJ Is Crying for Help" on November 18.[69] On January 27, 2023, Quinn XCII released "Too Late", featuring AJR.[70] The song appeared as track 7 on Quinn's fifth studio album, The People's Champ.[71] The single came after the cancellation of 2020's Everything Everywhere Tour, which would have seen both artists performing alongside each other.[72]

On April 21, 2023, the band released the album's third single, "The Dumb Song". The next day, a music video was released detailing the events of the one-and-a-half-year-long process of creating the song.[73] The band surprise released a lyric video for a new song titled "God Is Really Real" on July 3, detailing the brothers' relationship with their father, Gary, who was terminally ill at the time of its release.[74] The band announced later that day that Gary had died.[75] On August 28, AJR announced the album's title, The Maybe Man, with a release date of November 3. The album's tracklist and artwork was revealed on September 12, and the band released the fifth and final single "Yes I'm a Mess" on September 29 with a music video on October 25.[68][76] On October 11, 2023, AJR announced that the release date of The Maybe Man had been delayed by one week to November 10.[77] On November 8, 2023, AJR announced The Maybe Man Tour, the band's first arena tour, beginning in 2024.[78]

Personal life[edit]

The brothers are Jewish.[79] Their parents are Gary Metzger, an architect, and Laurie Marvald, who began her career as an architect, attending Cornell University, then moving on to entrepreneurship. Laurie created and was one of the original founding partners of AJR Productions, LLC. She held an executive and management role until 2022.[citation needed]

The three members of AJR grew up in Bayside, Queens, until moving to Chelsea, Manhattan, in 2001.[80] There, Jack attended the Professional Children's School in Manhattan.[81] Jack was a child actor, appearing in The Pink Panther 2 as well as an episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent.[26][82]

Adam received a BA from Columbia University, majoring in business and philosophy,[83] an MA from New York University,[84] and PhD in International Human Rights Law from the University of Birmingham, while Ryan and Jack studied film at Columbia University.[85][86][87]

Artistry[edit]

The brothers are singer-songwriter themselves.[88] Being known for as a DIY band, they emphasize writing, producing, and mixing all of their own music collaboratively from their living room studio.[89][1] AJR describes their musical style is a mixture of many different genres such as dubstep, doo-wop, hip-pop and theatrical musical like Broadway,[90][1] whereas the band has been categorized as indie pop by the news and magazine.[61][91]

Band members[edit]

AJR performing "World's Smallest Violin" with Arnetta Johnson and Chris Berry
AJR performing "World's Smallest Violin" with Arnetta Johnson and Chris Berry

AJR

  • Adam Met – vocals, bass guitar, sampler, percussion, programming
  • Jack Met – lead vocals, guitar, ukulele, sampler, melodica, drums, percussion, keyboards, banjo, synthesizers, cowbell, programming
  • Ryan Met – vocals, keyboards, ukulele, sampler, production, programming

Touring/session members

  • Arnetta Johnson – trumpet, keyboards[92][93]
  • Chris Berry – drums, percussion[93][94]
  • Ginny Luke – violin, strings[95]

Former touring member

  • JJ Kirkpatrick[94] – trumpet

Discography[edit]

Studio albums

Filmography[edit]

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2014 The X Factor Musical guest In Australian Season 6 [96]
Live with Kelly and Michael In Season 27 [97]
2016 Live with Kelly Episode 10 [98]
2017 Live with Kelly and Ryan
[99]
2018 [100]
2020 [101]
The Ellen DeGeneres Show Episode 2954 [102]
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Television special [103]
2021 iHeartRadio Jingle Ball [104]
NBC's New Year's Eve [105]
The Late Late Show with James Corden Episode 862 [106]
The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo Season 2 Episode 7 [107]
The Kelly Clarkson Show
[108]
2022 [109]
iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Television special [110]
Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve [111]
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
[112]
2023 [113]
Music Universe K-909 Korean Episode 18 [114]
Live with Kelly and Mark In Season 36 [115]
The Voice In Season 24 [116]
iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Television special [117]
2024 NHL Stadium Series Rangers-Islanders intermission [118]
The Kelly Clarkson Show Episode 791 [119]

Headlining tours[edit]

  • I'm Ready Tour (2014)[120]
  • The Infinity Tour (2014)[121]
  • Living Room Tour (2015)[122]
  • What Everyone's Thinking Tour Part I & II (2017)[123]
  • The Click Tour (2018)[124]
  • The Click Tour Part 2 (2018)[125]
  • Neotheater World Tour (2019)[94]
  • Neotheater World Tour Part II (2020) (cancelled due to COVID-19)[126]
  • Everything Everywhere Tour (2020) (cancelled due to COVID-19)[72]
  • OK Orchestra Tour (2021–2022)[127]
  • The Maybe Man Tour (2024)

COVID-19 concerts

  • A Night in Your Car with AJR (2020)[128]
  • One Spectacular Night (2020)[129]
  • One More Spectacular Night (2021) (rerun)[129]

On May 14, 2020, the band announced the cancellation of their upcoming tours due to the COVID-19 pandemic, stating via Twitter that "it’s more important to us that [our fans] are safe".[130]

On July 21, 2020, AJR announced their drive-in show, "A night in your car with AJR", which took place on August 19, 2020, in Philadelphia.[128] Two days later after the first show had sold out entirely, they announced a second show for Philadelphia which took place on August 20. The first show saw the debut of "Bummerland".[131]

On November 19, 2020, AJR announced their first virtual concert, AJR's One Spectacular Night, which took place on December 26, 2020. The livestream was interactive, allowing viewers to clap after songs and change the camera to both simulate a live concert and experiment with livestreaming.[129]

Opening acts[edit]

AJR opened for Andy Grammer, American Authors, Demi Lovato, Fifth Harmony, Fitz and the Tantrums, Hoodie Allen, Imagine Dragons, Ingrid Michaelson, Lindsey Stirling, Melanie Martinez, Sammy Adams, the Wanted, Train, and We the Kings.[132][39][133][134][135][136][137]

Philanthropy[edit]

  • On March 31, 2017, AJR released the charity single "It's On Us" to support sexual violence survivors across the United States.[138]
  • $1 from every tour ticket sold will go towards Planet Reimagined, a non-profit organization co-founded by Adam Met that trains the climate leaders of the future, teaching them how to combine thought and advocacy for measurable impact to fight the climate crisis and deliver fair solutions for people and the planet.[139]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ History:
  2. ^ lit.'Tapping Brothers to the Third Power'. It was also referenced in their music video "3 O'Clock Things".[19]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]