The Untold Truth Of AJR

The Met brothers — better known these days as indie pop band sensation AJR — first burst on to the scene in August 2013 with the release of their debut single "I'm Ready." Since then, the trio's meteoric rise to fame has been nothing short of impressive. But rest assured, the group also makes time to bask in the role of your average college student, which includes sleeping in late and grabbing food at only the best spots near campus. 

"When we're on tour we wake up every day at 5 a.m., so when we're here we like to sleep in," Ryan explained to The New York Times about making the most of his college days at Columbia University. "We'll sleep till like 10:30, then we always go to brunch at this good place called Community right near Columbia."

But, besides being college students by day and famous boy band members by night, what else is there to know about the widely known band of brothers? Keep reading after the jump to find out!

AJR got their start busking in NYC

In case you needed a friendly reminder: always, always be kind and generous to your local buskers! 

As reported by The New York Times, even successful brothers turned bandmates Adam, Jack, and Ryan Met of AJR got their start busking in New York City's Washington Square Park — a venture that proved to be so successful that they were able to use the proceeds to purchase their own recording equipment, which they in turn used to produce at least three of their albums, including "Living Room," "The Click," and "Neotheater." Not too shabby, eh?!

"Street performing in general was really amazing; it really prepared us for performing today in front of a bunch of people," Jack told "Trending 10" host Katie Van Buren (via Fuse.) "When people are walking by that couldn't care less that you're there, it's kind of the most nervous we've ever been,' he added.

We are willing to bet they would draw quite the crowd these days!

AJR played their first show to three audience members

While it's no secret that the indie pop band hails from rather humble beginnings, some might be interested to know that their first show was played to a whopping... three audience members.

During an interview with Elicit Magazine, the brothers opened up about what it was like playing to such an intimate audience. "Our manager said... wouldn't you love to see your favorite band where there are only a few other people in the audience?" Adam Met recalled about the experience. "We said, 'yeah, of course.' And those three people have been fans of us ever since," he proudly declared. 

Alas, it doesn't appear they have any issue filling seats these days. According to Walter Johnson High School Student Newspaper The Pitch, the band boasted a whopping 15,000 audience members at a show they played at The Nikon Theater in Jones Beach, New York. Wonder if they keep in touch with all of the fans from that show, too?

AJR performing live from their... living room?

Perhaps, most interesting about AJR's humble beginnings is the fact that they recorded and produced their very first album "Living Room" quite literally from the living room of their New York City apartment (per Niagara Frontier Publications) — a move that would later prepare them for the coronavirus pandemic.

During an interview with American Songwriter in April 2020, the band revealed how being shut inside their homes actually ended up giving them even more inspiration and creative direction. "We decided to every day constantly write and produce songs. And so it seems like now we're gearing towards making the next album," Ryan Met dished to the publication.

According to Jack Met, being forced to isolate was not that big of a transition for the group. "Ryan and I actually share an apartment. And this is where we actually write all of the songs that we've written so far for the last album," he explained, "so it hasn't really been that big of a change for us."

AJR's single 'I'm Ready' samples a song from 'SpongeBob SquarePants'

Did you know that AJR has a very special connection to Nickelodeon's famous cartoon "SpongeBob SquarePants?"

As reported by Daily Trojan the band's single "I'm Ready" actually samples a song from the iconic series. "It was actually Jack's idea — he came up with the idea to sample 'SpongeBob SquarePants.' He originally thought that an EDM artist should sample SpongeBob right before the big dubstep drop. And then we sat with it a couple times, and then we were like we need to do this. This is for us," Ryan Met confessed during the candid interview. "We wanted to make a song that just sounded so bizarre and weird that people would know that it couldn't have been made in a real studio but had to have been made in some guy's living room," he added. 

Perhaps most interesting, however, was how easy it was for the band to acquire the rights to use SpongeBob's likeness. "We're sure Nickelodeon didn't think much of it, and certainly didn't expect the song to be a hit. But we're not complaining!" the band joked about their luck during a performance at K945's I'm Ready for a Crazy Stupid Killer Summer Kickoff Party. 

AJR was discovered by Sia

AJR is forever indebted to accomplished singer and songwriter Sia.

As reported by Yahoo! Entertainment, it was the mysterious vocalist who stuck her neck out and was willing to give the up-and-coming band a chance when no one else was. "While Ryan and I were actually in a college class together [at Columbia University], we were tweeting out to a ton of different celebrities and Sia found the video," Adam Met recalled about the chance encounter. "She responded and she invited us to brunch with her. It was absolutely nuts. She covers her face for much of her videos, so we actually know what she looks like. She introduced us to a bunch of different people. We tweeted to about 100 celebrities on that first day, and Sia was the only one who responded," he dished. 

Now it appears they are Sia stans forever! "She's such a prolific songwriter. She gave us a lot of songwriting tips and even now we send her songs for feedback," Adam gushed about the professional connection they share with the powerhouse musician. What a journey!