2, 4, 6, 8... we appreciate raury!
Raury's short but perfectly formed debut ‘Indigo Child’ is everything you’ve ever heard, and nothing you’ve ever heard. We give Raury the 2,4,6,8 treatment to find out all we need to know before he blows…
Stephanie Sian Smith
Watching 18 year-old Raury play at RED Gallery in Shoreditch recently was a revelation. "This has been the best show ever. Even if the rest of the show is shit, I don't care, this is the best show ever," he beams surveying the sold-out crowd. As he prowls the stage, doing covers of Bohemian Rhapsody and stagediving to his own tracks like the elegiac God's Whisper, his presence is overpowering. In person, as onstage, he's daring, curious, outrageous, pensive, excited, exceedingly confident and openly vulnerable. Meeting Raury feels similar to meeting a young Kanye West back in 2004; you just know this kid is going to be a huge, great, massive big star.
2 Cool Things that have happened to Raury recently
- He features on SBTRKT's new album Where We Land: "We were in New York and somebody had reached out from his management. They knew I was a fan of his and that I was in New York, so we met and talked for a long time. We were talking forever, about how alike we were. I respect him so much; he's a cool person."
- He met his hero, Kid Cudi, at Outkast's #ATLast festival recently. "Cudi's Man On The Moon is pretty much the reason I chased my dream, so that just goes to show you how you never know who your music is talking to and what it can do for them. I hope my music will do the same thing for other people too."
4 Things Raury learnt doing camp every summer
1. "I did a programme called C5 and it gave me a great appreciation for the world around me. You go out there into this huge national park in North Carolina, or wherever. You're there for two weeks straight and you have to hike 50 miles straight up and down mountains. There's coyotes at night and you're out there for so long and you come back to civilization and it's so black and white. You see the world with such different eyes and you know what really matters to you. You look at life in a profound way.
2. It changed my vision of the world. I went and gave a speech to kids because I just felt like the program breeds kids that want to make the world a better place. No matter what you do, when you're in that program you learn that you can do a lot of things that you never thought you could do.
3. Instead of going to a club, [in my videos], I'm showing the other spectrum of Atlanta, like the woods and Stone Mountain; the cool kids that like to do things with a lot more substance. It's not going to clubs and sitting down with your phone and lying about how you had a good time, sitting on Twitter the whole time in a club. It's against that culture, it's something totally different.
4. Me and my friends actually like to go on hikes. For the Cigarette Song we actually had to hike like three miles into the woods and probably like half a mile through the river, like waist high water. We had to get surfboards because the treehouse was on one side of the river and the cliff was on the other. We tried and swim across but there was a current... Every video, we've almost died in some way, something crazy always happens. But thanks to C5, I'm pretty good at survival now.
6 people that have influenced Raury
"I'm very aware that all art in some way shape or form is imitation, and I do draw on inspirations. As I grew up, I stumbled across my own inspirations, stuff that I discovered on my own; KiD CuDi, Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes... I love them, it's amazing, their stuff sounds like it could have been made in the 1800's. It's timeless. That's one thing, when I was making music, I was thinking of music that would be understood right now and understood in the future. I wanted it to be timeless, that's all that really mattered to me and I wanted to have a genuine sonic. That's why it took three years to make this EP.
8 facts about Raury…
1. His handwriting leaves a lot to be desired. "I can't write neat, handwriting wise. I've been picked out for having the handwriting of a serial killer."
2. The first song he wrote was at the age of 3. "I mean, I didn't actually write it cos I couldn't write then, but I made it up. It was called Oh Little Fishy and there was another song about my uncle which I got in trouble for.
3. He's 18, but the kid is smart. "I'm a creative, I consider myself beyond an artist. This is an age when people become more widespread with their abilities and capacity to do things to be in the industry. Kanye, as far as being an artist and a producer, he started a wave of other people exploring their entire artistic spectrum. We're in the Internet age of our generation and we are a whole new, different breed of people.
4. He's on the Hunger Games soundtrack, curated by Lorde, of whom he is a big fan. "I feel like the 'in' music is very different now. Due to people like Kanye, Tyler The Creator and Lorde, the world is ready to hear artists like me. Kanye established that you can do what ever you want, Tyler established that you can say whatever you want, Lorde established that you can be whoever you want, because she comes from such a humble place. 'We'll never be royals but we can still rule'. She empowers the normal person, and it's really great empowering music."
5. He's ambitious: "My main ambition is, in five to 10 years is to have tens of millions of people that feel like their lives are a lot different and a lot better because they heard my music."
6. His mum is on the album. "We have an argument. It's a legitimate argument that I recorded. Neither of us come out looking bad at all."
7. He's probably not going to make a trap album anytime soon…
"I create music to inspire the youth and everybody else that attaches to it. I want to inspire them to be better versions of themselves. There's a lot of music out now that is very powerful and has a very strong influence on the listeners. I feel like if you listen to something, you feed it to your mind and it becomes how you live, your morals. A lot of things out here that are on the top of the market, that are the coolest things right now, are very poisonous. I just want to be that good thing, you know. If it's telling a story for the sake of art and if it's the truth then it will never be poisonous. But if its just glorification of death, destruction, sex, I feel like it could be poisonous. Making all these guys believe that you can get on top of the world simply by selling cocaine, because they believe that that's cool and that's what marketable. That's what's going to get them to the top, that's what's going to get them paid, that's all they care about themselves. They don't realise they're ruining a lot of lives because people are listening to that.
8. Just call him Wayne Sleep (actually, probably don't)…
I took a ballet class the other day. When I hear such-and-such a person likes my music, it really motivates me to live up to that admiration, so I practice 8 hours a day for my show. In order to expand, I go and do stuff I've never done before. Just to learn. What would happen if my brain got hold of this or that? It's really cool.
Text Hattie Collins
Photography Stephanie Sian Smith