One of the most awaited headliners of many world’s festivals is Rag’n’Bone Man, the author of the hit Human. The story of Briton Rory Charles Graham who has turned from a humble bluesman into one of the most successful artists in the world and few facts about his regular life – our article sheds the light of how much of «just a human after all» is he.
Voice of Rag’n’Bone Man can not be confused with anyone else. When you first hear the baritone of a musician – a velvet, pectoral, with a light manly roar – you imagine a stately romantic character. His bariton sometimes goes into the tenor – this is seen in the hit Human. In life everything is even more interesting: Rory is covered in tattoos, he has a piercing, a thick beard, shaved temples and thick chains around his neck – in general, he looks pretty brutal. The musician himself explains his love for tattoos, piercings and baggy clothes by the fact that at the age of 18 he was fond of hip-hop.
Rory Charles Graham’s favorite genres are blues and soul. In interviews, he recalls that as a teenager, he often listened to jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, and he learned vocal from Muddy Waters recordings. Rory’s father was taking him to the blues clubs in his native Sussex. It was the blues that helped Rory understand that music is his future. At 19, he went a to music club with friends, and once a boy dared to go up to the microphone and sing. It was a bluesman Robert Johnson song. “I used to sing, but it was rather squeaky,” the musician recalls in an interview with Interview magazine. “When I was 19 at a jam session in one of the clubs, I dared to sing. I don’t think I expected it to sound like that. A lot of guys came up to me and said: “You don’t know how good your voice is.” So it all began.
Rag’n’Bone Man’s very first EP was released in 2012, followed by the mini-album Wolves in 2014 that prestigious BBC Radio 1 immediately included into their list of songs. But it was in 2016 after the track Human was released that people started talking about the musician. The song got over 10 million views on YouTube, became platinum in Belgium and gold in Britain, Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands just in 3 months. “I realized that I was famous when I received a call from friends who were working at a construction site in Australia, and they said that they heard my track Human five times a day.”
- His life before music
Before becoming a musician, Rory worked in a boarding house for children with Down syndrome and Asperger for five years. His nephew also has this pathology, and it is precisely personal history that prompted Rory to become a tutor. In one interview, the musician admitted that if it were not for the music, he would still be working there, because this is “the most interesting job in the world.”
Rory Graham has many tattoos. If you look at his photo, two are striking: the words “soul” and “funk” on the knuckles. The musician made these tattoos at the age of 18: he was hanging out with bikers in Brighton, where he was living then, and he liked tattoos “love” and “death” on bikers’ fingers. But he didn’t want to get the same thing, so he immortalized two of his favorite musical genres on his fingers – funk and soul. One more fact: Rory also has a cat that he created the Instagram profile for – ragnbonecat.