“Heartbreak’s pretty widespread, innit?” quips the prodigiously talented Rory Graham, nascent star-in-waiting Rag‘n’Bone Man, with a mischievous grin. Graham has injected an exciting new twist into the blues music he grew up with in his parental home in East Sussex bringing it bang up to date using the beats and production methods of contemporary hip hop. Equally he resurrects age-old themes of loss and romantic pain with a voice so immediate, raw and expressive that it transfixes anyone in earshot with its sheer size and elemental power.
In person, Graham is the dictionary definition of a gentle giant. His appearance suggests one serious dude. He’s a big man, bearded and with tattoos, but instead of Hate and Love, he has the words Soul and Funk inked across his knuckles. “I could’ve had Drum and Bass,” he jokes, in his warm, softly spoken manner, “or maybe Jungle across both hands”.
When Rory sings, he connects with people on a level far from everyday banter. Onstage at his sold out Village Underground show in June ’16 his voice by turns silenced the room and brought it to fever pitch. During quieter songs, as his vast, soulful growl filled the venue, there were people literally crying. His unique delivery of often very personal songs has that effect on people, rare in today’s pop, something that can’t be taught in stage academies by vocal trainers. Rory has spent fifteen years learning to flex his considerable vocal muscles alone, using his own instincts and shaping his life experiences into stories that stretch those.
In a post-millennial culture where emerging talents are schooled from an increasingly young age, breeding a certain uniformity of phrasing and technique, Rag‘n’Bone Man arrives as an impulsive antidote, connecting with people on a more direct nigh on spiritual level. Still an obsessive consumer of music, Rory’s Everyman qualities reverberate in every note he sings.
As well as Soul and Funk, Rory has Star written all over him – an exceptionally warm and engaging guy with an astonishing natural gift. The world’s going to love getting to know him!