The prodigiously talented Rory Graham, nascent star-in-waiting Rag‘n'Bone Man has injected an exciting new twist into the blues music he grew up with in his 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.
Graham's many talents – versatile songwriter, powerhouse singer, conduit for and conveyor of myriad human emotions – led Columbia Records to sign him to the roster. Now, after a decade and a half of experimenting and learning, focusing and fine-tuning, Rag‘n'Bone Man is primed to become a household name. For his electrifying debut full-length, Human, he enlisted the talents of Mark Crew in Battersea, but also with other fresh producers. These include Two Inch Punch aka Ben Ash, who has worked in a co-songwriter/producer capacity for Sam Smith, Jesse Ware and Damon Albarn's Africa Express; and Jonny Coffer, another producer-cum-tunesmith whose CV ranges from Naughty Boy's "La La La" to tracks off the recent Beyoncé album.
Overseen by Cadenza (Lily Allen, Sean Paul) aka Oliver Rodigan, standout cut "Healed" is a brass-assisted, slo-mo R&B-gospel number concocted between London and Jamaica – a cultural collision, and a heartstring-tugging but quintessentially summery anthem. As an expression of mortal vulnerability, set to a stark chain-gang rhythm, eponymous lead single "Human" is almost impossible not to be moved or stopped dead in your tracks by. It's the song which fully encapsulates Graham's peculiar contradictions: his strength and his gentleness, his staggering vocal mastery yet intuitive soulfulness, his wisdom beyond his tender years.