Battling Ed Sheeran on the top of the U.K. charts this past month has been Rag’n’Bone Man and his chart topping hit “Human” from his debut album. Even if you don’t recognize his name yet, you’ve likely heard his viral hit, “Human” on your favorite TV shows, the NCAA basketball promos, or blasting out of a stereo speaker. Rory Graham is a big man with an even bigger voice. The 32 year old U.K. bluesman looks like a lumberjack with a huge frame and a long beard, but it’s his soulful voice that truly captures your attention. Rag’n’Bone’s music takes on an uplifting spiritual tone when he attacks a song. How good is his voice? Sir Elton John called him up just to tell him how much he admired his voice. Rag’n’Bone Man’s debut album ranks as the biggest selling debut by a male artist this decade. That includes Sam Smith and yes, Ed Sheeran!
Rag’n’Bone Man was originally a hip hop artist who wanted to follow in the footsteps of rappers like KRS-One. He was accepted by the rap community as a part of a drum and bass crew called Rag’ N Bonez. Add in his love of old school soul music and blues and you can see the huge range of musical influences with this breakout new artist. Labels got excited about his potential after the release of his EP, Wolves, in 2014. When Columbia Records signed him, expectations were high for his potential given big time producers and the backing of a big label. They released the lead single “Human” in countries like Austria and Germany where it went straight to #1. That was the sign they were ready for a worldwide release and you can see the impact Rag’n’Bone Man has already made in just the first three months this year. Besides “Human”, take a listen to the second single “Skin”, a rousing anthem that will likely become an international smash follow-up hit. And one of my favorite tracks, “Bitter End”, a song with a little extra bite in the delivery.
“SKIN” – Rag’N’Bone Man