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PAUSE Meets: Raury
Interviewer: Johnson Gold // @Johnson_Gold
Photographer: Benjamin Glean // @BenjaminGleanPhotography
Stylist: Jay Hines // @Xyyx_
Assistant Stylist: Hayden Williams // @HaydWilliams
Assistant Photographer: Dylan Myers // @DylansCortex
Videographer: Mike Gripz // @SmithTownStudios
Sit down, relax and walk into the light as we introduce you to music’s rising mastermind, Raury, a super spiritual and stylish star that has a lot of words to vocally express and teach. We at PAUSE had an indepth conversation with this 19-year-old rising music guru about his musical upbringing in the digital age, everything we need to know about his new debut album All We Need and the story behind his iconic straw hat.
Being a rising artist in the digital age, tell me what it feels like to do what you love at your age?
I mean, to be at this point at 19-years-old is super dope but at the same time it’s completely terrifying. All my friends were just normal people just like me in high school, we just graduated and I just happen to do all kinds of pretty things. It is a base of alienation with just normal friends regardless of how well they understand or how close we are because no matter what you never understand what an artist is going through until you’re an artist yourself. There’s a lot of alienation along with the great things that come with it. I get to travel, see all kinds of places and I get to sing music for the rest of my life, that’s what I love.
How did you find your sound growing up, tell us about your musical upbringing?
My upbringing and my sound are two completely different things. I feel like I’m just a sponge, who can just fold into different sides and make it into whatever I want to make and I was blessed enough to listen to all types of things growing up, and not just be limited by radio in my home time. I’m just credited to the fact that kids like us, we grew up with the internet and we can listen to everything. Back in the early 2000s it would be more normal for someone to be like “I’m a Hip Hop person, I’m an RnB person, and I’m this person.” But even if I ask you right now what music do you listen to, you’ll be like “Oh, everything.” Everybody says everything now; times are different because of the internet.
Growing up with my older brother I was listening to a lot of 90s stuff like Sister Momma Downs to Linkin Park; I got put on top of all of that. Riding around with my mum, she always was playing like 45-year-old women music like all the Mary J. Blige [laughs], all the Keyshia Cole and all the Mariah Carey. She was a Tupac fanatic, when I was eight I was hearing all the Tupac music, he was one of the very first artists I really looked up to outside of Michael Jackson. You Know, Outkast and all the soulful stuff and all the cook outs that happened down in Georgia in the South, you know that’s a really big thing, family reunions, it happens all the time.
From all those artists you’ve mentioned, has there been one that has inspired your entire journey in music?
The one that has inspired me throughout my entire journey, has made an impression on me most greatly, is my folk-influence. I went to a camp where I learned a lot about life and never looked at life the same after leaving this camp. It was my first time stumbling across Bon Ive, Fleet Foxes and Lauryn Hill. I was at that camp for a month over night every summer until graduated and I learnt so many things. I was also learning how to play guitar at the time so it effected how I play a guitar and how I look at music.
“One album changed my life, ever since then I’ve always wanted to do that for other people for the rest of my life.”
Your new album is called “All We Need”, which launches October 16th, tell us what is the main message that the world needs from this album?
The main message, feeling and purpose that comes from this album, it all comes from my life story, everywhere that I come from and what I’m aiming to be because when I was 14-years-old I went through a very dark error, I was highly depressed. I didn’t like life that much; I didn’t like myself that much. My aunt had just passed away and I went through a lot of things and it was literally working on this album that had just turned it all around. Made me comfortable being in my own skin, made me comfortable with myself and made me confident to say you know if I get this I’m going to do music for the rest of my life. One album changed my life, ever since then I’ve always wanted to do that for other people for the rest of my life. With that being said, this album “All We Need” is for that 14-year-old right now, 19-year-old or that 22-year-old right now that very transitional point in their lives, and is just somewhat lost. Even I’m still lost and when you’re lost, it’s so easy to find yourself and identify yourself, making a home in that room of negativity and just resentment towards the world. Just to become this dark human being, who doesn’t believe in love and doesn’t f*ck with this and does drugs every night until he passes out. I want to put something out that helps kids find themselves in a lighter place and more place of self-belief like I did, a place of love for diversity and love for people.
Kids living in the internet age we’ve been seeing so many things, we’ve been experienced so much of the same sh*t for the past 10 years. A lot of us are growing increasing numb, I don’t know if you feel it or if I feel it, a lot of things come out and drop. I just don’t feel the same excitement as I feel, like sh*t Michael Jackson just dropped. Somebody gotta like inspire that excitement again, it’s not just one person that can do that. So I feel like I’m trying to give us “All We Need” is that refreshment and excitement.
In your song “Revolution” has a strong message, chanting “Lord save this burning earth” define what you believe is burning in this earth?
What’s burning in this earth? I mean, we have these internet kids growing up too fast, learning all of wrong things too quickly. Pretty much everything that was Proverbs in the revelation is going on right now. I’m a highly religious person; I believe all religions are the most things that talk about the same thing. I feel like, people like Donald Trump going for these positions of power and support, for that reflecting on my country, people are thinking his way, people are synchronizing into this mind set of separation or hatred and it could be because you were raised this way and your family was from the south side of Georgia, or southern America and this is how we think, or it could be from a flip side like a black kid, who has so much hatred for white people or Hispanics having complete hatred for somebody else. So much separation going on I just feel man, it’s only a matter of time that sh*t hit the fan, lord save this burning earth.
In the album you’ve collaborated with the likes of Big Krit, RZA & Tom Morello tell us how these collaborations came about?
Well the first feature was my best friend Nadia, first song “All We Need,” that’s when I first started working on the album. I worked with a lot of close friends. “Kingdom Come,” my friend Malik played the guitar. Naida, if you heard “Gods Whisper,” the vocal the plays behind, that’s her – she inspires me a lot. Big Krit, I reached out to him because southern artist and southern rappers they tend to be really stepped on and over looked because of their accent or honest disposition they take. I personally feel like Krit is up there with your Drakes, Kendricks and J. Cole and he definitely in your conversation and people really need to know. So I support my fellow southern artists that have a message too, he had something to say so I had to put him in there.
Also I’m a new artist, pretty much my first year but at the same time getting features isn’t necessarily the completely easiest thing for me because I’m new, I’m just now here, I’ve gotta earn my strategy. You already know the kind of music I already make so it’s like a lot of the big guys think this kid is a wild card let’s see what he is going to do before I work with him. These features more so came down to the people that wanted to work with me, knew what I was doing and saw eye to eye with my vision, they love it.
RZA was a person was that thought the world of me; he wanted to work with me and I love that whole era from the 90s. I wanted to bring that kind of energy into my album to begin with, so RZA was a great touch on CPU. With Tom Merello, I feel like his energy and the ethos with him on “Rage Against the Machine” and everything he did back then in the 90s, right of the back of the really dark era of music as far as Rock and Roll went. You know in the 80s it was all about sex, drugs and Rock and Roll but “Rage Against the Machine” they came out like no f*ck that we’re about this, we’re about revolution and expanding the mind. They were about to rage against the machine and I feel like now history is repeating itself. Now you have a bunch of kids like me who are coming out like you know f*ck that, we are about this; we are about that. But it’s not just me and it’s not just in Hip-Hop, its changes happening in pop and all this stuff. Now you have Lorde out here, Alessia Cara, Jaden and Willow, Joey Bada$$ and Chance the Rapper. Like this is the now and it’s a whole new leaf in music and Hip Hop.
Who would you like to collaborate with next?
Number one on my list is definitely Jay Electronica and Corinne Bailey Rae, two people I’d love to work with, dying to work with.
“I will pull up in a silk yellow button down shirt and drop a hard beat [laughs], I dress very spontaneously.”
Credits: Shirt: Rokit Vintage, Trousers: Rokit Vintage
Many artists have to find who they are through their journey, you seem to know who you are as an artist, you’ve got your own personal style – describe the way you dress?
I think I dress the same way I make music, most people say I have a very like down-to earth natural style because of my hat and bohemian trill sh*t. But at the same time, its 2015, you know what I mean and it’s not completely routed in that. I will pull up in a silk yellow button down shirt and drop a hard beat [laughs], I dress very spontaneously.
“There’s a very long story behind this hat and is something I’m honestly not afraid to admit as I’m completely emotionally attached to this hat, it’s a part of my childhood.”
Many artists are very quick to be renowned for one staple piece and yours seems to be your straw hat. Where did the straw hat spark from and why did you make this your look?
There’s a very long story behind this hat and is something I’m honestly not afraid to admit as I’m completely emotionally attached to this hat, it’s a part of my childhood. That camp that I went to it changed my view of life and how I look at music; while I was out there I wore this sun hat too. We would go out there and your camps would be the most hardcore activist college kids when you’re 12-years-old. They would teach you so many things about the drawbacks of hypercapitalism and be showing me how to grow things, how to use a campus and how to start a fire then at the end of your sessions they would send you out in the wild with your group. Your first year, you’re 12 and each year got more and more intense and the final one that I did I spent two weeks in Wyoming out there like, 50 mile hike and you’re sh*ting in the woods [laughs]. When I came back home man… life, I just felt like I walked out of a cave like welcome to the future. All this sh*t didn’t make sense honestly, coming back to the city and seeing everything perfectly designed. It tripped me out honestly; I didn’t look at life the same as I’ve never experienced happiness so pure again since I was out there. And that’s why I have so much appreciation for nature and that’s why I have this staple piece.
Credits: Hat: Raury’s Own, Levi Jeans: Rokit Vintage, Barbour Jacket: Rokit Vintage, Boots: Saint Laurent, T-Shirt: CMMN SWDN
You’ve collaborated with G-Star on an Eco-friendly range, tell us about the collection?
Yeah I collaborated with G-Star Raw for the Oceans, what they did; I think is the dopest thing because I feel like I would do that exactly, if I ever made clothes. They took plastic from the shores of the ocean, gathered tons of stuff, melted it down and recycled it into a thread that they make clothes out of. The clothes are softer than these jeans right here, it feels amazing. Yeah I definitely got on board with that, when I see someone doing something good at the same time sets the tone for you to do something for a more sustainable cause, I rock with that.
What advice would you give to another emerging artist trying to make music in this industry?
I would say the same thing Andre told me, he helped me so much on making this album. F*ck any president. Anything that comes before you, the history of your city or the history of whatever. Make what you want to make, make what is coming out of your soul. Don’t’ worry about how much money is coming or how people will look at you for making the songs the way you make them. Just make music and everybody else will make sense out of it. Honestly, if you ask me how I put All We Need together, I would say I don’t know. I just got in the studio with the right people and just worked.
Lastly, what is the future of music?
I’m the future of music.
“I’m the future of music.”
Download Raury’s album ‘All We Need’ here.