Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

'No One Tells Me What to Do'

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

'No One Tells Me What to Do'

Article excerpt

IT was during the summer of 2016 that Rory Graham - aka British blues hero Rag'n'Bone Man - first had to deal with people stopping him in the street to ask for selfies. Struggling to cope with his new-found celebrity, the Brighton bluesman wondered if he should perhaps adopt a disguise the next time he stepped out in public. In the end, however, he concluded that no disguise could ever conceal his extremely distinctive appearance.

"I'm six foot six, with a massive beard and loads of tattoos," Graham chuckles. "I've had to accept that wherever I go, people are going to recognise me and take pictures. I was chatting with Dan, the singer from Bastille recently, and he was saying he can just pull on a hoodie and walk about at his own gigs and no-one will recognise him. I don't think that'd work for me though; no disguise is gonna hide me."

He's got a point. Rory Graham may crave anonymity, but 2017 - and next year too, by the looks of things - has only served to magnify his profile within the British pop landscape. Hot on the heels of being named British Breakthrough Act and Critics Choice at this year's BRIT Awards in February, Graham released his debut album, Human, to much critical acclaim - while also earning him the fastest-selling debut album by a male act since the start of the decade. Since then, he's been on numerous sell-out tours; slayed the UK summer festival circuit; and, most bizarrely, received gushing phone calls from Sir Elton John.

Graham, still somewhat disbelieving, recalls: "I don't usually answer unknown calls but when I did, it was, 'Darling, you are f***ing fabulous.' It was surreal. Elton just wanted to say how much he loved me."

Rory Graham's success may seem to have come overnight, but it is, in fact, the culmination of seven or eight years of hard work. Born in Uckfield, East Sussex, Graham has been a longstanding fixture on Brighton's small but vibrant hip-hop scene, collaborating with urban crew the Rum Committee. After creating a big industry buzz with his own blues-inspired material, he signed to Columbia in 2014 and, following the release of his massive single Human (No. …

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