Rory Charles Graham, also known as “Rag’n’Bone Man,” is a popular English singer and songwriter. He is best known for his hit single ‘Human,’ which earned a “double platinum” honor in the UK and a “platinum” honor in the US. The song was part of Rag’s debut album, ‘Human,’ which introduced Rag to nationwide success. Born and raised in East Sussex, Rag was interested in music since early childhood. Later, he joined a rap crew named ‘Rum Committee’ and worked with several emerging artists. In 2012, he released his debut EP, ‘Bluestown EP,’ after he joined the record label ‘High Focus.’ During the initial years of his career, Rag became hugely popular with the local pubs and youth clubs in and around his hometown of Uckfield. He continued to work with several semi-established musicians such as Vince Staples, Skunk Anansie, and Kate Tempest. His career received a major boost after he signed a record deal with ‘Columbia Records’ in 2016. His debut single, ‘Human,’ was released in July 2016 and was a huge success. The album of the same name was released in early 2017 and became an instant success, earning Rag several accolades.
Childhood & Early Life
Rag’n’Bone Man was born Rory Charles Graham, on January 29, 1985, in Uckfield, East Sussex, England. His father’s love for music inspired Rag to make a career in music. His father played the guitar and listened to different types of music. Thus, Rag was exposed to various genres of music since an early age.
At the age of 5, he started his career as an MC and sang with a local drum and bass crew. During those formative years, he drew inspiration from his favorite sitcom, ‘Steptoe and Son.’
In school, he was also interested in a lot of other artistic activities such as gardening and painting. However, he was not the best of students. He was a troublesome and mischievous child and showed no inclination toward academics. He was expelled from ‘King’s Academy Ringmer’ and then returned to his hometown and joined ‘Uckfield Community Technology College’ to complete his education.
With time, his love for music grew intense. He joined several local groups and learned the basics of music. He moved to Brighton, where his musical aspirations were encouraged.
Rag soon joined his friend Gi3mo’s rap group named ‘Rum Committee.’ ‘Rum Committee’ supported many new artists. Following his inclusion in the group, Rag’s career received a solid start.
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While working with ‘Rum Committee,’ Rag continued to polish his other musical skills, too. He did not want to limit himself to rapping. His father supported his son’s aspirations, and with his support, Rag managed to perform at a blues open-mic event at the age of 19. His baritone voice struck a chord with the listeners, and his performance was met with a thunderous applause.
By 2012, he had finished working on his debut EP, ‘Bluestown EP,’ which had Gi3mo producing the music. The blend of hip-hop and blues was a hit with the local pubs and youth clubs. Rag gained a decent fan base after the release of his EP.
Soon, a small-time record label named ‘High Focus’ offered Rag a contract. The contract had Rag working with several musicians such as Leaf Dog and Dirty Dike. He worked on their albums in 2013 and 2014, before he joined hands with popular record producer Mark Crew.
Mark was a known man in the UK music scene and was working with the popular band ‘Bastille’ when he got in touch with Rag. By then, American record labels had also begun to show interest in Rag and he was offered a contract by the American label ‘Warner Chappell.’
In 2014, Rag released his first big project, an EP titled ‘Wolves.’ It was a collaborative effort with Mark Crew and was released under ‘Best Laid Plan Records.’ The album consisted of nine tracks and featured several budding rappers of that time such as Vince Staples, Stig of the Dump, and Kate Tempest.
‘ Bastille’ featured Rag in a song named ‘Remains,’ which was included in the band’s third EP, ‘VS.’ This boosted Rag’s career in the UK music scene.
Apart from devoting time to collaborations, Rag also continued to work on his own projects. ‘Best Laid Plan Records’ released his next EP, ‘Disfigured.’ ‘Bitter End,’ a single from the album, was featured on ‘BBC Radio 1 Xtra.’
Soon, ‘Columbia Records’ signed a deal with Rag. This collaboration brought Rag worldwide success. In July 2016, Rag released a single titled ‘Human,’ which became an immediate success. It reached the top spots on the music charts of several European countries and was certified “gold” in many of them.
The song was picked up by the makers of the ‘Amazon Prime’ series ‘Oasis’ as the theme song of the series. The song was also used at the trailer launch of the video game ‘Mass Effect: Andromeda’ and in the TV series ‘Into the Badlands’ and ‘Inhumans.’
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In February 2017, Rag’s full-fledged album, ‘Human,’ was released. Apart from the lead single, ‘Human,’ another song from the album, ‘Skin,’ became highly successful. The album also featured musicians such as Mark Crew, Johnny Coffer, and Two Inch Punch.
Following its release, the album became a huge hit, both locally and internationally. It debuted at the top spot on the ‘UK Albums Chart’ and became the fastest-selling debut album by a male artist in the 2010s. Although critics had a mixed opinion about the album, listeners across the world loved it.
Rag appeared in the song ‘Broken People’ from the 2017 Will Smith-starrer ‘Bright,’ which was released worldwide on ‘Netflix.’ Rag also appeared in a single of the virtual band ‘Gorillaz’s fifth studio album, ‘Humanz,’ titled ‘The Apprentice.’
Awards & Honors
Rag’n’Bone Man’s debut album, ‘Human,’ received a warm reception worldwide. In 2017, it won the ‘British Album of the Year’ award at the ‘BBC Music Awards.’
The same year, Rag won the ‘British Breakthrough Act’ award and the ‘Choice Award’ at the ‘Brit Awards’ ceremony. He also ended up shining at the ‘MTV European Music Awards,’ where he was nominated for the ‘Best New Artist’ award and the ‘Best Push Artist’ award.
He won the ‘International Male Artist’ award and ‘International Newcomer’ award at the 2017 ‘Echo Awards’ in Germany. He was also honored in France, where he won the ‘NRJ Music Award’ for the ‘International Breakthrough Act’ for ‘Human.’
Rag’n’Bone Man is not married but is in a long-term relationship with Beth Rouy. The couple had a child in September 2017.
Rag has a keen interest in politics and can be seen making comments on political issues from time to time. In the 2017 ‘UK General Election,’ he was seen supporting ‘Labour Party’ candidate Jeremy Corbyn.
He acts as a patron of ‘AudioActive,’ a charity initiative that aims to provide young, creative people a chance to showcase their skills.