Rag'n'Bone Man performing in June 2017
|Rory Charles Graham|
29 January 1985|
Uckfield, East Sussex, England
Rory Charles Graham (born 29 January 1985), better known as Rag'n'Bone Man, is an English singer and songwriter, known for his deep, bass-baritone voice. His first hit single, "Human", was released in 2016, and his debut album of the same name was released in February 2017. At the 2017 Brit Awards, he was named British Breakthrough Act and received the Critics' Choice Award.
Rory Charles Graham was born on 29 January 1985 in Uckfield, East Sussex. He attended King's Academy Ringmer in Ringmer, from which he was expelled, and then enrolled at Uckfield College in his hometown. At the age of 5, he began MCing with a drum and bass crew using the handle Rag 'N' Bonez, inspired by watching repeats of the 1970s British sitcom Steptoe and Son. While at school, he was part of a group of youths supported by The Prince's Trust who developed a community project which involved painting and gardening in Crowborough.
When he moved to Brighton, his friend Gi3mo formed the rap group Rum Committee and invited him to join them. He started performing at Slip-jam B, where he met people who helped him start his career. Over the next few years, they supported hip hop artists Pharoahe Monch and KRS-One at Brighton's Concorde 2, and released their own album titled Boozetown (2012) through Bandcamp and other digital stores. Just weeks before the Rum Committee album release, Rory was asked to support Joan Armatrading at Brighton Dome. With no solo releases to his name to distribute on the night, he worked with Rum Committee producers Gi3mo and Sherlock Bones to create his first official release, the eight track Bluestown EP (2012), which included one feature from the rap artist Ceezlin. As his music career started in the local youth clubs and pubs of the area around Uckfield, he still returns to the area to perform.
In 2011, Rag'n'Bone Man started working with UK hip hop label High Focus, releasing a number of recordings with them such as a collaboration with MC/producer Leaf Dog titled Dog 'n Bone EP (2013) and a project with MC/producer Dirty Dike titled Put That Soul on Me (2014). Shortly afterwards, he began to collaborate with record producer Mark Crew, who at the time was working on Bastille's debut album Bad Blood. Rag'n'Bone Man signed a publishing deal with Warner Chappell in 2013.
In 2014, in collaboration with Mark Crew, Rag'n'Bone Man released the EP Wolves through Best Laid Plans Records, containing nine tracks with guests including rapper Vince Staples, Stig of the Dump, and Kate Tempest. Rag'n'Bone Man, along with Skunk Anansie, also featured on Bastille's third mixtape, VS., on the song "Remains". His follow-up in 2015, the Disfigured EP, was also released through Best Laid Plans Records. The lead track "Bitter End" was playlisted on BBC Radio 1 Xtra, and made it onto BBC Radio 1's "In New Music We Trust" playlist.
Rag'n'Bone Man's first hit single, "Human", was released on Columbia Records in July 2016. It peaked at number one in the Official Singles Charts in Austria, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland. It was certified Gold in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland. "Human" was used as the theme music to the Amazon Prime series Oasis, in the official launch trailer for the video game Mass Effect: Andromeda, in the trailer for the 2017 film Thank You for Your Service, in the television series Inhumans, and in the season 2 intro for the TV show Into the Badlands. The song Human was also used in the outro for Ash vs Evil Dead Season 3 Episode 9 as well as as the Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan series.
Rag'n'Bone Man's debut album, also titled Human, was released on 10 February 2017. The album opens with the song "Human", features the single "Skin", and has tracks produced by Mark Crew, Two Inch Punch, and Jonny Coffer. The album won the BBC Music Award for British Album of the Year in 2017 and he was nominated for Artist of the Year. Later in 2017, Rag'n'Bone Man collaborated with British virtual band Gorillaz, appearing on the song "The Apprentice" from the deluxe edition of their fifth studio album Humanz.
Graham and his girlfriend, Beth Rouy, had their first child together in September 2017.
Graham endorsed Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the 2017 UK general election. During an interview with Channel 4, he said he saw Corbyn as a "man that speaks with passion" and added that he could "relate to what [Corbyn] says and have never felt like that before".
Graham is a patron of the Brighton-based young people's music charity, AudioActive. In an official statement for the charity Graham declared "AudioActive are doing something to ensure that regardless of wealth or background, young people get a chance to be creative. I can't support that enough"
In 2017, Rag'n'Bone Man won the British Breakthrough Act and Choice Award at the 2017 Brit Awards. He also won International Newcomer and International Male Artist at the 2017 Echo Awards in Germany and was nominated for Best New Artist and Best Push Artist at the MTV European Music Awards 2017. and Révélation Internationale de l'année (International Breakthrough Act) at the NRJ Music Awards France in November 2017. At the 2018 Brit Awards, Rag'n'Bone Man was nominated for British Album of the Year and British Male Solo Artist, and won the award for British Single of the Year for "Human".