Artist on the Verge: Atlanta Singer-Songwriter-Producer Raury

"God's Whisper," the iconoclastic debut single from Raury, has got some big music industry names shouting. According to multiple sources, Loma Vista Recordings/Republic Records' Tom Whalley, booking firm The Agency Group, Interscope Records, XL Recordings and Rostrum Records have all shown interest in the Atlanta singer-songwriter-producer, whose confidence belies his 17 years.

"I'm going to be one of the greatest lyricists out here," he tells Billboard. "F-- it: I am one of the greatest lyricists out here."

"God's Whisper," the first single from Raury's forthcoming debut EP, "Indigo Child" (due this summer), blends hip-hop, rock and folk -- think Kid Cudi playing guitar at the campfire, backed by a church choir. The striking, beautifully shot video, which debuted March 19, shows a fashionably dressed Raury and his friends behaving badly in the suburbs of Atlanta.

"God's whisper is my intuition, my natural calling in life," says Raury of the song's meaning. "I'm spreading that message to others: You have that whisper in you."

Raury and his management team, Love Renaissance's Sean McNichol and Justice Baiden, have started bringing that message straight to fans with The Anti-Tour, an ongoing series of guerrilla-style outdoor shows in which Raury performs outside of someone else's concert "to steal fans." At the tour's first stop, on March 21, Raury began performing "God's Whisper" atop a truck in the parking lot of Atlanta venue The Tabernacle, where Odd Future was playing. Police shut it down almost immediately, to the dismay of a crowd chanting Raury's name.

"The idea was to go and get fans, not wait for them to come to us," says McNichol. "We are very aware of the type of individual that would be keen on Raury and his music; we just found a way to insert ourselves into their day. Giving someone an experience is the best way of getting the attention you want."

Soon after the video hit various music blogs, rapper Mac Miller reached out to Raury on Twitter to collaborate. "I like what he's doing and what he stands for," Miller tells Billboard. "The Anti-Tour is genius. He's making noise on and off the Internet; he's not just a hot download. He didn't try and get signed. He just released really good art." 

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