Rag ‘n’ Bone Man’s career couldn’t have got away to a brighter start.
The British soul man has the decade’s fastest-selling male solo debut in the U.K. with his album Human (Best Laid Plans/Columbia/Sony Music), and he’s guaranteed to come home with a prize from this Wednesday’s Brit Awards in London, where he’ll receive his Critics Choice honor. On the night he’ll join the likes of Adele, Florence + the Machine, Ellie Goulding and Sam Smith as a recipient of the U.K. industry’s top up-and-comer trophy. He’s also up for best British breakthrough act and he’s set to perform the album’s title track.
The singer and songwriter (born Rory Graham) has been clocking up the airmiles in support of Human, with a transatlantic promo sprint which has included a performance last week on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, an interview for Apple’s Beats 1 and a feature for the Beats by Dr. Dre Beat x Beat online series. Alongside his producer Two Inch Punch, Rag’n’Bone Man took the Beat x Beat cameras into the studio for an exclusive glimpse at the making of “Human,” which currently sits at No. 2 on the Official U.K. Singles Chart.
“The inspiration for ‘Human’ came from a conversation,” he explains in the Beat x Beat video. “We stumbled upon this question, sometimes you think a problem is a problem, when sometimes it isn’t. And it takes you to have a little step back and realize you might be a bit dramatic. Take a look around and see what’s going on in the world. Nine times out of 10 there’s somebody else with a much bigger problem.”
And in a separate, confessional chat with Beats 1 host Julie Adenuga, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man admits to the last time he bawled (“I don’t feel less masculine for crying at Aretha Franklin“), the last famous person he saw (Ed Sheeran, who visited him in France), the last time he was drunk (he soothed the nerves with a few drinks while shooting a TV show with Denzel Washington and Whoopi Goldberg), recalled a phone call from Elton John (“he didn’t have to do that, it made my day”) and recounted the moment he met Courtney Cox (“I did that sort of ‘hello,’ the really English sort of Hugh Grant ‘hello.’)
Human bowed at No. 1 in the U.K. on debut last week after outselling the rest of the top ten combined. It’s currently sitting at No. 1 on the midweek chart, with double the sales of the next best title.