Rag ’N’ Bone man: There’s a lot that I need to say

Julie Adenuga spoke to BBC Sound of 2017 runner up, Rag ’N’ Bone man on Beats 1 about his current global success, European crowds, the new album and his upcoming tour.

On his global success across many countries with ‘Human'
It’s crazy. ‘Cos people say it - but it doesn’t set in because I’m not in those countries. So I don’t really know the reaction. I had a little glimpse of it when I was going through Hamburg airport and all the security are like ‘give me a high five!’. I’m like, ok - it’s different now. It’s mad that it’s this moment because I’ve been loads of different styles and I’ve done different things - but I kind of knew when I wrote this song, I was like ‘there’s something to this’.

On crowds across Europe
We played this festival in Holland. Lowlands Festival. It was my first time playing in that country, at a festival, and there were 6 thousand people waiting for me when I stepped on stage. They didn’t just turn up, they were there waiting.

On people continuing to get to know him and making music
There’s a lot that I need to say. I feel like I’ve only touched on a part of what I can do. I’ve put out hip hop stuff, I’ve put out real standard blues stuff. And now I’m doing a soul album and I don’t know what’s next. But I’m already thinking about the next thing. And I’m never going to stand in the same place.

On recording ‘Human’ the album
In 2016 I wrote a lot of the songs in a 6 month period. But some of the songs I wrote 4 years ago - they’ve been on another project and I feel like they deserve to be on the record.

On the core sound of ‘Human’ the album
What I wanted to achieve with the album… Whatever bells and whistles are on these tunes production-wise - because I love the production of them. But the question was with every song: can I sit down at a piano and play that song, and will people still get it? I need to know that they work as a song without anything else.

On his versatility on the album
I kind of feature on my own album almost. I did a song called ‘Ego’ - I didn’t write a second verse for it and I was like ‘no, I’m gonna write bars to this’. So I wrote a 16 to it. So I rapped a second verse… I’m featuring on my own record I guess.

On his UK tour in April
It’s kind of no-messing. It’s not about the look so much. It’s about me standing on stage honestly giving you the song with the feeling of the way I wrote them… It’s about the songs for me. It’s honest; I’m not trying to be flashy.