Raury. He’s 18, he’s from Atlanta and he’s been backed up by big names in the biz such as Andre 3000 and Pharrell. His sound is powerful, new, enticing, and the name of his debut album Indigo Child, intriguing. Tracks like ‘God’s Whisper’ and ‘Cigarette Song’ are indicative of music that is sure to make a mark.
You wrote your first song at 3, ‘Little Fishy’, are you going to drop that in the future?
Absolutely, just waiting for the right moment.
So Raury, I hear you use to cut class, like we’ve all done. What didn’t you like about school?
I didn’t cut class that much till senior year. At that certain point I felt like I had figured a load of things out as far as what I wanted to do and I felt that school was a waste of time in terms of what I wanted to do. I carried on because I respect my Mom, and I didn’t want to drop out on her. At the same time I’m glad I got my qualifications and had the option to do to college if I had decided to because I have a natural curiosity towards anthropology – the development of mankind – and I realised how much of an anthropology undertone Indigo Child has.
I look at myself as a futurist. This project is much bigger than the music; it’s about me and my life. I’m really just curious about ‘Why are we here?’ and how can we exist here in a better way. That’s why I try to put out a lot of positivity in my music and try and affect a lot of my fans to be better , because I’m aware of how powerful it is. I just want to make the kind of music you digest in your mind and it causes you to believe in yourself more, and be more motivated in life, and feel uplifted! I want to make music that is good for the people and good for the soul.
Your music definitely has a philosophical element – you ask questions and that is thought provoking. Would you say society is very complacent?
Yes, people are waiting to be told what to do. And I think people value their profit and money more than those things that really matter – things with real substance.
Especially in America, and in Georgia where I am from, they just train you to be a worker. To do and repeat what you are told, like a parrot. I never took that much away from school, where I learnt most were my NC5 Foundation experiences.
The survival and trek programs right?
I took away so much – elements I could apply to my life and I was only there for a month but it taught me more than school ever did. I wore a hat throughout the whole experience and that’s why I wear the hat – it’s a reminder. What I learnt was, it’s not that hard to enjoy life.
I can definitely hear nature in your music. What was it like growing up in the Stone Mountain area, how does that play into your creativity?
Being out in the woods, walking countless miles gives you a lot of time to be alone and look within. Something really happens. It sounds so simple, and weird, but something really happens – you do figure things out. It’s amazing what you can teach yourself.
Stone Mountain is a lot more forestry than the harder part of Atlanta – its not as crowded. You can walk down streets for a long time and not see anybody. Living there just inspired me to appreciate the world more and care more for nature. In some way I want to inspire people to care for the world. I loved Amsterdam – everyone is riding a bike!
You talk about bringing creativity back to music. What is music missing at the moment?
It’s missing true, genuine, positive relevance to your life – that’s what music has been missing recently. Some stuff can be really groovy and you can jam to it, some music you can get drunk to it in the club to it and that’s what’s up. But which of these songs encourages you to go out and conquer the world? Which of these songs have the same effect as John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’? What happened to that kind of music? The kind that sounded awesome but wasn’t completely corny – that at the same time made living life more understandable but also pleasing to the ears. It is hard to do that without sounding really corny.
What music has been missing is someone who can successfully include something positive, with relevance and substance to someone’s life, and some goodness for the mind, and have it be for everybody to listen to, and enjoy universally.
You don’t have to dumb something down to be appealing universally. Indigo Project is an ode to your generation. Your music is intended to inspire – in what context? What issues do you feel we face to battle?
We need to learn to think for ourselves more. With that being said, the definition and concept of thinking for yourself can be skewed into just choosing what you want to do! I was thinking for myself at 9 years old – I was looking on the Internet for things that would help me be increasingly successful by the time I was 17. To think for yourself, first off, you need to believe in yourself. Many people are living their lives feeling that they are powerless and that nothing will happen unless it comes from someone else; say if someone helps them, or gives them that big shot. They need to realise they have the power to make themselves what they want to make themselves.
As far as an ode to my generation I want to bring awareness to the fact that we live in an era where we have unlimited information and we can become whatever the hell we want to become. Whether you start thinking about it when you’re 9, 17, 22…it’s not too late but you have to go through the motions and go through the steps.
At first I was just playing around on my guitar, formed a little band, then I met my manager when I was 15, and he was 19; he didn’t really know how to be a manager, and I didn’t know how to be an artist but we worked with each other and grew. What we had to do was think for ourselves and figure it out. I had to think – ‘What do I want to be known for? What message do I want to give out to my fans? What do I want to give them to believe in?’ So I thought about all of that and figured it out; I fought for myself. I just want to preach to my generation that you can be whatever you want to be as long as you go for it.
I feel that a lot of people don’t pursue careers like music because they’re told that it is highly unlikely that they’ll make it and they hear that so don’t believe they’ll be the one to make it so they quit. It’s not a luck thing, that’s what they need to know.
You make your own luck and only the tough ones stick it out. When did you first come across the concept of Indigo Children?
I stumbled across it on the Internet! It’s a new wave of youth coming towards the world who can influence it for the better – they’re aware of who they are very early. I felt I knew who I was at 9; I didn’t know I was an artist but I knew I wanted to be someone like either Michael Jackson, or Michael Jordan. Something of that greatness to the world that was loved that much by people, and would give that much love back. People who inspire me are Oprah, and Ellen Degeneres…people whom you just like!
I encourage people to not even listen to my definition of what Indigo Child is but to go out and find out their own truth about it. I can tell you what it is, but I could be wrong! People are so obsessed with being right and understanding what genre of music I’m making…people don’t like to be powerless and in regards to my project if they feel like they don’t know what the hell it is they’re offended because they don’t know what to call it. It’s strange how people want you to be original but still be one thing.
They want you to be original inside a box they can label?
Yeah, so I’m taking Andre 3000’s words to heart when he told me to fuck what everybody is saying and to go for it.
I don’t care what any critic has to say. I’m just making music and people who love it will love more and people who don’t like it will like it eventually!
It’s been a long process with this project – was it not scary at all to finally put the project out there or was it liberating?
Definitely liberating. I’ve always been in the mind-set that I don’t really care if you love it or hate it. I’m an artist and this is what I made. The reaction that it gets will be the reaction that it gets. I wasn’t really aware how weird and bizarre my music is to some people – its just the music I made, I didn’t realise it was so different.
Finally, what do you put into your live shows?
Something overwhelming and something that will leave you walking out of there a fan forever!
We’ll end with that powerful sentence.