"I don’t like too much structure, I like a bit of chaos..." - hmv.com talks to Raleigh Ritchie
You’ll probably know him best for his role as Grey Worm, Daenerys Targaryen’s loyal unsullied soldier in Game Of Thrones, but actor Jacob Anderson is also a soul man. His debut album You’re A Man Now, Boy, which comes out under his stage moniker of Raleigh Ritchie, hits CD shelves today and we sat down with him to find out all about how it came together…
You’ve been working on You’re A Man Now, Boy for quite a while now, how long has it taken you to get to this point? Did working on Game Of Thrones hold it back?
“All in all it’s probably been four years, two years since I actually, consciously started working on an album. It’s taken as long as it’s needed to take really, Game Of Thrones is easy, I can work when I’m there, I can be feeding back on mixes and writing while I’m there. To be honest, if the label hadn’t given me a deadline I’d still be writing the album now.”
How many songs did you write for the album?
“Between 80 and 100. I went through everything I’d ever written. Once I knew what the album was going to be about thematically, it was a lot easier to distill down which tracks were going to fit and which ones wouldn’t. You’re working it out as you go along all the time, but it was very hard to settle on a final pick.”
You worked with a couple of different producers, like Sounwave and Chris Loco, how did you pick who to work with? Did you choose or were people suggested to you?
“I worked with a few people who were suggested to me, some of them didn’t work out, but the producers I did use are the ones I trust the most, the ones with whom I could be fluid. The five or six producers I use on the album are the ones I had the closest bonds with.”
You’ve got Stormzy on there too, was he fun to work with?
“It was a lot of fun, he’s a lot more special than people realise, people don’t know how good his singing voice is and how good he is at writing songs.”
Were you keen to just have the one collaboration on there?
“I was, but there were other people I reached out to, they just all said no. I didn’t want to replace them, so a few songs didn’t end up on the record, I didn’t want any collaborations for collaborations’ sake. I would have been happy for every track to have a guest, or none of them, just whatever the song suited.”
Can you sum up the album lyrically?
“Growing up is a big theme. I used to be a very insular person, kept to myself, didn’t go out much, but that was stifling my growth and since I’ve started to be more open and worked on my relationships. It’s about how your relationships contribute to your growth. I hope people find their own meaning in it though, all my favourite music that I think is really about me.”
Who are some of your favourite lyricists? Who do you look to?
“Morrissey. He’s a brilliant pop song writer hidden in very cool 80s rock, I think ‘This Charming Man’ is the best pop song ever written. Amy Winehouse, her writing is so open and trusting, she gave everything away. A huge one for me. The Maccabees too, Frank Ocean, there are lots of really good lyricists.”
What are your plans to take the album out live?
“So far I’ve got three UK shows and festivals, I’m looking forward to playing to people now they’ll know the songs, there are tracks I’ve been saving for so long that I can finally play.”
Will you take the album around the world?
“I’d love to, but it depends how the album does, playing abroad is expensive! I think we will do a European tour, but my life is never that simple. I’m all over the place, but I like it like that, I don’t like too much structure, when I’ve got commitments they tend to freak me out, I like a bit of chaos.”
Raleigh Ritchie’s debut album You’re A Man Now, Boy is out now and available to purchase here in hmv’s online store.