Photo by Stephanie Sian Smith, i-D.

Raury is too cool for school. Seriously.

Let that be the lesson here: Build up your fan base in your formative years. Finish high school. (Stay in school, kids.) Then get famous.

If you’re like 18-year-old Raury, you’ll gain fans for life while they’re young and still have decades of adoration left to give. Then you’ll earn your diploma, sign with a major label like Columbia Records, take over SXSW, and become friends with The Weeknd.

Devil's Whisper

A post shared by raury (@raury) on

It could be that Raury Tullis from Stone Mountain, Ga., is just a prodigy. He learned to play the guitar from YouTube videos when he was 11. Post-graduation and on his last birthday, he threw a concert called Raurfest in an abandoned industrial space. He came in fourth on BBC’s “Sound of 2015.”

The evidence continues to pile up.

Check out “Cigarette Song” from his debut EP, Indigo Child (2014):

Raury’s songs have a sound that’s more comprehensive than just pop hip-hop infused with soul. His voice just sounds thoughtful, and it’s so well-calibrated despite his youth. At times it’s calming and smooth. And sometimes it’s quietly powerful, elegiac.

“It’s all honest music,” he told BBC. “Everything comes from a real life experience – that’s why it has so much depth. …You’d be surprised by how many people out there just aren’t comfortable in their own skin. I just want to give my fans that.”

And though he released his first mixtape in August, that was just the beginning for Raury.

Last September, SBTRKT produced the song “Higher” featuring Raury on the album Wonder Where We Land (2014).

Also last year, Lorde commissioned Raury to write a song for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 (2014) soundtrack. “Lost Souls” was featured among other Lorde-curated songs from Kanye West, Tove Lo, and Haim.

And just this March, Raury performed “God’s Whisper” live at the mtvU Woodie Awards at SXSW, proving to be the unexpected young standout artist to watch – not just from the award show’s audience, but also SXSW as a whole.

This Friday, we can now expect Raury’s dynamic brand of showmanship in D.C. for the first time. You’re lucky because tickets are still on sale for the show at U Street Music Hall. Be quick, friends. They’re going quickly!

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Written by Mika

Writer/editor, reader, speeder, baker, eater, traveler, Hokie, Hoya, couch lounger, rabid music lover, spaz.

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