It's a bold artist who opens their first album with the line "I'm gonna live forever", and that's exactly how Raleigh Ritchie chooses to announce his arrival on ‘his debut album ‘You’re A Man Now, Boy’. But the initial bravado that explores the excesses of youth eventually gives way to a more settled, mature individual. In short, it’s about growing up. That’s not to say Ritchie is totally there yet: “People are telling me I’m a man but I so often still feel like a child. So it’s really about that feeling of being in between stages and grappling with getting older.”
Hits such as 'Stronger Than Ever' and 'Bloodsport' have meant Ritchie, real name Jacob Anderson, has amassed a passionate fan base. You only have to listen to ‘You’re A Man Now, Boy’ to realise how his unique blend of pop, soul, R&B, hip-hop and indie defies categorization. “I wanted to do something that had different flavours.. I never wanted to fit into a genre and don’t understand why you have to be. I’ve pushed against that since I started.”
A talented actor as well as musician, his history of working in both the audio and visual worlds might also explain why his tracks have been synced to ITV drama trailers, and why he was specially commissioned by Sky to write music to celebrate Lewis Hamilton becoming the Formula 1 world champion. You can even hear his original work in Craig Roberts' 2015 directorial debut ‘Just Jim’, starring Emile Hirsch. He also works closely with directors on his music videos and they have a striking cinematic edge. ‘Stay Inside’ sees him building an army of puppets while ‘The Greatest’ has him trapped in a party he can’t escape from.
Indeed, the excesses of partying is a theme that runs through the record. But it is something Ritchie has gotten out of his system now. “Like, you should be going out and doing all that but… you have to find a balance,” he says. “I hope the album is about balance. And I hope I find some balance from it.”