Raleigh, who goes by the name of Jacob Anderson for acting duties, wears our Parklife clear suns and Rhapsody black optics in two exclusive films shot by the RANKIN team at the Hunger studios. Performing hit singles 'Blood Sport' and 'Stronger Than Ever', Raleigh took us on a journey with his vibrant and honest performances. Fresh off filming for the smash-hit series, Game Of Thrones as Grey Worm, and just before his debut performance at Glastonbury 2016, we caught up with Raleigh backstage for an exclusive interview.
Rice and peas, quinoa pot or a good old Sunday Roast?
Rice and peas, every time. I got so bored of roasts as a kid, I said to my mum ‘even if you’re having a roast, that’s fine but I’m not’… I had mac n cheese. What’s really nice though is Jamaican roast – it’s just a bit more seasoned that a British roast, I’d have that every week. I wouldn’t eat quinoa at the best of times.
Your music ref points are quite varied. Did music play a big part in your life growing up? What did your parents listen to?
It did massively, they both love music in different ways. My mum listens to a lot of dance music – she still goes out, we’ll probably cross over at Glastonbury, she can go harder than I do. My dad is closer to my taste, very eclectic. He’d play The Smiths and The Clash and then within 10 minutes he’d be playing some mad dub music.
While watching you perform, it really felt like you were taking us on a journey with you. Do you think your acting experience helps you when you’re performing?
I’d say if it does, it’s not consciously. I still feel nervous when I sing in front of people, like even today recording the videos, I still get nervous, but nerves are good because it shows you care. I think that’s why, it’s because I care – I want it to be good, and I have a fear of it not being good.
Nerves are essential, without nerves you’re probably becoming a little bit complacent.
When I’m singing I’m not acting it, I’m not trying to be demonstrative to people. I’m just trying to explain a story to people, even if I sing it a million times, my goal is that I want to explain to people how I felt at a certain time, or get across what the song means/why I wrote it. That’s the challenge, its like speaking to people through music. I’m never trying to be really passionate or honest, whatever comes out is real and that’s it. I just do it the way I’ve always done it; the only way I really know how to do it in that moment.
What’s your favourite hangout in London for a feed-up?
I love Joe’s Southern Chicken, they do good cocktails as well – I go there a lot, like a lot. Spitalfields Market is also a great hangout, so much good food.
If you could choose any music artist, deceased or alive, to cover your song Stronger Than Ever, who would you pick and why?
That’s a good question – I thought you were going in a predictable direction with that! I feel like Lily Allen would be a really good shout, she sings but she’s also got a good flow. Maybe Laura Marling actually, I’d love to see what she could do.
Any male covers?
Na, just me! [laughs]
What’s your favourite music venue in London to perform in?
So far in London, my favourite place has been The Forum in Kentish Town. I just did a show there in April and it was amazing, I loved doing that show. It was about 2300 people - the biggest show I’ve done in London, but yet it still felt intimate, it felt like we were all there together like a party.
Do you try and find a few people in the audience that you can spot and sing to or do you try and find everyone in the crowd?
Sure, I try and find everyone. Sometimes the people that are getting into it the most are the most encouraging, not distracting. I want to feel like I’ve made friends with the audience so they all feel comfortable to sing and dance along. I want everyone to feel equal by the end of the show; it’s not about ‘hey everyone, watch me’, it’s about all of us. I like the idea of every show being different too. I don’t really plan it, therefore inevitably things are different. My band are very reactive, they’re so good at following whatever I do – we all feel safe, and if we make mistakes it doesn’t matter because we turn it into something else and it always works. Nothing should be perfect, perfection is a weird thing to aim for. If you reach it, then where do you go afterwards?
If you could cover any Prince song, and which top 3 would they be?
I would cover I Wanna Be Your Lover, I Would Die For You – I love that song. And maybe When Doves Cry. It’s a hard question because when you cover any Prince song you can go wrong in so many ways, I’d hate to do a bad cover!
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