Almost 4 years in the making, Raleigh Ritchie, aka Jacob Anderson, has released the next single off his upcoming sophomore album, Andy. “Aristocrats” is a brand new socio-reflective R&B track with an accompanying music video developed and directed by Anderson that reimagines a more inclusive depiction of British aristocracy.
Since the release of his inaugural debut album, You’re A Man Now Boy, Raleigh Ritchie has quickly grown a cult following of devoted fans around the world. While some may be familiar with the singer-songwriters acting role as Grey Worm in the hit HBO series Game Of Thrones, it was Raleigh Ritchie fans who packed his last sold out show at Shepherds Bush Empire or erupted with excitement when he performed alongside Stormzy at Glastonbury in 2019.
"Aristocrats" is a showcase of Raleigh Ritchies' bold artistry and unwavering creative ambition. The towering self-reflective lyricism in this new release, blended with the complex soul and R&B production, is a whirlwind of sonic expression. The confessional style lyricism found throughout the track creates this feeling of direct dialogue with the listener. But this candid vocal delivery never stales. Each self-reflective or intimately expressed line flails masterfully alongside the fluctuating pace and rhythm. The multi-dimensional brilliance of "Aristocrats" can be found in the production though - Ritchie seamlessly weaves in a manipulated vocal harmony that keeps the fast-paced melody, alongside a feverish bass rhythm, sweeping orchestral sections, soul-crushing track pauses, and maybe even some dog barking?
The melodic intensity and purposefulness in "Aristocrats" is as admirable as it is endearing and the accompanying music video follows suit. The music video boldly explores a greater sense of identity within his own British culture. Over email, Anderson shared with EARMILK, "I used reference images of portraits. But bar one or two, they were all white." Never one to shy away from bold autoethnographic artwork, Anderson's curiosity led him further. "That's part of the point I was trying to make -- that those images are lost or that they never existed. But I don't believe that. Searching online, I found maybe only 10-20 images of black and brown people in non-servile positions. On the whole internet. The people existed, but the images don't."
The music video for "Aristocrats" reimagines the painfully pale depictions of British aristocracy that has, unfortunately, limited the greater view and experiences of other people that existed during that time. "It feels like there's a structural power that refuses to acknowledge entire swathes of British history. And that just gets passed down through time and gets regurgitated to children, and then their children, and so on until you honestly start to believe that your history is only slavery and servitude and pain," shares Anderson. "Your history is something that was done to you, and not something that was ever inclusive of you. But it's way more complicated than that still, obviously. "
I'd recommend to anyone to read Akala's Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire, Afua Hirsch's Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging, and David Olusoga's Black and British: A Forgotten History. - Raleigh Ritchie
The title of his upcoming twelve-track project, Andy, was taken from a nickname given to his grandfather and is an early indicator of how personal the themes and ideas expressed in this upcoming project is set to be. “Andy is a little wink to myself,” shares Anderson in a recent press release. “It’s saying, this is you speaking right now, this is you saying what you have to say.”