With his debut album Cloak dropping last week, we thought it'd be a good time to catch up with Jordan Rakei and get to know him a little better. Over the last couple of years, Rakei has perfected his groove-based R&B, jazz, hip-hop and soulful vocal sound to create his own unique take on what modern soul should like in 2016. As well as crafting his own music, Rakei also produces a podcast along with a tight-knit talented collective known as Are We Live, which consists of Tom Misch, Barney Artist, and Alfa Mist. Big things are happening for the Brisbane born artist and his first full-length sets the bar high for future releases. We'll speak a bit on the album later, for now, tuck into our short, but non the less revealing interview.
How have you personally and professionally grown following your move to London?
I've become more aware of how this industry works and have become more comfortable with myself. A lot of people over here try and make creating music a "business", but seeing the darker side has enabled more clarity and made me more driven. Personally, I've grown to be more accepting of people's ideas, and the concept of collaboration is welcomed.
How did you get involved with the excellent collection of artists that form the Are We Live crew?
When I moved to London, I got to meet them all quite early on, as I was relying on Twitter to find my new friends. We were hanging out often, and often going deep into some certain topics. I really enjoyed the chats and put forth the idea of creating an "artist roundtable" sort of vibe. The others mentioned turning it into a podcast, and we've been doing that ever since. Our output has been fairly stagnant recently as we've all had projects coming out, but we are really excited to get it back up and running.
Congrats on ‘Cloak'. Can you tell me about the title and why you chose it?
Cloak dictates the notion that we, as a people, hide behind this fake identity of self. We usually are engulfed by our ego, and in the process of writing this album, I was learning to let go of this conditioned mind. It's a commentary on duality and the experiences throughout my quest of self-discovery
Outside of music, what are your interests?
Music is a big part of my life, so it's hard to find something else that interests me. I love talking about things. Just things in general. Conversation is important to me, and I'm not a fan of small talk. I love Eastern Philosophy but dislike their ideologies towards a deity. They have amazing concepts about life and our paths that everyone should consider. I love watching sport as that was a big part of my life growing up. Rugby, Basketball, and Golf are all my favourites.
Finally, tell us something interesting about yourself?
I want to change the blueprint of how things work in this industry. It's not necessary to do things because others have done them. I want to create an awareness of young artists to go against the trend and create their own narrative. We hear this a lot, but usually, we aren't given the necessary information on how to go about doing so. I'm working on creating strategies that can enable artists to take risks without worrying about the consequence. At the end of the day it's art, and if we can drop the filter and truly create with no judgement, then we can achieve success. I'm passionate about this and will do all that I can to do so.
True to his word “Cloak” sees him taking risks and delving deeper into his creative well delivering a record that is everything I wanted it to be and much more.
It's soulful, experimental, and feels completely timeless. With this album, Raeki is wasting no time in evolving his sound and one thing that can be said about this album is that there's nothing else quite like it around at this time.
As Jordan explained in the recent “Uncloaked” documentary, his sound has developed and changed since the release of his two previously released EP's.
Usually I'm quite shy when I'm showing people my music...but when I play my album, it just speaks for itself because it covers so many sound palets. To people that have been following me for the past few years, this album will come as a surprise. You've got to take risks, and you've got to push yourself as an artist. I've definitely pushed some boundaries...
Some of my favourite tracks on the album are opener “Midnight Mischief,” “Rooftop,” “Sworn Enemy,” “Toko” featuring Richard Spaven plus recent single “Blame It On the Youth,” and closing song “Twoa”.
If you're digging the jazz/soul-inflected sound driven by artists like Jamie Woon and Nick Hakim then you'll enjoy this album.
Listen and keep up to date with Jordan by hitting the links here.