Once in a blue moon, there comes a point where a generational talent comes along that can’t help but be recognized and establishes themselves as it’s own powerful, musical entity. With a promising debut project, Indigo Child, young Atlanta-based artist Raury might embody just that.
With only two singles out for this project, Raury already had so much industry support and cosigns, from the likes of Kid Cudi, Wiz Khalia, Mac Miller, and he even had a meeting with the god himself, Kanye West. However, personally, industry cosigns don’t mean a whole lot to me anymore. I was more focused on the power and sheer talent that exuded out of his two singles, “God’s Whisper” and “Cigarette Song”. The former was the big internet smash that started to roll the ball for Raury, and boasts a big, choir like background refrain over interesting and empowering lyrics about following your calling, among other things. This youth-empowerment anthem was vast and arena-like in sound, and had the ability to linger in one’s head for longer than expected. It’s this quality in a lot of the songs off Indigo Child that makes it so interesting—the fact that Raury can make simple, straightforward messages but give them weight and life by the passion behind his vocals.
Take a standout song like “Superfly”, it has a very familiar but dynamic melody but has Raury taking it in a very different direction lyrically. Raury’s songwriting is layered and diverse and often reaches back for the emotion of empowerment. Throughout this project, the title Indigo Child takes life more and more as you get deeper into it. The concept of Indigo Children is a pseudoscientific New Age concept, as Wikipedia defines it, that revolves around children possessing supernatural or unusual powers. It becomes very clear throughout Indigo Child that Raury is indeed talking about his generation in a broad, visionary sense, and offers a sense of community and kinship with this generation, implying at times that change is possible through numbers, and unity. It is a project that definitely doesn’t bite off more than it can chew, however, because sonically it sounds very large and defining. Almost every song is making a statement or expressing raw emotions, and even the interludes share personal, passionate conversations between him and his mother about the line between his aspirations for music and his dreams and his real life priorities at the time. It is through these moments that Raury really tries to push the fact that not only is he a gifted, talented person who had to push through adversity and build support from the ground up, but he’s also implying that he’s not alone in doing so, and that the people he’s reaching can channel their inner Indigo Child, too.
Indigo Child is equally as indie rock as it is hip-hop and definitely sounds youthful in tone. This works to it’s advantage though, because over such lush, layered instrumentals, Raury’s youthful, revolutionary messages are a beautiful juxtaposition. “Wildfire” has him gently delivering strong sentiments over a hypnotizing, smooth guitar riff with a banging 808 not far behind. “Chariots of Fire” begins with a build-up almost identical to the Yeezus anthem “Black Skinhead”, but has Raury singing in a way that would make Freddie Mercury proud. The thing that starts to become evident, though, is that every comparison that could be made ends up sounding very obscure, and that is on purpose. Raury is definitely one of the most original artists i’ve heard in recent memory, and truly proves that the concept of terrestrial, coastal music is dead. Raury sounds nothing like anything else from Stone Mountain, Georgia, and seems to fit nicely in the lineage of artists like Kanye West, OutKast, Kid Cudi, and Childish Gambino.
In a sense, Indigo Child to me is everything 2014 was lacking; new, inspired sounds with a fresh prospective and fusion of sonics that has potential for both mass appeal and acclaim. Raury has me sitting here at my laptop confessing that the closest thing he sounds to is if Andre 3000 started an indie band with the dude from fun., a project like Indigo Child might just be in their discography. This project definitely isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t need to be. As a debut for a previously unknown artist, it is a great introduction and first chapter to the enigma of Raury, and truly feels like the set up for the dunk. After soaking in the glorious, ear-shredding guitar solo of the final track, “Seven Suns”, Raury boldly proclaims himself “I believe the world is in my hands” among a mantra of other empowering statements, making it seem as though his mind state and his talent is in perfect harmony. Indigo Child feels like it’s only the tip of the iceberg for Raury, and as good as his first impression was, I can’t wait to find out what’s next.