Raury Tullis is a man that has great recognition within the soul and hip-hop communities. After featuring on XXL’s Freshman Class, and dropping a full LP that broke the Billboard Top 100, it was easy to see why many people held so much promise towards this Atlanta native. After Raurys’ release of his album, Crystal Express, he proceeded to gain more followers by touring with Macklemore, and had his song “Gods Whisper” featured in multiple movie soundtracks including Lucy, American Honey, and Collide. This young musician had the potential to reach top stardom, but that wasn’t the plan he had in mind.
In early 2018, Raury announced that he had dropped his deal with Columbia records. His reason for doing so: “I’m sick and bored with everything these [record labels] have been offering fans. The fans are not having fun. The artist may love the fans but the management and label don’t. So the relationship between the fan and artist is built like god and a worshiper when it should be artist serving the people…I think the fan is worthy of more of an experience.”
I have heard of multiple reasons why an artist is dropped from a label; whether it is from poor sales, to not getting enough royalties for their songs. In this particular case, it is very rare when an artist voluntarily drops a label in order to grow closer with their followers – an almost unheard of reason.
Without the support of a major label at his side, Raury has gone off the map and traveled to the woods of Atlanta in order to make his latest album, The Woods. When traveling to his website, you will see a hefty, well written mission statement that explains his beliefs for The Woods movement. “The Woods is a walking reminder of our own liberation in a society that tries to force us into margins – We intend to spread the vibrations of love, celebration, and communion; leaving each stomping ground better than we found it and creating a ripple effect of love for you to spread into your own community.”
Raury has released this hefty 22 song album for free. While listening to The Woods, you can understand the empathy and love he is trying to describe in songs such as “Hisstory,” “Fountain of Youth,” and “Befo I’m 25.” With the love Raury is trying to convey, he also expresses deep emotional conflictions to the people closest to him. “Hisstory” is a perfect example of this depiction, as he is reflecting his own thoughts towards his childhood friends not smiling while they smoke, expressing that they aren’t happy with the path they chose. The album is both a personal reflection of the love he has for others, and a reflection of what love can do in other peoples’ lives if they let the emotion inside themselves.
The most genuine characteristic Raury possesses, which most artists can never truly find, is empathy. Giving out free shows to change people’s perspective of life, sharing free music with the world, having personal relationships with the fans that love him. All of these qualities are the greatest characteristics that one cannot be taught in the music industry. The positive findings that Raury shares with the world create a ripple effect with the people who listen to the same music around him.
Amidst his current state of self-reflection, Raury is embracing his roots and market himself in the most honest way he can. This soul/hip-hop/folk singer has been tweeting his fans locations to free, non-exclusive shows that embrace love, and express the power to change the world through music.
Raury’s next event will be his first ever fall event for The Woods project, titled Raurfire. This festival will consist of hand-picked artists Raury has discovered while traveling through the woods. The festival will also be played around a massive bonfire while having vegan friendly food options provided by local farms around the Atlanta area.
For more information about Raurfire, visit https://thewoods.world/ and witness how Raury marches to the beat of his own drum.