Ragz Originale; Nature Is Refreshing For The Soul
Have you ever felt someone’s presence in a room that they aren’t even in? To be in a space where the essence of the host’s personality lingers in the air. And be in an atmosphere where the curator had a vision of how he wanted you to feel. Assured that the tone was set with intent. Well on the 10th of October, I was invited to ‘Nature’ – the Album Listening Experience. By host Daniel, aka Ragz Originale, who I now admire.
Words: Hannah Olarewaju
It was a couple days before the actual album release, but from what I had already heard from the album, I expected nothing but good vibes. From the entrance of the venue, Giant Steps in Hackney Wick, you were greeted with words from the main man himself. “Nature is for forward thinkers.” The space was large and open, enough for the amount of people he had invited, with comfy chairs and trees all around. It certainly had a Nature feel. I arrived in time to listen to DJ Chloedees, my first of her and the first time I have witnessed a DJ using vinyls. And through observing her, I felt that her subtle disc changes and the songs she played contributed to the calm atmosphere that was in the room. With time, the room was filled, and the lights dimmed as Ragz stepped out. He gave a little speech, breaking down the motivation behind the project and what it means to him. And as the album played, there was a unifying image being carried out in front of us, as Ragz invited his friends to gather round him. I found this moment rather profound and inspiring, as I was witnessing true support and elevation. A moment I think, none of us could have prepared for.
But let’s take this back to 2016, when he released ‘En Route’ and the concept for this album was born. “En Route was the first song that had the blueprint of what I wanted my sound to be on this project.” He told me over the phone, weeks before the listening party took place. And with all clarity he explained to e why it took him nearly two years to create ‘Nature’. “I believe that some of the artists out today have a ‘if it’s not broke, why fix it’ mentality, so everyone’s just been following the same formula.” But Ragz knew he had to switch up the game and produce something different, one that was going to be refreshing in the current climate of music. “There’s enough songs about cars and getting money, girls or whatever. Where is the music about respecting women? About never giving up. Or just about positivity. Where’s that?” A question that both of us had to take a break and ponder
Throughout our conversation, which took many twists and turns. It was clear that to Ragz, music wasn’t a hobby or just a way to make money.
Music meant something and through it, he aims to make meaningful impacts. “When you do something well, it connects to people in a real way. People can feel when you are being genuine, and I want people to feel that way when they listen to Nature. I want people to know that I care about my lyrics and the message I’m putting out.” In his lyrics he speaks about common topics. Love and relationships. Motivation and making progress in life. All things that make him relatable and interesting as an artist. But his engaging word play keeps us intrigued for what he’s going to say next. Whether he’s advising you to trust no-one in ‘Proof Read’, or he’s spilling out his heart in ‘Endless’, he finds a way to connect with us listeners. “I mean every musician wants to do that. Make music that resonates with people. But I just don’t want to be a part of the noise. Just the noise in the scene right now. And I’m not putting anyone down, but I just knew I had to produce something different. I had to allow myself to experiment with music, no fear and no formula. I wanted to showcase that freedom and allow myself to have fun in the studio.”
There are various dynamics to this album that comes with each song. It has an edge that only comes when creating in a true, un-inhabited space. So it’s not surprising when Ragz shares with me how he made it in his secluded studio; in a shed at the bottom of a garden, alongside Kwes who he co-produced it with. This is an album that we both agreed was just right for the cold season we are heading into. Where you can just chill in your car with your windows steamed up, or with your babes indoors vibsing. With songs like Disaronno Straight, which will influence you to pull up in the pouring rain and declare your love. This project will encourage you to be expressive about how you feel and be loud with it. Which is where the admiration for Ragz comes from. Because to be confident with your feelings is a strength and not a weakness, which he demonstrates well throughout the project.
A strong debut from a great musician. We can only go up from here.
Listen to Nature Here