There is no doubt that media carries a heavy influence. It tells us what to say, what to wear, and who to be, and more than we’d like to admit it, we listen. In a society where media is our insight to virtually everything, how does an artist bypass it and still succeed? Well, you might want to ask Allan Rayman. He lets the music speak for itself, and if you haven’t heard of the undeniable talent yet, we’ll be happy to catch you up.
Allan Rayman is an R&B soul singer who seems to be the unspoken whisper on everyone’s lips. He doesn’t do interviews, gives no explanations for projects, and it’s virtually impossible to find a live video of him online. He’s a minimalist with his social media accounts and website and doesn’t carry a large following on either, despite the fact that he has 500,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.
Ones To Watch has been swooning over the mysterious singer since the release of his first single, “Lucy The Tease,” and we’ve recently been blessed with a deluxe version of his album, Hotel Allan.
We’re so intrigued by Rayman that we decided to compile a list of 10 things we do know about the artist. Let’s review:
1. He is from Lost Springs, Wyoming but currently resides in Toronto.
To provide some context, Rayman is from a town that, as of 2010, has four people living in it. Four. His hometown may be more of a mystery than he is.
2. He’s a different kind of R&B singer.
Rayman’s music is cryptic, personal, and unlike any other R&B music we’ve heard. While Rayman’s popular track “Tennessee” is believed to be his best, I was first intrigued by “Beverly.” The beginning feels like an old-school hip-hop song, reminiscent of “The Message” from Grandmaster Flash. But Allan’s scratchy, raspy, and folky vocals kick in and it’s entirely his own, and that’s a trait that flows throughout Allan’s first album. While the foundation is very much R&B, it is Rayman’s vocals that infuse a smokiness that sets him apart from fellow genre leaders like The Weeknd, Bryson Tiller, and Zayn.
3. Rayman owes his career to himself.
Rayman does it all. Writing, producing, you name it, everything creative comes straight from his mind, including his films. That brings us to our next point.
4. He doesn’t make music videos. He creates films.
The only credible video content you’ll find of Rayman on the internet are the films he creates to accompany his songs. Not music videos; films. While Rayman stars in his own films and gives us just a bit of insight on how he views the world, he portrays a vulnerable persona that still manages to feel secretive and untouchable. Is this man real?
5. He doesn’t do interviews.
Try googling “Allan Rayman interview.” As we stated previously, you unfortunately won’t find one. We get it though. The mysterious persona Rayman has made for himself could very well be shattered with just one interview. That didn’t stop us from trying to break the cycle though. We, of course, were denied, and Rayman lives to see another day as a man in the shadows.
6. He maintains his secretive character at live shows.
If you were expecting a live show that doubles as an intimate conversation where Rayman finally reveals all of his secrets and feelings, you might be a bit disappointed. According to Kyle Woodward, Rayman’s live shows don’t stray far from his hidden demeanor. After taking the stage, the singer goes straight into the music, only breaking to sit at a table and have a drink on stage, while a woman’s voice looms over the crowd. The only talking Rayman does at his shows consists of two words: thank you. Where live shows are supposed to connect and expose us to an artist face to face, Rayman connects only through his music. Teach us your ways Rayman, teach us your ways.
7. He doesn’t give explanations for his projects, such as new albums, tours, etc.
A couple of weeks ago, I logged into Spotify to listen to Allan Rayman’s Hotel Allan. I typed in the title and an original 2015 version of the album will popped up for my listening pleasure. But then I clicked on Allan Rayman’s name. That album was nowhere to be found. In its place is a deluxe version, a fact I learned from Rayman’s instagram followers rather than the man himself. The new version features three newer tracks that were previously released as singles and a remix of “M. Roadhouse,” that ends with stripped down rendition of “Beverely”. The album now sports a woman in a red dress with a fox mask, one of Rayman’s key, reoccurring characters in his musical endeavor. In the same day, he also released a new single, “25-22,” and a new film to accompany it.
Who needs marketing when you have the voice of an angel, am I right?
8. The only real insight we have on him are his lyrics, which reflect on love and death.
There’s a reoccurring theme of love and death in Rayman’s tracks, and according to a 2014 DJ Booth article, Rayman believes the two are intertwined. He responded to the source with a short quip, stating that he “fears love like the common man fears death.”
9. He’s not in it for the money.
Rayman initially dropped Hotel Allan as a free download. I think that about covers it.
10. Or the fame.
See #5-7. For further explanation, Rayman recently released a new set of merchandise–two shirts and two hats that simply read “HOTEL.” No Allan. No Rayman. Just hotel.
In a generation that celebrates spontaneity, Rayman is fascinating. We can’t look up his favorite novel, or his favorite sports team. We don’t know exactly what influences his music. We don’t even know if there’s a second album currently in the works. He’s taken the power of the internet and media back to the artist, almost abandoning a platform many artists have used to kickstart their careers.
Some may argue that if Allan did more interviews or more event appearances, he may have a larger social following or double his streams on Spotify. While we’d love to see inside the creative genius mind of Rayman, some things are better left to the imagination.