Leading a next generation of southern musicians is Raury Tullis, who opens for Outkast this weekend. Known simply as Raury, he grew up in Stone Mountain outside of Atlanta, and taught himself music by watching videos online. GPB's Rickey Bevington spoke with Raury.
Rickey Bevington (host, GPB’s “All Things Considered”): What is (your song) God’s Whisper?
Raury Tullis (singer/songwriter): Well, pretty much God’s Whisper is like your conscious, the voice in your mind, your spirit, your soul, whatever you want to call it. That’s pretty much what I’ve dubbed it. Like why the song was written is that I was in a world where I made up my mind that all I wanted to do was chase my dreams. No matter how many bad shows I had or no matter how many people told me they didn’t like the song, I always had that voice in the back of my head that was just telling me, ‘You’re the best. Keep going because they will understand soon.’
Rickey Bevington: How do you think being self-taught influences your music since you don’t come from a traditional perspective?
Raury Tullis: For starters, I picked up a guitar when I was like 11. I had been playing around with it for a year straight untuned. I didn’t know what I was doing at all, and I didn’t have any type of training. So, I wasn’t trained into like, ‘This is blues guitar. You’re going to take blues guitar lessons, and then we can go to class, and then we can go to rock or anything like that.’ I learned from drawing from everywhere. I think the fact that I taught myself in so many aspects is why so many things are unique. It’s like my handprint on it.
Rickey Bevington: What adjectives would you use to describe your music right now?
Raury Tullis: Universal. If I were to give it a genre, I would call it world music and nothing else. A lot of people because they don’t know what to call it will label it alternative, and music and genres in music are becoming less relevant I feel like because we grew up listening to everything. I wasn’t just trapped in my local station just listening to what my radio was playing. I had the Internet, so I could listen to everything.
Rickey Bevington: You are at the beginning of a very promising career that could take you to the moon. What is your strategy for keeping your feet on the ground?
Raury Tullis: I’m just going to remain about the music. It’s crazy going from this transition from a kid in high school like literally seven months ago to who I am now – someone who’s performed in front of thousands of people. It’s a really different experience. It’s kind of scary. The most scary thing and the most shocking thing right now is the fact that tomorrow (SEPTEMBER 27, 2014) I literally do play for 20,000 people opening for Outkast. Those things humble me. It doesn’t really blow my head up. It humbles me. It makes me want to work harder.
Rickey Bevington: Raury, thanks for joining me and best of luck to you.
Raury Tullis: It’s an honor to be here, and I’m glad I got to get on. This is a real cool experience, especially with this station it’s real cool. I like it.