Human

Album: Human (2016)
Charted: 2 74

Songfacts®:

  • Rory Graham is a British singer-songwriter who performs under the name of Rag'n'Bone Man. His singing nom de plume was born out of an obsession with the British sitcom about a rag-and-bone business, Steptoe and Son.
  • Graham's music career started at the age of 15, when he MCed with a drum and bass crew using the handle Rag 'N' Bonez, before becoming the vocalist for Brighton Hip Hop crew Rum Committee.

    Graham had retained a love for the blues as a result of his father's record collection and at 19, encouraged by his dad, he sang at a blues jam in a local pub. He then started getting booked for acoustic gigs and encouraged, started focusing on his own projects.
  • This expression of mortal vulnerability is Rag 'n' Bone Man's first hit single. It reached #1 in several countries including Austria, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and Switzerland. In Germany, it remained on top of the charts for over three months.
  • The song finds Graham lamenting the human condition and his inability as a flawed person to satisfy everyone's needs.

    Some people think I can solve them
    Lord heavens above
    I'm only human after all, I'm only human after all
    Don't put the blame on me


    Only God in heaven is able to provide a complete answer to peoples' problems.
  • This was written by Rory Graham with Ben's Brother frontman James Hartman. The English band is best known for their single "Let Me Out," which was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award in the category of Best Song Musically and Lyrically.
  • The song came out of a conversation between Graham and Hartman. Graham explained to NME in a video interview: "You know, people generally moan quite a lot about stuff that isn't very important and it was like, if you took a little step back from yourself and stopped being selfish and just look around at what's going on in other people's lives and you soon realize that it's just inconsequential; your problem isn't really a problem anymore."
  • The video was directed by Charlie Robins, who also shot the music clips for Naughty Boy featuring Beyonce's "Runnin' (Lose It All)" and Tinie Tempah featuring Jessie Glynne's "Not Letting Go." The performance visual celebrates humanity in all its forms. Graham said:

    "The video to 'Human' is kind of the first one that I didn't actually have a whole lot to do with in terms of direction because usually I'm very much involved in the process of the video. I usually come up with the idea. I usually take it to people to pitch their ideas but this one I really was stuck on what to do.

    To be honest, I was a bit down on all the ideas that came in at that time. There was a lot of sort of shiny: 'You're in a nightclub' or all those kind of ideas and I was thinking: 'F--k this. That's just no good. I don't want that type of video.' And Charlie Robins just came back with this really simple idea and the way he pitched it to me was about these changing faces and trying to get individual emotions out of it. And I think it works really well.

    I had to be convinced to be in the video a lot 'cos I don't really like being in videos. It's not my thing. I don't really like lip-synching and stuff like that; it feels very unnatural to me. But I think, even given that and given the fact that I'm very awkward on a camera, I still think it came out pretty well."
  • Asked whether the lyrics or music came first, during an interview on the Beats by Dr. Dre Beat x Beat series, Graham replied: "The melody was already there. My mate Jamie Hartman kind of already had a melody down and he played the melody to me, and I was like 'sick I really like it, let's write the lyrics to it.'"
  • The song was originally a hit in Germany. Graham's homeland initially resisted the song's charms, until November 2016 when X Factor contestant Emily Middlemas gave a show-stopping performance of "Human", prompting Rag'n'Bone Man's original to be rush released in the UK.
  • This won Best Single at the 2018 BRIT Awards. Rag'n'Bone Man also performed "Skin" at the ceremony after being introduced by host Jack Whitehall as a man with "the voice of an angel and the beard of a wizard."
  • This featured in the Season 7 finale of Suits. The episode marked the last appearance of Meghan Markle, who played Rachel Zane, on the show.

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