Last week, when I talked with Jay Sweet he said to me, “Raury … is something we haven’t really done in the past, I am pretty excited about that.” I was excited, too, but did not get my hopes up. I knew that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to get any face time with Raury during the festival. I was content with enjoying his performance and reminiscing about it later in the week while playing “God’s Whisper” or “Friends” on my Spotify.

Raury and I after his performance.

How I ended up interviewing Raury was fateful and completely coincidental. I saw him across the crowd walking to sit down with a few friends of mine, sporting jean overalls and a long sleeve cotton shirt and a woven hat. His hat just barely fit over the crown of his head and it would fly off whenever the wind would blow, facilitating extra laughs to pair with his warm smile. He had finished his set earlier in the day on the Quad Stage and was roaming around the crowd, browsing at the vendors and exploring the Fort.

I walked across the same crowd and sat down with him. His eyes were wide but wise – 20 years young, Raury is an old soul.

His presence is gentle but his energy is strong. He’s the type of person who really listens to you when you speak. Around his neck hung a gold necklace. In the necklace were different colored stones representing the seven chakras in the body, it was one of the first things I commented on. Raury told me that he designed the necklace, and we started talking about crystals.

“Do you ever sleep with amethyst?” he asked me.

I laughed and told him that I actually don’t sleep with amethyst but I do sleep with citrine (for my solar plexus).

Raury told me that he sleeps with amethyst under his pillow, explaining that it facilities dreams from people that he believes to be his ancestors, or someone from a past life.

“I see this guy … and I know he is aboriginal because all he wears is a leaf to cover him…”

Raury goes on to tell me that this man in his dream told him that we [our generation and culture] uses so many words but we do not say anything.

What’sUpNewp’s 2016 Newport Folk Festival Coverage is brought to you by Midtown Oyster Bar
What’sUpNewp’s 2016 Newport Folk Festival Coverage is brought to you by Midtown Oyster Bar

Raury tells me that those ideas, that voice, the spirit visits him often. He has internalized this voice and digested it and tries to communicate that in his music.I told him, confidently, that his message was heard and his transmutation of it was a success. It is rare that you meet an artist whose presence matches their lyrical content, he is as much his words as you would hope and anticipate him to be.

We continued our conversation with the concept of energy, and vibrations and how they are interwoven with yoga, and meditation. Raury says that yoga and meditation are two practices that he is familiar with and does spend time doing before he takes the stage (and otherwise) but he doesn’t necessarily advertise that. As if he didn’t already seem like a humble guy, his modesty is louder than any decibel.

Sharing space with Raury was a gift. Hearing the way he felt and feels about the universe. He wants to be part of the change, and feels strongly about the ongoings of our modern world. His music is his way of clearing the chaos, and his lyrics are deliberate. If it isn’t already obvious, it is difficult to describe someone like Raury. I think that the only further point I can make is this: he was wearing Pikachu socks and Prada sunglasses and pulled it off as if they were made for each other.

This was his first year at Newport Folk Festival, and I am confident to say that it will not be his last. Thank you for sharing space with me, Raury. God speed catching Pokemon between here and your next show in Detroit!

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Jillian Tullgren

Jillian Tullgren is the Lifestyle Editor of What'sUpNewp. She enjoys a quality cup of properly steeped green tea and only writes in a black Moleskin. Follow her on Instagram @gypseachild.