The Internet is crawling with obnoxious, precocious teens covering songs in their bedroom – as far as I can tell it’s the central pillar of YouTube’s business model.
It’s only natural then that most of us have developed a sort of Pavlovian aversion to any minor singing a Frank Ocean cover while their overbearing mother hovers behind the camera.
So when I heard on Triple J this morning that the 14-year-old, Ruel, was joining M-Phazes for this week’s ‘Like A Version’ – even though he seemed like a bit of a legend in the interview, I was predictably sceptical.
I needn’t have been:
Behind his baby face is the voice of a seasoned soul singer, with a maturity, control and emotional IQ beyond his years.
It’s a bit Sam Smith, a bit John Newman, a bit Hozier.
He seems to be in good hands with the legendary Aussie producer taking him under his wing – their track ‘Golden Years’ showing the kid’s sound will be just as good on a sweaty stage at Splendour as a smoky small bar in Surry Hills.
It’s tempting to compare Ruel to Justin Bieber, and no doubt many will – but let me tell you now, there’s no comparison here.
With Australia’s music scene experiencing somewhat of a Renaissance, I can’t imagine he’ll be short of opportunities – watch this space.