While Jacob Anderson is probably best known for his acting role in one of the most popular television shows of all time, Game of Thrones, it’s hard to imagine how he’s had the time to forge a successful career in music too – under the moniker Raleigh Ritchie.
Sitting down to talk to host Reggie Yates for Belstaff’s new original podcast series, ‘The Road Less Travelled’, Anderson discusses growing up as a child that ‘didn’t fit in’, why his move to London aged 17 was a turning point in his life and why his next album will be his most personal one yet.
Having had the chance to experience meaningful connections with many individuals that have gone off the beaten path in life, iconic clothing brand Belstaff has now started to explore and celebrate the certain characters that have challenged social ‘norms’ – and Jacob Anderson is one of them.
Just like a men’s leather jacket from Belstaff, Anderson proves how tough he is throughout the interview, and explains how his experiences have helped to shape who he is today. Admitting to being drawn to many different ways of expression, he describes how he grew up loving pop culture, TV and films from a young age, and believes that these are what helped him to relate to others.
The early years
Anderson was always chastised for his music taste – even as early as primary school. Spice Girls were among his favourite bands, while the rest of the kids made fun of him for liking ‘songs that were only for girls’. During his school years he made mixtapes, and never really listened to anything his peers were listening to. It’s clear to see that he was a staunch individual when it came to his music tastes.
During the chat, Anderson explains that music is him unfiltered. So, why the stage name? Making music since the age of 14, he decided to use a moniker early on. Anderson goes on to speak candidly about his songs, revealing that they were so personal that he felt he had to protect himself for fear of people approaching him and saying ‘Jacob, but you said this thing’.
Has fame changed him? He believes not. Anderson states that autonomy is more important to him, and although the position he is in now means people recognise him instantly, he tries to avoid the public eye when possible, preferring to walk his dog rather than attend events.
If there is one thing that is evident from this interview, it’s that he’s unashamedly stubborn. Anderson reveals that he likes his freedom, and will not stop doing every day normal things, like taking the bus – “Why should you trade in your rights as a human being just because people recognise you in and around London?”
After isolating himself a lot as a child, choosing to live in hostels from the age of 17 – even though he had friends he could stay with – and spending a lot of time inside his own head, at 29 years old he says he now won’t segregate himself again.
Moving to London
Moving from Bristol to London at 17, Anderson was too proud to ask for help, even when he needed it. He explains how he wasn’t in a good state, yet going home was never an option. Living in hostels for the majority of the time and checking into a hotel one night per week so that he could shower properly, it was living in London and auditioning for different acting roles that everything changed for him.
He thanks Lauryn Hill’s track, ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’ for being a song that really spoke to the drive that he had at the time. He had no other choice but to smash the auditions and make that career work.
‘But deep in my heart, the answer it was in me
And I made up my mind to define my own destiny’
While shooting the film Adulthood in the busy capital, he met musician and actor, Plan B, who invited him into the studio to write some songs. Anderson describes how unbelievable that moment was – as a fan of Plan B, it’s evident how grateful he was to learn so much from the singer songwriter. Anderson explains how his confidence grew – and finally he believed he could be an artist.
His debut studio album, ‘You’re a Man Now, Boy’, was released in 2016. Not only is it honest and autobiographical, but it also shows all corners of his life.
He’s still figuring that one out. However, Anderson states that his soon-to-be released next album will be his most personal music yet. He sweetly thanks his wife for saving his life – and accepting him for who he is.