Raury was one of our favorite new artists back in 2014. He signed to Columbia shortly thereafter and released All We Need in 2015, a year after his breakout mixtape Indigo Child. His fan base grew, and Raury spent 2016 playing festivals and linking with big names like A$AP Rocky, SBTRKT, and Joey Badass.

Yet as time went on, Raury's music slowed to a trickle. And this January, the Georgia-born artist sat for an interview with DJ Boothduring which he acknowledged parting ways with both Columbia and his longtime team at LoveRenaissance. He left after two years, expressing frustration on Twitter that other artists seemed to be the new focus.


But the story has a happy ending. Last week Raury released The Woods, an independent album that finds him exploring spacier, folkier sounds. The new music has been accompanied by intimate meet-and-greets, Venmo solicitations, and twilight gatherings. He's returning to the warm embrace of his fans—but most importantly, the music is there.  

Raury hasn't abandoned his trusty acoustic—songs like "Overlove" and "In Due Time" find him evoking Sade with heavy reverb and guitar picking—but he's taking chances with electronic production, too. "Please don't fuck my friends" will leave Frank Ocean fans contented, and songs like "Accidents" find Raury far afield of the poppy, joyous hooks of All We Need. He's grown up into an exciting R&B voice, one capable of arranging a full band and finding the right spots for silence. 

Raury may be on his own, but it's inspiring some of his best music. 22 songs is a long tracklist for any release, but in this case it feels like long-locked floodgates have finally opened. And what comes next is up to Raury. Listen to The Woods below.