I’m not sure if you’ve heard—you probably haven’t heard—but Ruel, a husky-voiced 14-year-old cherubim from Sydney, Australia, recently released an explosively catchy single called “Don’t Tell Me” and I’m not embarrassed to say that I have listened to it nine times since yesterday.
“Ooooh,” this prepubescent siren warbles, “Don’t tell me I’m not ready for love.” Who would dare?
The “Year 8 schoolboy,” as the Australian press has referred to him, was discovered and groomed two years ago by Australian producer M Phazes, who proudly informed the Herald Sun that “he was never trained to sing.” (Please, maybe train him now, though? Ruel, don’t blow out your vocal chords. You are singing with your throat, as my high school voice teacher would say!)
Although he’ll be touring with Aussie folk duo Angus & Julia Stone in September, Ruel and his mentor are clearly following a certain well-trodden path in the British soul genre. “Don’t Tell Me” sounds like it could have been written for Sam Smith or Adele or Emeli Sandé circa 2012 or perhaps Sampha at his most basic, with one vital distinction: THE SINGER IS A SMALL BOYCHILD. Look at him go:
Wow!!!!! Here he is again, covering Jack Garratt’s “Weathered” in a performance that really made a splash down under (it gets good at 2:50):
And here is his other single, “Golden Years,” which came out in April:
Congratulations: you have now seen and heard exactly everything the internet has to offer so far on Ruel, who is certain to be the next tiny boy sensation, according to my razor-sharp cultural instincts. You’re welcome!