Raleigh Ritchie: Game of Thrones star Jacob Anderson talks about balancing his acting and music careers

Despite the phenomenal global success of Game of Thrones, there is very little crossover between Anderson's two careers

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It’s safe to say that Jacob Anderson is a force to be reckoned with.

At the age of 24 he’s already starred in Game of Thrones, Broadchurch and coming-of-age Brit flick Adulthood. But that’s not all. Under the stage name ‘Raleigh Ritchie’ – inspired by Bill Murray and Luke Wilson’s characters in Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums – he’s worked with Plan B, had a top 40 single and released three EPs.

When we meet, the Bristol-born actor and musician is dressed casually in a baseball cap, T-shirt and jeans, looking every inch the pop star. He plays Grey Worm, Daenerys Targaryen’s stoic army captain on the HBO fantasy series but you would never guess.

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Jacob Anderson performs under the stage name 'Raleigh Ritchie' (Rex Features)

Appearances aside, it’s surprising when he says that there’s been very little crossover between his acting and music careers given the huge global success of Game of Thrones. There’s been the odd person shouting “Grey Worm” at festivals but on the street he’s usually recognised as Raleigh.

It seems that his music attracts a very different breed of fan compared to that of Game of Thrones. But that’s fine with Anderson, who sees his music and acting as separate entities. In fact it’s more than that for Anderson, who started his career back in his early teens.

“I hope that people like my music enough that to them it doesn’t crossover in any way either, that they can hopefully like my music on its own,” he explains and you get the sense that he’s trying to avoid falling into the actor-turned-musician category.

 

 

Anderson initially saw himself as a songwriter-producer before he was encouraged to sing by a teacher. At the age of 17 he moved to London to launch his singing career. He recorded the track ‘I Need Love’ with Plan B in 2010 for Adulthood but his acting commitments kept him busy. He eventually signed with Columbia Records in 2013 and has released three EPs since then.

He cites an eclectic mix of artists from David Bowie and Bob Dylan to Kanye West as inspirations. All of these diverse influences come across on his EPs: The Middle Child, The Black and Blue and The Black and Blue Point Two.

Would he ever follow in the footsteps of fellow Brit actor-musician Idris Elba and create music for something he’s starred in? “No, that’s not me,” Anderson says before qualifying it, “I’m excited about writing more conceptually, writing about something […] But song writing is something super personal, so it’s weird. It would be quite weird to suddenly write a song about Grey Worm or whatever.”

His music career has been eight years in the making but he is finally set to release his debut album this summer.

The focus, he says, is firmly on music with his sights set on finishing off his album and performing at festivals over the summer. When it comes to choosing between his two careers, he takes a Zen-like approach, “I’ve never been in a position where I’ve had to choose between things. I feel the most important thing for anybody is just follow your bliss: do what makes you happy.”

For the moment there’s nothing really planned on the acting front. Due to the strict levels of secrecy, he can’t say whether or not he will be returning for the sixth season of Game of Thrones but teasingly adds that he knows exactly what’s going to happen in season five.

“It’s the best series so far, in my opinion, as a fan of the show, completely unbiased, it’s the best series.”

With both a successful acting career and musical career set to take off in earnest, where does he see himself going?

“I want to make sure that I have a very varied career. [...] I might be into something completely different in a year’s time and I want to follow that,” he says.

Raleigh Ritchie’s new single ‘The Greatest’ is out on 13 April

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