The X Factor 2017 winners: Rak-Su
Who are the members of Rak-Su?
Ashley (Rapper, Songwriter, Poet)
Jamaal (Singer, Songwriter)
Myles (Rapper, Producer)
Mustafa (DJ, Dancer, Beatboxer)
Ever since they hit us with I’m Feeling You, Rak-Su were of the favourites to win The X Factor. They wowed us week after week with incredibly catchy songs and amazing dance moves, and are the act who won the most votes from the public a record-breaking three times. From Mona Lisa to Dimelo, they managed to get four of their songs in the iTunes top 25.
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RadioTimes.com spoke to Rak-Su just before The X Factor final…
How are you feeling ahead of this weekend?
Myles: I mean, we’re at the London ExCeL arena, and there’s going to be a lot of people there. It’s the biggest shows of our lives ever. So we’re just going to try and make everything bigger and better; try and amplify what we do on a stage, really.
Ashley: And have fun. I feel like this is the first week where, in a strange way, the pressure’s also off because you can’t get sent home early. You don’t know when’s the next time you’re going to be performing on a stage like that in front of that many people. So we can just kind of have fun with it, and just really go for it.
We’ve heard so much of your original material already. Have you got an album that’s ready to go?
Ashley: I mean, we’ve got so many songs. Most of them are rubbish! Of the good ones? Obviously, our favourite ones we’ve used during the show. There are some others as well that we’ve been writing during the show that haven’t matched the themes, so we haven’t been able to use them. But yeah, I think we’re quite excited about the prospect of making an album, because we’ve got a lot of stuff ready to go.
You’ve had a lot of attention. How have you dealt with your female admirers?
Mustafa: I’ve had people DM me… asking for Myles to reply to them!
Jamaal: It’s just a general overspill of just trying to figure out what Myles’ details are!
Myles: Sorry guys…
Are any of you jealous about the attention that he’s got?
Ashley: Nah, because we knew it was going to come [laughs].
Jamaal: We just accept our roles, basically.
Ashley: We saw this happening. And to be fair to Myles as well, he has kept level-headed about it. Within all of us as a group, we all know that we’ve got certain strengths, we all know that we’ve got certain flaws. One of Myles’ strengths is that he’s really, really pretty. So, you know, we’ll just roll with it!
Who has worst habits out of the four of you?
Ashley: I think there are a few habits which are equally bad. If I’m being honest, Jam doesn’t really have bad habits. He’s alright. He’s the angel kid. Mus’s snoring is powerful. It is powerful…
Mustafa: If you like dubstep, then spend the night with me [laughs].
Ashley: Mus got kicked out of the room, basically.
Mustafa: Halfway through, I had to find another room to sleep.
Myles: You were sleeping on beanbags for a while, weren’t you? On the beanbag?
Mustafa: It was cool. Honestly, it was quite comfortable. I was like, ‘you know what? Rather than me annoying three people, let me just annoy myself and go downstairs’. I did it for them.
Here is Rak-Su’s X Factor journey so far…
Bio: These four men are a group of childhood friends who grew up in Watford near London. Once they got a little older they started taking music a little more seriously and a year ago they finally formed Rak-Su.
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Their band’s sound is is described on their website as “eclectic”, ranging from “future R&B to Hip-Hop & Grime, through to Spoken Word and all the in between”.
And the name Rak-Su? That comes from the phrase “tracks vs suits” – ie the conundrum of whether to make music or pursue an “adult” career.
Rak-Su have been on BBC radio and were supported and mentored by Kade on the BBC Asian Network.
What did Rak-Su sing at their audition?
They started off singing Justin Timberlake’s Señorita and honestly it was pretty good, but Simon Cowell was not impressed and stopped them mid-performance. “That’s not working for me,” he said. “Can I hear a different song?”
Of course he could, so the boys performed their original track I’m Feeling You. They actually have a lyric video for it already, and the judges were soon bopping along.
How did Rak-Su get through to Judges Houses?
Boot Camp was tough for the boys because they had to do a cover: 24k Magic. But they were back on form when they had a chance to do another original song, Knock Knock.
The boys sailed through the Six Chair Challenge. Having impressed Simon with their original songs before, they went down that path again – with their track Change Your Mind.
Simon didn’t really need his mind changing, and gave them a seat.
The X Factor final airs Saturday December 2 and Sunday December 3 on ITV