Relive the 90s RnB glory days with Ric Rufio’s ‘Water to Wine’
Sydney artist Ric Rufio has dropped his second solo track ‘Water to Wine’ – a delightfully throwback RnB cut with modern production sensibilities. It comes off the back of his debut single ‘So Wonderful’, which dropped earlier in the year to rave reviews.
Ric Rufio is no stranger to the big stage – he’s made his name as a touring musician and backup singer for greats like Adele, Daniel Johns and Chet Faker. You may have even spotted him alongside Macklemore at this year’s monumental NRL Grand Final. His earlier track, ‘So Wonderful’, won massive attention nationwide, and showed his innate talent for distilling his influences into one smooth-as-butter package.
‘Water to Wine’ begins as a more simple electro-pop cut, with some slick percussion and minimal bass supporting Rufio‘s gorgeous vocals. It’s in the chorus where this disguise falls off and the true beauty is revealed – unparalleled 90s RnB worship. It’s hard to describe, but literally every aspect – from the layered vocals, the synthetic slap bass and the vocal-sounding synths in the background – sound like you’d hear it on a dusty cassette tape labelled ‘RnB MIXTAPE #12’ found in your Dad’s attic. Even the cover art evokes early 90s RnB singles.
If it weren’t for the crisp and more experimental modern production style I’d be easily fooled into thinking this was a long lost Boyz II Men track. If a young, musical prodigy was forced to listen to nothing but Boyz II Men and Toro Y Moi (with a little bit of Clarence Clarity for good measure) it might sound something like ‘Water to Wine’. The retro foundations are solidified with the thick, almost wall-of-sound style production, enveloping you in layers of Rufio‘s gorgeous voice, ethereal synths, far-away percussion and honest-to-god slap bass. It’s songs like this that make me grateful I have ears, y’know?
Both ‘Water to Wine’ and the earlier ‘So Wonderful’ show that Ric Rufio has got IT – ‘it’ being immense musical talent and an uncanny ability to distil the best elements of retro RnB, filter it through gorgeous modern production, and bottle it for easy pop consumption. It’s slick, it’s sexy, and boy howdy, it slaps.
WORDS BY MAX LEWIS