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The CULTA Blog

Who is Nathaniel Rateliff?

electric guitar

Nathaniel Rateliff is one of the most unique voices in contemporary music, a feat he accomplishes by harnessing the retro vibes of the soul and R&B genres. Nathaniel Rateliff’s music is simultaneously fresh and familiar. It’s raw, upbeat and catchy. As a live performer, Rateliff’s energy is charismatic and infectious.

Fans of neo-soul artists like Alabama Shakes, Fitz and the Tantrums, Vance Joy and Leon Bridges will quickly find a new favorite in Nathaniel Rateliff. The 41-year-old singer has a striking tenor voice that fuses melodic vulnerability with grit and intensity. Loudly shouting one moment and crooning softly and sweetly the next, Rateliff’s songs often have a rousing gospel feel. Many listeners find it impossible not to dance!

Praised by Billboard as a “must hear,” Nathaniel Rateliff’s star is on the rise. 

Early Career

Born in St. Louis and raised in rural Missouri, Rateliff began playing the drums at age seven in his family’s gospel band. At 13, he learned to play guitar and began writing his own songs. Five years later, Rateliff relocated to Denver and spent the next ten years working at a trucking depot.

Yet Rateliff’s passion for music never waned. In 2002, he formed a band called Born in the Flood, which became a popular fixture in the local Denver music scene. The band headlined regional festivals like the Westword Music Showcase. Meanwhile, Rateliff began performing as a solo artist in 2007 under the name Nathaniel Rateliff and the Wheel.


Nathaniel Rateliff and the Wheel ultimately expanded into a full band, featuring Rateliff’s longtime collaborator and Born in the Flood bandmate Joseph Pope III as well as Julie Davis (bass/vocals), Carrie Beeder (organ/violin), James Han (keys/vibes), and Ben Desoto (drums/flute).

Like Born in the Flood, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Wheel achieved moderate acclaim. The group released two albums, In Memory of Loss and Falling Faster Than You Can Run, and toured with The Lumineers and Dr. Dog.

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats

In 2013, while still performing with the Wheel and other projects, Nathaniel Rateliff formed a new group called Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats. Exploring a new upbeat sound, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats began playing shows in Denver and Boulder. In 2015, they released their self-titled debut album on Stax Records.

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats was a surprise hit. The album reached #17 on the Billboard 200 and achieved widespread critical acclaim. The group performed the album’s lead single, “S.O.B” on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Later… with Jools Holland, and other media. It was also licensed for multiple commercials, films and television shows.


In 2016, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats released a follow-up E.P. titled A Little More From…, which continued Rateliff’s tradition of raw, soulful, energetic songs. Two years later, the band put out a sophomore album called Tearing at the Seams

Awards & Recognition

For much of his career, Rateliff was considered an undiscovered gem in the Denver music community. With the success of Nathanial Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Rateliff has finally been boosted to mainstream status. 

With the release of Tearing at the Seams, Nathaniel Rateliff hit number one on the Adult Alternative Songs chart with his single “You Worry Me.” Tearing at the Seams also debuted at #11 on the Billboard Top 200 and #5 on the Alternative Albums chart. In 2019, the RIAA gave Gold and Platinum Awards to his single “S.O.B.” and the album Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats.

What's Next...

What’s next for Nathaniel Rateliff? The sky’s the limit. This prolific singer-songwriter has been busy, spending the last few months of 2019 on a solo tour for his new album And Its Still Alright. And Its Still Alright is Rateliff’s first solo album in almost seven years.