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OriginWatford, Hertfordshire, England
Years active2016–present
  • Ashley Fongho
  • Jamaal Shurland
  • Myles Stephenson
  • Mustafa Rahimtulla

Rak-Su are a British R&B group, formed in Watford. The band's name is a shortening of "Tracks v. Suits", i.e. "music and fun vs. adult life."[1] They rose to fame after winning the fourteenth series of The X Factor in 2017, becoming the first male group to do so;[2] the group is made up of Ashley Fongho, Jamaal Shurland, Mustafa Rahimtulla and Myles Stephenson. "Dimelo", which features Naughty Boy and Wyclef Jean, was released as their winner's single; its release marked the first time a winner's single was written by the winning competitor. It entered the UK Singles Chart at number two, behind Ed Sheeran's "Perfect", their self-titled debut extended play, Rak-Su, was released on 16 February 2018.


2016-2017: Formation and The X Factor[edit]

Rak-Su are a four-piece group consisting of childhood friends Ashley Fongho, Jamaal Shurland, Myles Stephenson and Mustafa Rahimtulla, from Watford.[3] Fongho and Stephenson had been best friends since the age of 11, recording their freestyles together in their houses. Shurland emigrated from Barbados to Watford at the age of 12 and attended the same school with Stephenson and Rahimtulla.[4] Shurland and Rahimtulla began performing together at the age of 14, and Fongho met and began performing with Rahimtulla at age 16. In their early twenties, Fongho met Shurland at a party after hearing him sing, and the two began recording and performing together, with Stephenson and Rahimtulla attending their recording sessions and live performances. By 2016, the four had decided to form their own music group and soon decided to audition for The X Factor in hopes of gaining exposure for their original material.[5]

In 2017, Rak-Su auditioned for The X Factor in front of judges Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne and Nicole Scherzinger. Following producers' earlier advice against singing their original material, they began performing Señorita" by Justin Timberlake until they were stopped by Cowell, who was unimpressed and requested a different song, they then performed an original song called "I'm Feeling You", and received four "Yes" votes from the judges, who praised the group for their originality, and Cowell noted that they would not have passed their audition on their first song alone.

After the first bootcamp challenge, the group continued to perform their original material, reaching the six-chair challenge in the "Groups" category, mentored by Cowell, they passed the six-chair challenge with their original song "Change Your Mind" and after they performed their songs "Mamacita" and "Palm Tree" at the judges houses' round during which Stephenson flirted with Cowell's assistant and former X Factor judge Cheryl, Cowell proceeded to put them through to the live shows.

During the live shows, they continued to perform mainly original material, with two cover versions with additional raps by Fongho and Stephenson, they were runners-up of the Prize Fight in week 1 against Grace Davies and week 2 against Kevin Davy White, and were eventually voted as winners of the Prize Fight in week 4 against Davies, leading to a songwriting session with American songwriter Ali Tamposi as the reward. With the eliminations of Jack & Joel in week 3, Sean and Conor Price in the quarter-final and The Cutkelvins in the semi-final, Rak-Su became Cowell's remaining act in the competition, they made it to the final on the weekend of 2 December 2017, alongside Davy White and Davies. After Davy White was eliminated on Saturday's show, they were in the top two with Davies and finished as the winners with over 50% of the public vote.

Rak-Su are the second group to win the show after Little Mix in 2011, and the first male group to win the show. On 3 December 2017, their winners single was added to streaming services as well as being available for download immediately after the final, with profits going towards the charities Together for Short Lives and Shooting Star Chase, it placed at number 6 on the Official Singles Chart Update two days after the final. Four of their songs topped the iTunes chart during their run on the X Factor — "Mamacita", "Dimelo", "Mona Lisa" and "I'm Feeling You" - but were ineligible for the Official Chart and were not available on streaming services at that time. After the voting stats were revealed Rak-Su were the clear winners, they won every week except for week 3 on Saturday where they came 2nd when Kevin Davy White overtook them by a tight edge of 1% percent of the votes.

The X Factor performances and results
Show Song choice Theme Result
Auditions "Señorita" – Justin Timberlake/"I'm Feeling You" – Original song N/A Through to bootcamp round 1
Bootcamp Round 1 "24K Magic" – Bruno Mars (with Charlie Cammish, Riley Peters, Jack Morgan & New Dynamixx) Through to bootcamp round 2
Bootcamp Round 2 "Knock, Knock" – Original song Through to six-chair challenge
Six-chair challenge "Change Your Mind" - Original Song[6] Through to judges' houses
Judges' houses "Mamacita" – Original song/"Palm Tree" – Original song Through to live shows
Live show 1 "Mamacita" – Original song Express Yourself Safe (1st)
Live show 2 "Dimelo" – Original song Viva Latino Safe (1st)
Live show 3 "Faith" – George Michael George Michael Safe (2nd)
Quarter-Final "Mona Lisa" – Original song Crazy in Love Safe (1st)
Semi-Final "Flowers" – Sweet Female Attitude Cool Britannia Safe (1st)
"I'm Feeling You" – Original song Get Me to the Final Safe (1st)
Final "Mamacita" – Original song Free Choice Safe (1st)
"Dimelo" – Original song (with Naughty Boy & Wyclef Jean) Celebrity Duet/Winners Single
"Touché" – Original song Song to Win Winners (51.7%)
"Mona Lisa" – Original song Song of the Series

2018-present: Rak-Su EP, upcoming debut studio album and Rome[edit]

On 16 February 2018, they released a self-tilted EP including the songs - "Mamacita", "Dimelo", "Mona Lisa" and "I'm Feeling You"

On 30 March 2018 they performed live on The X Factor Denmark with their single "Dimelo"[7]

On 23 May 2018, it was announced that Rak-Su will support Little Mix on their Summer Hits Tour 2018.

On 29 June 2018, they released "Pyro Ting" with Banx & Ranx.

On 28 September 2018, Rak-Su released their new single "I Want You To Freak", with the official video released on 5th October 2018.

On 6 October 2018, it was announced that Rak-Su will support Olly Murs on his You Know, I Know Tour in 2019.

On 21 October 2018, Rak-Su returned to The X Factor UK, they performed their new single I Want You To Freak on the first results show.

On November 10, 2018 it was announced that both Rak-Su and Little Mix have parted ways with Syco Music, with the label stating that they will no longer work with Modest! Management, who manages both acts, they are now signed to RCA Records.[8] Speaking about their time at Syco and subsequent transition to RCA, the band admitted that the experience was frustrating, as they were unable to release as much new music as they originally intended, and that they had no involvement in the transition that occurred, but stated that RCA agreed with the direction they wanted to take with their music.[9][10][11]

On 22 February 2019, they released their second EP, Rome.

On 5 April 2019, Rak-Su released their new single "Yours or Mine".

On 5 July 2019, they released their single "Rotate (Clockwise)".


Extended plays[edit]

Title Details


Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
"Flights"[15] 2016 Non-album singles
"Last Night"[16]
(with Charles Dixon)
(featuring Wyclef Jean and Naughty Boy)
2017 2 29 2 TBA
"Pyro Ting"[18]
(with Banx & Ranx)
"I Want You to Freak"[19] 39 82
"Yours or Mine" 2019
"Rotate (Clockwise)"
"—" denotes a single that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Concert tours[edit]



  1. ^ https://www.raksumusic.com/about/
  2. ^ "Rak-Su: Boy band beat Grace Davies to win X Factor 2017". BBC News. 3 December 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017. Cite news requires |newspaper= (help)
  3. ^ Bley Griffiths, Eleanor. "Who are Rak-Su? Meet The X Factor 2017 group who are killing it with their original songs". Radio Times. Retrieved 22 October 2017. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  4. ^ http://www.loopnewsbarbados.com/content/coincidence-barbadian-x-factor-winner-went-waterford-watford
  5. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZWfKgsOjac
  6. ^ Warner, Sam (14 October 2017). "X Factor's Simon chooses his Six Chair Challenge Groups". Digital Spy.
  7. ^ "De hitter verden over: X Factor får besøg af britiske superstjerner". Cite web requires |website= (help)
  8. ^ "Little Mix split from X Factor boss Simon Cowell's record label days before new album release". Digital Spy. 10 November 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2018. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  9. ^ https://www.dailystar.co.uk/showbiz-tv/music/772862/X-Factor-Simon-Cowell-Rak-Su-Yours-Or-Mine
  10. ^ https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/8815852/x-factor-rak-su-new-music/
  11. ^ https://www.digitalspy.com/showbiz/a27123738/x-factor-rak-su-simon-cowell-split-record-label-syco/
  12. ^ "Rak-Su | full Official Chart history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 October 2018. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  13. ^ "IRMA – Irish Charts, Week Ending 15 Dec 2017". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 16 December 2017. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  14. ^ Peak chart positions for singles in Scotland:
  15. ^ "Flights - Single by Rak-Su on Apple Music". iTunes (UK). 2 March 2016. Retrieved 26 October 2018. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  16. ^ "Last Night - Single by Charles Dixon & Rak-Su on Apple Music". iTunes (UK). 24 November 2016. Retrieved 26 October 2018. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  17. ^ "BRIT Certified - bpi" (To access, enter the search parameter "Rak-Su" and select "Search by Keyword"). British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 26 October 2018. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  18. ^ "Pyron Ting - Single by Rak-Su & Banx & Ranx on Apple Music". iTunes (UK). 29 June 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  19. ^ "I Want You to Freak - Single by Rak-Su on Apple Music". iTunes (UK). Retrieved 26 October 2018. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  20. ^ "IRMA – Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 3 November 2018. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  21. ^ Houghton, Rianne (5 March 2018). "X Factor Winners Rak-Su Will Support Little Mix On Their Summer Hits Tour Later This Year". Digital Spy. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  22. ^ Murs, Olly (12 October 2018). "A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has already bought tickets for my 2019 tour. General tickets are ON SALE NOW! See you all next year and BRING YOUR MOVES!! http://smarturl.it/ollymurstm2019tour  pic.twitter.com/nuDLPgHSKK". Cite web requires |website= (help); External link in |title= (help)

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Matt Terry
Winner of The X Factor
Succeeded by
Dalton Harris
Preceded by
When Christmas Comes Around
Winner's singles of The X Factor
Succeeded by
The Power of Love