Last updated

Background information
Origin Watford, England
Years active2016–present
Website www.raksu-official.com
  • Ashley Fongho
  • Jamaal Shurland
  • Myles Stephenson
  • Mustafa Rahimtulla

Rak-Su are an English R&B group, formed in Watford. In 2017, they won the fourteenth series of The X Factor , becoming the first male group to do so. [2] The group is made up of Ashley Fongho, Jamaal Shurland, Myles Stephenson and Mustafa Rahimtulla. "Dimelo", which features Naughty Boy and Wyclef Jean, was released as their winner's single, and marked the first time a winner's single was written by the winner. 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.


Stephenson appeared on the 19th series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! in 2019, where he came 7th.


2016–2017: Formation and The X Factor

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 song "Palm Tree" at the judges houses' round in front of Cowell, and his 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
ShowSong choiceThemeResult
Auditions"Señorita" – Justin Timberlake/"I'm Feeling You" – Original songN/AThrough 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 songThrough 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 songThrough to live shows
Live show 1"Mamacita" – Original songExpress YourselfSafe (1st)
Live show 2"Dimelo" – Original songViva LatinoSafe (1st)
Live show 3"Faith" – George Michael George MichaelSafe (2nd)
Quarter-Final"Mona Lisa" – Original songCrazy in LoveSafe (1st)
Semi-Final"Flowers" – Sweet Female Attitude Cool BritanniaSafe (1st)
"I'm Feeling You" – Original songGet Me to the FinalSafe (1st)
Final"Mamacita" – Original songFree ChoiceSafe (1st)
"Dimelo" – Original song (with Naughty Boy & Wyclef Jean)Celebrity Duet/Winners Single
"Touché" – Original songSong to WinWinners (51.7%)
"Mona Lisa" – Original songSong of the Series

2018–present: Rak-Su EP, Rome EP and Lost Tour EP

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 5 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 to perform their new single "I Want You To Freak" on the first results show.

On 10 November 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, and facilitating a transfer to RCA Records. [8]

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)". On 29 August 2019, it was reported that Rak-Su had been dropped from RCA due to lack of mainstream chart success.[ citation needed ]

On 8 November 2019, Rak-Su released their first single as independent artists, "La Bomba". On 6 December 2019, Rak-Su released the song "Girl".

On 14 May 2020, Rak-Su announced that their new single will be called, "Palm Trees". The song was released on 28 May 2020.

On 3 July 2020, Rak-Su released the song "Who Am I? (Black Lives Matter)".

On 6 November 2020, Rak-Su released the song "Girls Like You", featuring Celina Sharma.

On 20 November 2020, Fongho, Shurland and Stephenson announced that Rahimtulla would be taking a hiatus from the group as a result of his mental health struggles.

On 8 December 2020, Rak-Su announced their new song "No Contest". The song was released on 11 December 2020.

On 3 January 2021, Fongho announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19.

On 22 January 2021, Rak-Su released the song "Left Right" featuring Donel.

On 11 April 2021, Rak-Su announced their third EP titled The Lost Tour EP. The EP will be released on 23 April 2021.


Extended plays

Lost Tour


TitleYearPeak chart positionsCertificationsAlbum
"Flights" [12] 2016Non-album singles
"Last Night" [13]
(with Charles Dixon)
(featuring Wyclef Jean and Naughty Boy)
"Pyro Ting" [15]
(with Banx & Ranx)
"I Want You to Freak" [16] 3982
"Yours or Mine"2019
"Rotate (Clockwise)"
"La Bomba"
"Palm Trees"2020
"Who Am I? (Black Lives Matter)"
"Girls Like You"
(featuring Celina Sharma)
Lost Tour
"No Contest"
"Left Right"
(featuring Donel)
"—" denotes a single that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Concert tours



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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