Feel The Rush: Up Close With Mr Boombastic! | Verve Magazine
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October 21, 2016

Feel The Rush: Up Close With Mr Boombastic!

Text by Simone Louis

Ahead of the first gig of his much-awaited India tour, global superstar Shaggy gives Verve the lowdown on new music, old memories and his love for the country

It’s time to put on those dancing shoes and brush up on your dancehall moves – after years out of the spotlight, ‘Mr Lova Lova’ is back in action and, get this, currently in town. ’90s kids should be prepared to feel all the feels considering Shaggy is performing in Mumbai tomorrow, followed by Pune and then Goa, as part of his majorly anticipated comeback. Sitting down for a quick catch up, he answers once and for all – albeit with a twinkle in his eye – was it him?

On new music…
“I’m blessed to still be making music and doing it the way I feel like doing it. My sound has changed…I kind of change with the weather. It still has that Shaggy style to it, but I’m really fusing it with this new era of music as well.”

On his long-running bond with India…
“The Indian crowd always has a good vibe, and we’ve had a great relationship over the years. They love all the songs and I’m all about good energy, people, and culture. So, what’s not to love?”

On contemporary reggae…
“I’m good with a lot of modern reggae music. A lot of dancehall music, I think, has gone to the R&B side. I’d love to see it come back more to the traditional reggae side. It’s kind of crazy because when I was doing that type of fusion, I was actually looked upon as somewhat of a sell-out. Now everyone does it. It makes me feel like I’m a genius!”

On the Caribbean influence in commercial pop…
“It’s good to see the influence of pop music. It’s good to see it in the limelight. I like to think that I’m a part of that. Now you’ve seen the popularisation of the genre. You see people like Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Drake and all these international artists breaking reggae. Same with the Latin market, where the reggaeton movement has become even bigger. It truly is a testament to what we have always known – that the music is marketable and a force to be reckoned with.”

On the change in the music scene…
“It has changed a lot. Social media is now a big part of music and of its success. It’s really hard not to be a part of it. I have actually taught myself how to be involved in social media!”

On his step back from the limelight…
“After Angel and It Wasn’t Me, my record company – which was MCA records – shut down. A majority of the people that were involved with my success were fired from the record company. At that time, I was the only artist on the roster who was doing well. I moved to another label called Geffen, and they were all new people who weren’t familiar with Shaggy or as passionate about the Shaggy brand. I had a change of management at that same time. I just went ahead and did underground reggae music. We did an album called Intoxication, which was nominated for a Grammy; Summer In Kingston and Out Of Many One Music, which were both also nominated for Grammy awards. All of these songs and albums were done underground, and I was successful with all of them.”

…and his return to it…
“I don’t know if there is more interest in me now, but I’m just happy to be able to still do music. I’m happy that I’m a force to be reckoned with and still relevant in this day and age.”

On what he’d say to his younger, more uncertain self… 
“I’d probably go back and say, “Hey, good job!””

On new up-and-coming artistes…
“The advice I’d give them is to stick to your belief. It’s really bad when you do something and it fails, especially when it fails under the idea of someone else instead of under your own idea. It should fail on your terms and it should fail because it’s your idea.”

On what’s in the works…
“There is a new record with me and Omi on the way that you should look out for.”

On his message to Indian fans
“To all those who have been with me over the years, thank you for a wonderful ride. To the new ones coming on board, I hope we have a long and prosperous relationship – hang on to your coat tails! You’re going to love it.”


Favourite tour destination: Colombia

India in 3 words: Culture, Food, Soul

Music recommendations: Alkaline, Assasin (Reggaetivity), Chronixx

Earliest music memory: Redemption Song by Bob Marley being played on television in Jamaica when I was young.

Song that gets him hyped: That Love

And finally, we have to ask, was it really you? It wasn’t me! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Catch the man himself performing live at the following venues:
October 21 – Phoenix Market City, Mumbai
October 22 – Phoenix Market City, Pune
October 23 – Quinta De Valadares, Verna, Goa 

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