Grammy-winning, diamond-selling dancehall artiste shaggy is a living testament to the saying necessity is the mother of invention. The singjay remains a busy man nearly three decades after his take on the Folkes Brothers’ Oh Carolina grabbed headlines, took to international charts, and made everyone take notice of the lanky Jamaican-born artiste.
He is the first to tell you that reinvention of himself as an artiste is what he does best, and with tour dates lined up into the first half of 2020, and a role on the live television version of The Little Mermaid set for November 5 on the American television network ABC, there could be some truth to that.
“I’m the reinvention king, that’s what I do,” he shared during an interview in-between tour dates with British reggae legends UB40, to celebrate that band’s 40th anniversary.
“It’s a different game from when I first got in. I am now 50 years old and you just have to face the fact that it’s a young game so I have to do what is needed to get my brand out there and introduce myself to new markets. That it why this UB40 tour was a no-brainer once they asked me. I have the opportunity to share the music from my latest album Wah Gwaan to a lot of major markets and places where dancehall and reggae routing is quite different. For this tour we are playing Live Nation venues, places that are not really open to our music. But venues like Wyoming are attractive to me as I get to bring the culture to them. For the most part most reggae and dancehall artistes are playing the same venues since Dennis Brown… we’re playing them over and over. When I did 44/876 with Sting many did not expect it to do as well as it did. But now it has been certified gold, we have a Grammy and it is the third-highest grossing tour. That comes from thinking outside the box.”
Shaggy further explained that he had to learn differently in order to bridge the gap between the fans from the early days and the young people who are now major consumers of the music.
“It’s all about streaming these days and dancehall is yet to pick up in this area. When you look at the figures it is still only Bob Marley, Sean Paul, and myself who are doing anything in this area. We need to be doing much better and learning how to manoeuvre in this aspect of the music business. I was speaking to a member of the Backstreet Boys recently and he shared that they are now doing music better thanks to streaming that at the height of their music career. This tells me that we have a lot to learn and a far way to go,” he stated.
Regarding The Little Mermaid, Shaggy is excited to play the loveable lobster Sebastian.
“This is a challenging role, and with the tour in progress I had to use my days off to head to LA for rehearsals. But I am excited. In the past I had been offered many roles for TV and the movies. At one point MTV even offered me my own show. At that time I was doing a lot of groundbreaking work in the music and didn’t want to do anything that could be a possible distraction. However, now I feel I’m in that place where I can take on this challenge and with it being live TV, I am excited to do it,” he said.
Source: Learn the biz, Shaggy stresses