“I have fans come up to me all the time and they’ll introduce their child to me and they’ll say something like; ‘hey this is my son Charles Boombastic. They’ll tell me their child was conceived whilst they were listening to my music, it’s wild man”.
It’s definitely not a conventional conversation to have during an interview, but then again, Shaggy aka Mr Boombastic is far from a conventional artist. For the ’90s kids playing at home, 2017 may just be your year as Mr. Lover Lover himself is headed to our shores this February for Raggamuffin Festival‘s All Stars shows in Melbourne and Sydney, alongside the likes of Six60 and The Wailers with Julian Marley.
We had the chance to get all nostalgic and chat with the prolific artist, to discuss his take on the music industry, some very interesting fan anecdotes, and exactly why he wanted to get into music in the first place.
“I’ve always loved Australia”, Shaggy begins as he reflects on his reasons for returning to our shores. “I’ve been going there as far back as 1995, I’ve done festivals and my own individual tours, I’m back now again and I’m very excited to go back to Australia”.
A bit of research lead to the realisation that, although it may seem like it’s been a little while between drinks for us, Shaggy’s touring schedule didn’t end when we threw away our mood rings and eyebrow piercings. He is an incredibly hard working artist in every respect, although remaining quite humbled and grounded of course, in regards to his work ethic.
“A lot of people always comment on how hard I go. But to be honest with you, I don’t even feel like I go hard because I don’t know any other way. It’s the norm to me. Getting up and jumping all around the world and playing and going to remote places and rocking the house and coming right back see… that’s not me going hard. It’s just the norm of what I do”.
What can his Australian fans expect when he lights up the stage with his signature moves and unmistakable flow? “We’re coming with our full band, we have a lot of massive records that we like to play for people and we’re a very energetic set of performers. See, we have these songs that have been a part of people’s lives and continue to be a part of their lives and bring back great memories and allow them to relive a time when these records were popular”.
Realising the importance of nostalgia goes far beyond simple recall and generation identification, Shaggy goes on to comment; “A song like ‘Wasn’t Me’ is still a part of people’s lives. Even the younger generations are really buying into a record like that now”.
Shaggy can of course boast massive hits such as “It Wasn’t Me”, “Angel” and of course “Boombastic”, but the motivation to create wasn’t driven by the desire for fame and fortune. “I kind of did it just for chicks for a while,” comments the reggae star. “I’ve always liked music and I realised when I was in the lunchroom and I would vibe, I would get chicks. When I started making the reggae records I got into clubs for free, I drank for free and I left with the hottest chick.
“When you’re 18 or 19 that’s all that’s on your mind – getting laid… It wasn’t even about the money. I had no need for a lot of money at that point. It was probably the best time in my life. It was all for the passion and the love”.
Despite his early motivations, there’s now a much more complex agenda pushing him through to the next phase of his career. “Music for me is like air. It’s kind of something that I do instinctively. It’s part of who I am”. Shaggy is an artist who approaches his craft with a delicate balance of professional tenacity and tongue-in-cheek humour, and takes the time to comment on the differences between the artists of today and the bar set for those who graced the stage during the ’90s.
“Now there’s less of a bar, so to speak. Nobody sings now. If you look at these kids, the record is played and they ad-lib over their voice playing on the record. In my days you could not go on stage and lip-sync your record or sing over a vocal that’s already there. You would not be booked by a promoter and in some cases they would throw shit at you. You had to know how to sing and rock your records. But nowadays, people go in the studio and they aren’t really talented. But with technology, we can make them sound good”.
Clearly concerned about the fate of the live music industry, Shaggy continues. “That’s the biggest difference I see, because then you had to be able to play your music live, now you can just put it on as a DJ and get away with it, that took some getting used to. It’s almost like I have to dumb myself down for that now”.
Despite his view, Shaggy did take the time to express how grateful he is that he is still able to perform, as well as meet the extraordinarily high standards he sets for himself, particularly in regards to his live show. “I’m happy that I still have the skill to do it. That I can truly just rock an audience without all the bells and whistles. I don’t have to be blowing things up on stage, I just have great songs, I get people singing them, rocking them and just having a good time”.
You can catch the one and only Mr Boombastic in February for the Raggamuffin All Stars reggae shows in Melbourne on February 19 and Sydney on February 21, featuring New Zealand breakout stars Six60, reggae legends The Wailers with Julian Marley and more.