Tell you what, we love someone with an interesting background. Or Different, as Ghana-via-Benin artist Shirazee‘s new song states. It’s a hella addictive mix of beats and vox (given a peppy remix and corking international iPhone-shot video, below) that sees the Sting and Kiesza songwriter strike gold on his own. We sent him a quick Q&A to find out more about the man behind the story…
First musical memory?
Ha, That’s a tough one. Between the number of soundscapes I was exposed to as a kid by my mother and ripping the wrapper off my first Michael Jackson CD (Dangerous) which I listened to with way too much intensity, especially for a kid who didn’t speak English. I’m afraid it’s all a blur for the very first musical memory… opened to being hypnotized though just for this!
Noted. We’ll send Derren Brown. Next question: the first album you ever bought?
First album I bought was Bone Thugs n Harmony’s The Art of War.
Describe your vibe in three words (but then tell us a bit more about the new track).
Honest, present, original. Different is just that a song that came from an honest place because I was present enough to understand I was losing my passion for music and needed something different. Think once you merge these two things honesty and presence, it’s hard not to be original. No one can do you better than you.
We’ve seen that you’ve been all over the world in the new video. How and why?
The video was shot an iPhone in 13 countries and in 31 days. I lived in Benin, Ghana, South Africa, France and the U.K. Growing up, these countries are a part of the story and so that’s why they are all incorporated in the video to help tell my story which is that of a guy who’s has been on a nomadic journey with ups and downs to find himself.
Nam an album you would never listen to again.
Hmmm another blur. Once I tune out of an album I completely block it out of memory. I couldn’t tell you an exact one in that black hole but I’m sure there is more than one in there.
Your inspirations, musical and otherwise.
My inspirations vary from movies to other artist to paintings etc, depends on my mood. Currently I’m back in my soul-soothing phase with Mr Bill Withers and 90’s hip-hop like Big Pun and Mobb Deep while attending various galleries. It all depends on the wave I’m vibing with.
What are your current jams?
Grandma’s Hands by Bill Withers, The Weeknd ft Daft Punk – Starboy, Kap G – Girlfriend, Mobb Deep – Hell on Earth, Big Pun – Beware.
Any guilty pleasures, musical or non?
French hip-hop and chocolate. Don’t judge me.
And finally: your favourite Beyonce song?
Sorry I’m not aware of who that is… Just kidding! You print that and the hive will come get me! It has to be “If I Were a Boy”. Think I secretly wish I wrote that one.