Originally set on a destination for campy glamor before hitting a dead end, pop star SHAMIR uses this bump on the road to shift his gears from a candy-coated lane and acid bass lines to a truthful route that marks him leading up to the only place he was meant to be in – music that is entirely his own.
A thoughtful oddity in his own right and bridging the gap between humor and profound narration, Shamir Bailey constructs a solid proof that comical surrealism can be delivered in a sincerely moving punchline.While some artists start out as bedroom heroes ready to take a step forward with record labels, the fully formed musician takes two steps back and plays with the script. After falling into depression and refusing to shape himself into XL Recordings’ pre-designed mold, he took the bold step away from XL Recordings to a self-reliant blueprint that launches him to turn the background noise of the music industry into a DIY rock rebellion that demands truth in every lines. “I’m just excited to show the real me,” he shares, his excitement reflecting the urgency of his latest EP, “Revelations.”
“I’m just excited to show the real me.”
With his two latest EP releases written back-to-back in a frenzied fever dream, “Hope” and “Revelations” signifies his shifting moods caught on record, capturing his synthesized turmoil in different wavelengths that reflected his time spent in a psychiatric hospital. He may be recently diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, but his hold on music proves that it’s not about to flatline. He incorporates his mental illness into his music and overwrites it to a positive note. “I spent some time in the hospital, and I started working on ‘Revelations’ when I got out. It was just an eye-opening moment for me and it was the time when I realized who my real friends are, you know? They are people who are a positive force in my life that actually help you try to be better,” he shares his realization. “I think just learning and realizing all of that really reflected what I wanted to say behind the lot of the songs in ‘Revelations,” he admits.
“There’s always a lot of emotion in my lyrical content, and it all just builds up to this coming of age story that narrates where I am now in my life.”
“I’m more optimistic now that I have a whole new platform to release what I really want to do, and hopefully I can regrow a fan base that can appreciate all the new and different sounds I’m creating,” he shares as he goes back to the drawing board with his new label, San-Francisco indie imprint Father/Daughter. “They’re just one of my favorite labels for a while now. When we released “Hope,” they were very vocal about their support and with “Revelations,” they were excited about the aspect of working with me, so it was kind of just like a great ‘we both want each other’ moment.” Choking on notes that weren’t completely his, Shamir’s voice cracks after his first EP, “Ratchet” innocently created a cardboard cutout of what he needed to be, losing his identity to a remixed version of his voice that led him wanting to quit music. But now he’s back at the scene and ready to take on the stage commando, no costumes dragging his authenticity down. “I’m excited to take more time with music now. With “Hope” and “Revelations,” it felt more urgent but this time I want to try and ease myself into trusting studios and become comfortable in recording in studios again,” he admits.
Turning a spun sugarcoated pop anthem into a tuneful homecoming, the musician rejects being the avatar of millennial music and breaks away from the shadow of his caricature. “With my earlier EP and first record Ratchet, it was just half me, but now with “Hope” and “Revelations,” I felt myself completely handling everything through producing to writing, and I think I just became a lot more independent as an artist.” Pressing play back to the songs that made up his childhood, we notice a glitch in the composition of his carefree electronic disco tunes that made up his signature. “Country rock was pretty much the playlist of my childhood,” he recalls. “My aunt had a home studio and a lot of different musicians would be there to record, and I would always just want to sit in and be involved. I first sang in front of people when I was 8 years old, it felt like a magical moment and I knew then and there that that was something I wanted to do,” he adds.
“My music is just human. My music altogether, including my earlier songs is just a person within itself and I make sure that everything that I do is an extension of myself.”
While he may have had a breakdown along the road, Shamir knows how to jump-start his passion back to life – forgoing a musical map originally handed out to him, he moves forward, fuelled by songs that finally sound like him. “My music is just human. My music altogether, including my earlier songs is just a person within itself and I make sure that everything that I do is an extension of myself, and I think if you follow my music from the beginning to now, there’s always a lot of emotion in my lyrical content, and it all just builds up to this coming of age story that narrates where I am now in my life.”