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A day before his live show in Mumbai city, The Record caught up with reggae superstar Shaggy for a quick chat about all the things that matter to him.

“If I had to put one name down as an influence it would definitely be Bob Marley. I started to do all these fusion styles, reggae fused with hip-hop, R’nB, and pop, because reggae was not accepted in its raw form. The sound that’s taking place now on radio is what we’ve tried to get out there for years. It’s just a different time back then. People like Sean Paul and these guys, they came at a time when mainstream radio was starting to accept the music in its natural form. When we came in, people like me, Shabba Ranks, Chaka Demus and Pliers, Apache Indian, it wasn’t accepted like that. I’d come to them with an authentic reggae song and they’d say ‘Oh well this doesn’t fit our format.’ So I had to go and remix it. For instance, ‘Boombastic’ was a huge hit outside of America and it was accepted in its natural reggae form. But yet in America I had to put a remix with a Marvin Gaye sample under it to get it on radio. And that’s how it works. As for what I would do if I wasn’t a singer? Well, I’d like to be Hugh Hefner then! [Laughs]”

“It’s been a very long, good journey. As far as the international community is concerned they might know me from as far back as 10 or 11 years, but I’ve been doing this for 15 years. It was a period of underground music, hardcore dancehall music and the minute ‘Oh Carolina’ happened it became an international phenomenon. The journey has been a good one, I couldn’t be happier at the way my career is going. There have been some ups and downs and some times when I thought ‘Wow, what luck!’ you know what I mean?”

"I got into this business to tour. That's actually why I became an artist, and why I make records. I'm just at home on stage. It’s the same band I’ve had for the last eight years, with a few changes here and there. Other than that it’s an energetic show, especially now that we have a lot more hits. [Laughs] From start to finish there’s not a lot of fillers, it’s songs that people know and want to hear. They really get into it. I see signs that people hold up at the show and I’m very very pleased when they bring them out there. It warms my heart, really!
I think one of my most memorable performances would be the one I did last month in Germany. That was a lot of people. We had a very good show. It was muddy and not very comfortable but they totally rocked the whole time – that was probably a memorable one. The show in Delhi was nice – it was an energetic show, the audience was very receptive. I heard some complaints about the venue and where it was, I think people weren’t used to it being that far away. But I only read it in the paper so I couldn’t tell from the show that there was any vibe, cause from where I was there were a lot of people and the audience was really hyped and it was great.”

“I think Lucky Day is a true Shaggy album – it’s cheeky, sexual, it’s cocky, it was just ‘Shaggy’ you know what I mean! This is a very uplifting, pro-woman album. When I look back at the people who shaped me, that made a difference in my life, most of them were women: the mother of my children, my own mother, so many of the people I've worked with. So why not pay homage?”

“I don’t think the war per se but just being in the military helped me in shaping my character into the person I am now. I met some good people, met some bad people but overall it was instrumental in the shaping of my character, yeah. But the minute I left I knew what I wanted to do!”

You can read the rest of our feature on Shaggy in the October 2004 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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