WRAP UP AND WATCH OUT: SHAKKA [Interview]

Starting off his career with celebrity fans such as Wretch 32Maverick Sabre and Rita Ora is no surprise once you hear 23-year-old Shakka’s voice. His ability to fuse rock, reggae, hip-hop and r&b is so unique, he calls himself ‘Bob Marley’s and Coldplay’s birthchild’ – which is probably the best way to describe it. Following his online ‘Shakapella’ series and the release of his introductory single ‘Sooner Or Later’, 2013 is set to be a promising year for the London-bred singer and songwriter…

The Wrap Up: Your sound is quite different to anything I’ve heard – a blend of hip-hop, jazz, electronic and rock. How would you describe it and can you explain the reason behind the fusion of sounds?

Shakka: I’ve always been into hip-hop, r&b and reggae because my dad’s a reggae musician. I’d like to say I am Bob Marley and Coldplay’s birthchild – that’s where my current sound is. I definitely have the roots in r&b, hip hop and reggae, but reggae and alternative rock is the fun stuff I’m doing at the moment.

TWU: Your online presence is fantastic. Do you think you will continue the ‘Shakkapella’ series, as it has done really well, or start another conceptual series?

Shakka: I have ideas all the time, but I have one in particular that I want to do… it’s more production orientated, but it’s still in the works. I’m definitely going to continue doing Shakkapella’s because they’re fun and a lot of people like them. It’s something I don’t really have to think about that much; I just literally record and get down – and it’s a good way to speak to the fans.

TWU: You have many celebrity fans. What is the best advice you have got from anyone of them?

Shakka: I was in the studio with Etta Bond one time and she said there was a time where Labrinth felt like it was just a madness with regards to press and all that stuff. He came to the conclusion that it was just about making music, so he said to Etta, ‘just make music, just make good music. Don’t think about how much it will sell, don’t think about numbers, or the business, don’t think about the gossip or the details. Just make good music.’ It’s easy to forget that sometimes.

TWU: ‘Sooner Or Later’ is your introductory single. Can you tell us the message and inspiration behind it?

Shakka: We wanted to explore reggae and alternative rock. Coldplay was quite influential to me with their albums, especially their first album ‘Parachutes’. I was birthed in reggae, so we wanted to see what we could do and make a Rastafarian festival smash. The ideology behind it is pretty much trying to find out where you’re from and thinking about the contrary opinion to where you may be from…

TWU: How have you developed since your first EP ‘Foolishness Vol.1’?

Shakka: With ‘Foolishness’, I went into the studio and wrote, produced and recorded it without really thinking about whether it would sell or not or if people would connect with it. I was just full of ideas at the time and I thought just making them was the main concept. That’s why I called it ‘Foolishness’, because like a child, I pretty much just experimented with the innocence of the music. Since then I’ve gone back to finding out exactly where my parents are from and the culture that I belong to – those things have definitely affected it [his new music].

TWU: Your EP is out this year – can you tell us more about the concepts and tracks on there?

Shakka: ‘Sooner or Later’ will be on there and that’s co-produced by DeanyBoy. The rest is entirely written, produced and performed by myself. There’s a song with a dubstep/indie/reggae tone to it called ‘Strength Of An Ox’ – I’ve performed that a couple of times. There are a few songs dedicated to love, attraction to the opposite sex, and the problems that may occur. It’s a thick bodied piece of a bunch of ideas that have been floating around in my mind. It’s a good transition from the ‘Shakka Crown Affair’, but I do still experiment with hip-hop, r&b and grime.

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