Shamir Bailey (born November 8, 1994), better known by his stage name Shamir, is an American singer and songwriter from Las Vegas, Nevada. His debut extended play (EP), Northtown, was released in June 2014 to positive reviews. In October 2014 Shamir signed to XL Recordings and released the single "On The Regular." His debut LP "Ratchet" is out May 19 in the US.
Shamir grew up in the Northtown, an area that Shamir has called "cookie-cutter suburban." He was raised as a Muslim but describes himself as "more spiritual than religious, I don't believe in god per se, I kind of feel like god is the universe."
Shamir's aunt was in the music business and lived with Shamir and his mother while Shamir was a boy. Bass players and producers were guests at the family's home, helping Shamir's aunt with her songs. His parents and aunt introduced him to a wide range of music, including hip-hop, R&B, Outkast, Groove Theory, and singers like Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Janis Joplin. At age nine, Shamir received an Epiphone guitar and Guitar for Dummies and began writing his own music. At age 16, he formed a punk band with a friend, but the band ended quickly when his partner froze on stage at their first gig. Shortly after graduating from high school, Shamir sent a demo tape to the Godmode label in New York City. The label founder Nick Sylvester contacted Shamir and called the music "kind of like an R&B 'Yeezus'." Godmode signed Shamir and released his debut EP, Northtown, in June 2014.
Shamir's Twitter handle describes himself as a "musician, comedian, singer, rapper, twerker, chef, writer, filmmaker, tumblr, skinny fat ass."
Shamir is known for his androgynous countertenor voice. Radio.com wrote that his singing voice, "like Joplin's, stops you in your tracks." Shamir has said that he does not mind having his voice described as androgynous, but notes that "countertenor" is the correct term: "It's not feminine, it's not masculine. It's a happy medium ... I feel like if the world was more like that, our problems would be gone."
Critic Jamieson Cox, writing for Pitchfork Media, wrote:
With a piercing countertenor somewhere between Prince masquerading as Camille and the cracking adolescent soul of the teenage Michael Jackson, the 19-year-old North Las Vegas native dismantles the expectations maintained for vocalists based on their gender, demanding instead that the focus be placed on his agile, fluttering performance.
Shamir's style had been described as a distinctive mix of disco and funk with hints of pop "laced with old skool house". Life & Soul has described him as "a dynamic young artist who successfully adopts the craft of his musical heroes Michael Jackson and Prince."
His debut EP, Northtown, was released by the New York label Godmode in June 2014 and is named for the Northtown neighborhood where he grew up. Shamir was 19 years old when Northtown was released. After signing to XL Recordings, he released the single "On the Regular" in October 2014 which went on to be used in a 2015 Android Wear commercial featuring tutting dancers Dytto & Strobe.
In March 2015, Shamir released "Call It Off" as a single to his debut album,Ratchet, coming May 19, 2015. The accompanied music video was made and released as part of the YouTube Music Awards 2015.
Sources: Last.fm, Wikipedia
Shamir in the news
|Songs by Shamir|