Reggae artist Shaggy has been in the music scene since his childhood in Jamaica, and at 46 years old, he’s still playing.
Shaggy, originally from Kingston, Jamaica, grew up surrounded by reggae and dance music. At 18 years old, he moved to the Flatbush area of Brooklyn, New York, where he was discovered singing on the street with some friends.
“Reggae music is part of my tradition and my blood,” Shaggy says. “I used to do sound systems, and that evolved for me to create a name for myself in the streets of Flatbush as a dancehall artist.”
After Shaggy was discovered, he quickly became a hit in the reggae music scene and became mainstream. His first hit, “Oh Carolina,” became an international hit, reaching the top of the UK music charts in 1993.
When he moved to New York, Shaggy was exposed to different music styles that he incorporated into his reggae style.
“Jamaica is a very reggae-oriented place,” Shaggy says. “I think coming to New York brought me into a melting pot, but all the different cultures in the Caribbean all have different styles that I incorporated into my music.”
Shaggy released the album “Hot Shot” in 2000, which was certified platinum six times in the US. The album hit number one on the Billboard 200 and the UK albums chart. This album featured the singles “It Wasn’t Me” and “Angel.”
In total, Shaggy has released 12 albums. Since he’s been making music for decades, he says, he’s adapted to the changing times, yet stayed true to himself.
“Music itself has changed overall,” Shaggy says. “I figure out how to fit in today’s music but I’ve always gone against the grain.”
He won a Grammy for Best Reggae Album in 1996 for “Boombastic” and was nominated three more times for Best Reggae album for “Clothes Drop,” “Intoxication” and “Summer in Kingston.” He was also nominated three times for Favorite Artist in various categories at the American Music Awards in 2002.
However, awards aren’t what Shaggy’s most proud of. He believes the success of his albums is the main accomplishment that stands out in his career.
“It’s not very often in reggae music that someone sells over 10 million records, (and) the only two artists to ever do that are myself and Bob Marley,” Shaggy says. “That’s great company.”
For the last two years, Shaggy has been busy touring his latest reggae album released in 2013, “Out of Many, One Music.” His 2013 single “You Girl” featuring Ne-Yo is nominated for a Soul Train Music Award.
He also is currently working on a new pop record that will be released in early 2015. Shaggy hasn’t done a pop record since “Intoxication,” released in 2007.
“I do feel-good music,” Shaggy says. “If I could take all your stress away from you for the duration of when you’re listening to my songs or it makes your day, then we’re good.”
For fans attending his concert, Shaggy says he has some great songs planned, like his massive hits “Angel,” “It Wasn’t Me” and “Boombastic.” He also says he’ll play lots of dancehall and reggae records.
“You’ll see a melting pot of people with a great energy,” Shaggy says. “Come with the intention to dance and wear something comfortable because you’ll be on your feet.”
He says he doesn’t know what to expect since he’s never been to Missouri before, but he says he hopes there are strong Shaggy fans and that he’s ready to “rock the house.”
If you’re ready to dance and “rock the house,” come to Shaggy’s concert at 9 p.m. on Nov. 22 at The Blue Note.