The perfect mix indie pop and thoughtful rap inspired lyrics, Shamir Bailey came soaring out of Las Vegas. Shamir now 21, has released an EP “Northtown” and an album“Ratchet” (XL Records) which discuss relationships, good vibes, growing up and being human. His unique musical style that originates from pop, rap, hip-hop and disco, gives him a shining star in the pile of artists. His work reminds me of Scissor Sisters, Marvin Gaye, Model 500, and Tiga. On top of all of the musicality, Shamir’s androgynous voice is one of the most unique aspects of him along with his decision to avoid labels in terms of gender.
To give you a taste or breakdown of his work he wrote the song “Darker” where Shamir goes into depth about events in his life such as the “death in a more positive light” as he said in his Spotify session. He writes “but our souls float/ to new dimensional shells” in fluid lyrics to express the transition between the current physical life and the afterlife. To express his relation to attempt to deal with death and mourning he writes “It’s getting harder to contain the truth” in which he connects to the audience. That line also represents his way of saying that everyone goes through this and it’s hard but you can get through it. Shamir shares a personal story about his life while simultaneously relating to anyone who has lost someone, which is a vast amount of people. The song begins with some guitar chords and violin that feel very elated, almost as if he is using the musicality of to make a connection to being released to heaven. The song is influenced or shares commonalities with “Night Time” by The xx.
I suggest listening to If It Wasn’t True, Head in the Clouds, and Call it Off. They all include a wide variety of instruments from a cowbell that adds depth to synthesizers that maintain the pop aspect. Shamir is playing next at The Barclays Center on April 12th with a few other artists.