The tally is impressive. His 2000 MCA album Hotshot rides high
at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for six weeks, hitting #1 in
over 15 other countries as well; the album certified platinum
six times over in the U.S., with more than 10 million copies
sold worldwide; “It Wasn’t Me” and "Angel" both #1 singles here
and abroad. Yet Shaggy would be the first to tell you: luck
had nothing to do with it. In fact, no one could have worked
harder to convey a musical vision than the Jamaican born, New
York-raised reggae superstar. Now, Shaggy is back with Lucky
Day, a new album that expands that vision, raising the stakes
both musically and emotionally. And this time, it's for the
"This is a very uplifting, pro-woman album," says Shaggy. "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?" That indeed is what Shaggy does on Lucky Day,
which boasts a sensational line-up of songs that celebrate women
in all their complex glory.
To make the album, Shaggy kept close to home, recording at his
own New York-based home studio and Big Yard Studios, and working
with long-time friends and producers Robert Livingston, Sting
Intl., Dave Kelly and Christopher Birch. He also brought in
guest performers like singers Barrington Levy (on "Full Control"),
Chaka Khan (on “Get My Party On”) and Big Yard/MCA solo artist
Rik Rok (on "These Are The Lips"). Shaggy himself wrote or co-wrote
all fourteen songs. He also had a hand in producing the album.
Given the remarkable success of Hotshot, Shaggy felt surprisingly
little pressure this time out. "We wanted to make it dope, but
everything ended up being done very quickly," he recalls. "The
success last time gave me the freedom to go into the studio
with the people and songs I wanted." That freedom rings true
from the opening cut to the final fade-out.
Songs like the mad funky "Shake Shake Shake," "Hookie Jookie,"
and the title track thrust Shaggy into deep Dancehall mode as
he salutes the beauty and sexual power of women. "These songs
are young and wild," says Shaggy. "They have humor, but also
a certain maturity to them." With its lonely solo trumpet and
flamenco flourishes, the premiere single "Hey Sexy Lady" offers
a humorous take on the bold and the beautiful banging the headboard
in the room next door.
Shaggy soon shifts to a more serious vein with tracks like "Walking
In My Shoes" and "Lost." The former offers a message of hope
and empathy that crosses racial, gender, ethnic and national
lines; the latter powerfully addresses the thug life as seen
through the eyes of loving family members. The melodic "Full
Control" preaches liberation to and for women, while "Strength
of a Woman" and "These Are The Lips" are as understanding and
positive as love songs get these days. "How many ways can you
say I love you?" asks Shaggy. "It's not what you say but how
you say it, so when I make records, I try to see things from
a new angle."
With the upbeat and prayerful "Another Day," Shaggy completes
the cycle, going from five-alarm booty call to celebrating the
virtues of woman to thanking the Almighty for the gifts of life.
"On every album, I include a song that gives thanks and praise,"
notes Shaggy. "You have to remember God in what you do; He makes
True, but Shaggy has never given less than 100% in shaping what
has become an extraordinary artistic career. He was born Orville
Richard Burrell in Kingston Jamaica. As a kid, his friends nicknamed
him "Shaggy" after the character from "Scooby Doo." From the
beginning, music was his passion. Leaving Jamaica at the age
of 18 to join his mother in Brooklyn, NY, Shaggy soon began
pursuing a musical career. He got a major boost when his "Mampie"
and "Big Up," both hard-core dancehall tracks, hit #1 on theeee
reggae charts. Shaggy joined the U.S. Marines in 1988, and a
few years later, found himself fighting in the Gulf War.
International success began with the 1993 release of Pure Pleasure,
his debut album. The single "Oh Carolina" became one of the
biggest hits in U.K. pop history, and went on to top the charts
in nine other countries. With his 1995 album Boombastic, Shaggy
found U.S. success at last. The platinum-certified album won
the 1995 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album, while the title
track topped Billboard's Reggae, R&B and Rap charts (it hit
#3 on the Pop charts as well).
"Boombastic" also hit #1 across Europe. Along with the hit title
track, the album featured a lively update of "In The Summertime"
and a sensational version of "The Train Is Coming," featured
in the film "Money Train." In September 1996, soon after finishing
his 1995/1996 world tour, Shaggy returned to the studio to record
his third album, Midnite Lover (1997). By then, his diverse
pop, reggae, R&B, and worldbeat audience had been solidly established.
He contributed songs to such soundtracks as Speed II, Jungle
To Jungle, and How Stella Got Her Groove Back.
With his new Big Yard/MCA label readying a slate of releases
and Lucky Day ready to drop, Shaggy has a minimum of slack time
these days. But it's all good as far as he's concerned. "I love
making music," he says. "My main thing is to make people smile.
My aim is to have you put my record in your CD player and not
skip a single track." On Lucky Day, as always, his aim is true.