Fri | Jan 22, 2021

Happy birthday, Shaggy - Reggae artiste living his purpose

Published:Thursday | October 22, 2020 | 2:19 PMYasmine Peru/Senior Gleaner Writer
Reggae and dancehall artiste Shaggy turns 52 today.
Reggae and dancehall artiste Shaggy turns 52 today.
Shaggy bears his chest during a 2005 performance. Now 52, Shaggy says he doesn’t feel older, eats right, exercises and takes care of himself, but knows he doesn’t look how he did 20 years ago.
Shaggy bears his chest during a 2005 performance. Now 52, Shaggy says he doesn’t feel older, eats right, exercises and takes care of himself, but knows he doesn’t look how he did 20 years ago.

Mr Boombastic, Shaggy, has completed another trip around the sun, and the reggae and dancehall artiste is less concerned with ageing and more focused on longevity and the fact that he has found his purpose.

In a recent interview with The Gleaner, Orville Richard Burrell, who got his moniker from the character in the once-popular Scooby-Doo cartoon, showed his more serious side, as he shared his views on responsibility, trials, happiness and whatever lies between.

Shaggy is this year celebrating 20 years since the release of his mega-hit, It Wasn’t Me, and while he marvelled that 20 years had so passed quickly, he kept it real. “It doesn’t feel like it, but I know I don’t look like how I did 20 years ago,” he said with a laugh, adding that he does eat right, exercise and take care of himself. He did tell fans in a song years ago that “with my sexual physique Jah know mi well built”, so he has a reputation to live up to.

That aside, Shaggy says he has found and is living that all-important purpose. This light pilots him as he navigates the various intricate spaces and seizes all opportunities which present themselves.

“It’s important to find your purpose,” the Oh Carolina singer emphasised. “Because if you don’t, then a couple of things will happen. For example, you will end up with 10 cars, without even realising that you can only drive one. You will have five houses, but you can only live in one.” Interestingly, Shaggy made his comments in an August 6 interview with The Gleaner, weeks before Chadwick Boseman’s purpose-focused commencement speech at his alma mater, Howard University, went viral following the actor’s death on August 28.

For Shaggy, whose philanthropy is well documented, a large part of that purpose has to do with his impact on the lives of other people and that, for him, is very sobering. “It is measured by how many people’s lives I have touched and changed the cycle within that family. And it is a butterfly effect, so you might find out that you are responsible for 100 people – indirectly paying water rate, light bills and school fees,” he explained.

Shaggy’s wisdom has been earned through struggles. “You have to endure trials and tribulations. If you keep on winning you will never really appreciate what you have. You have to experience the losses,” the two-time Grammy winner said.

The multi-award-winning, platinum-selling artiste was one of three music stalwarts honoured by the Jamaican Government with the Jamaica Reggae Icon Awards at the virtual Independence Spectacular on August 6. Shaggy was elated. “Any award among peers and in your own country is something to be highly appreciated,” he said.

He acknowledged that “Music makes me happy. I can’t kick a ball, but I can do music, and that makes me fulfilled,” he intimated.

Shaggy in celebration of the 20th anniversary of his chart-topping single, It Wasn’t Me, recently released an updated version of his record-breaking Hot Shot album. It was on August 8, 2000 that Shaggy released Hot Shot, his fifth studio album, which went on to be certified six times platinum in the United States, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Hot Shot has sold over nine million copies worldwide and was the second highest-charting studio album of 2001 on the Billboard Year-End charts. It was also the bestselling album of 2001 in Canada.

Shaggy, who was born in Kingston, Jamaica, on October 22, 1968, enjoyed a brief military career in the United States Marine Corps in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. He has had several chart-topping hits throughout his lengthy career, among them In the Summertime, Boombastic, Luv Me, Luv Me, It Wasn’t Me, Angel, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and I Need Your Love.