Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Backstage Vancouver interviews Shad

Ask my roommates, I live off drive through fries, two shirts and a tube of toothpaste
I live in a new place, every few days
How I'm living is never staying a minute too late

The full piece at Backstage Vancouver. It's actually an excellent example of incorporating an interview into the body of your text, as opposed to having a floating back-and-forth format. And I'm always a big fan of using lyrics in write-ups. Kudos Lauren :)

My first dose of Shad was on 21 February 2009 at the Biltmore Cabaret, and I’ve been addicted ever since. He is an emcee from London, Ontario, and has been living in Vancouver for over a year now. His shows present his energetic live personality, entertaining freestyle skills, and the unique ability to play guitar and rap simultaneously. What struck me at the concert was his sincere and down-to-earth presence, elevating him immediately to the rank of one of the most genuine people I had ever encountered. You get what you see, and you can’t help but love it. Shad says that the balance between being himself and being a performer is that the music is "still you, but it’s entertaining people and it’s having fun, and to me that’s inseparable.” This is especially evident in his lyrics, which have as much profound yet understated self-reflection as his conversation.

Shad’s awareness reaches much farther than self-reflection. He describes his song “I Heard You Had A Voice Like An Angel/Psalm 137” as his reflection on “an industry that is, to a great extent, damaging culture and damaging people, and yet the face of it is smiling, singing and dancing.” ...

You could say Shad is religious. He believes in God, and it comes through in his lyrics. His clever integration of references sees such variety as Ne-Yo and Moses in sequential breaths. However, Shad’s beliefs lie in something as big as God: love.

... This wisdom of man / is foolishness to God / Don’t build on the sand / or trust in the odds / Be shrewd as the snakes / and innocent as doves / Don’t succumb to hate / overcome hate with love (“Exile”). Shad feels that “the highest wisdom in the world is loving people,” despite the fact that it is counter-intuitive in today’s capitalist society. Shad calls us to action in his songs, even though getting up after being knocked down is a well-known adage. His response to the apathetic and desensitized nature of our generation is that we must do something: “if nothing else we have to take charge of our own life, not let life pass us by and not just become whatever life makes us. We have to be deliberate about choosing who we want to be.” This drive and motivation has propelled Shad this far, and promises to carry him as far as he chooses to go.

For all the times I've seen him around Vancouver, as well as performing for friends, I'm looking forward to delving deeper into Shad's musical musings.