Music Q&A: Shay D

The London musician's new album fuses hip-hop, spoken word and tongue-in-cheek rap

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How would you describe your sound?
Gritty, passionate, honest and emotional. It depends what song you’re listening to but more time it’s been described as raw. I prefer the listeners’ descriptions.

What informs your music and songwriting?
Life. Everything going on daily, what people are experiencing, what’s challenging us – whether our ego and self or outside factors like politics and capitalism. We have so much, non stop, every single day happening to us, I tend to draw from personal observations and what I go through to shape my work.

How have you evolved as an artist over the years?
100 per cent, I have definitely developed over time. I love my debut album but decided to still work on my craft, from syllabic rhymes to flow patterns. I felt that I should practice and edit my work like most art forms, even athletes who train their bodies to perform better. Also my stage presence evolved too because I was very shy and anxious, and I’ve had to challenge myself to be comfortable on stage. Now I enjoy it so much more.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
I have some beats that I got whilst the album was being mastered so I’m writing to them. I’m also looking to work on a short hip-hop theatre piece if I can fit it in during the new year. Because my album Human Writes just came out, it’s hard to create, because I’m in a promoting and touring mindset now. I’m just focused on my headline London show on 27 Feb 2019.

What’s on your rider?
Lol. Not much. Apart from the music techs, I don’t drink alcohol or smoke so nothing too exciting. Pretty much tea or coffee, non-dairy milk, honey and a hot meal for myself and my DJ.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
I flew to Milan Fashion Week last year with Boy George – we have a track called Kiss The DJ together – to host his DJ set and perform it at the Swarovski launch party at the prime minister’s mansion! It was so surreal! Supermodels like Naomi Campbell were just casually walking around, and the world-famous Andrea Bocelli was singing to everyone after dinner. I was there with my £2 gold bamboo earrings from Wood Green market, like: “Rah, I’m gonna perform here.” It was nuts!

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