Artist to Watch: Shamir

April 2 2015, 8:52 am

Newcomer Shamir is bringing his unique brand of ratchet pop to the masses.

If I were to quickly describe Shamir to someone, I would say: androgynous pop star. However, that doesn’t give his uniqueness enough credit. If I were to quickly describe his sound, I might say he is like the lovechild of Kelis and Mika. He shares the sass and occasional grit of Kelis and the gift of Mika to create catchy, poppy music that is instantly infectious.

The 20-year-old Las Vegas native has been receiving quite a bit of buzz lately. In between performing at South by Southwest, an Android commercial feature, and being featured in the YouTube Awards, he is quickly becoming one of the most exciting artists to watch.

Despite his fresh sound, he credits Nina Simone as one of his biggest musical inspirations. The buzz began last year with his upbeat song, “On the Regular,” and kept that success going with his latest single, “Call it Off,” from his debut album, Ratchet, out this May.

It’s finally feeling like springtime, and this song is just upbeat enough to make you get over the longest winter in history, and have a private dance party. It’s a catchy break up anthem about finally ending a toxic relationship. It also features the best line of the year that we should all live by: “Just can’t make a thot a wife no more basic ratchet guys. Listen up, I’m saving you from all the hell that you’ll go through.” Amen.

Shamir recently spoke with NPR about his androgynous look and sound, saying:

“… I never felt “latched” to a gender. I just kind of always felt like myself, and I never felt like I had to do certain things or be a certain way to fit into a certain mold.”

“…I used to get bullied and picked on a lot for my voice, even by other musicians, because they just didn’t get it. And that’s when I sat down and realized that, you know, this is my instrument and I have to take control over it. I have to know what I can do with it.”

Shamir can now laugh off those bullies as his success grows daily. He has a unique voice and seems to be push boundaries with his look and sound. It will be interesting to see what direction Shamir will go and what the rest of Ratchet will sound like.

Are YOU interested in hearing more from Shamir?