UbuntuFM meets up with Ghanaian US-based Rap/HipHop artist in this interview to discuss his single, 'Real' and his creative process.
Thank you for granting us the request for this interview.
Nice being in touch.
You have a most catchy stage name – ‘X-Shai'. What's the story behind the choice of name?
I actually got that name ‘Shai’ from my Jewish manager. ‘Shai' means ‘gifted’ in Hebrew language. The whole X thing started with the ladies; they say I am skinny, tall and X means sexy.
It's to be gathered that you're Ghanaian and doing music in the United States. How does your cultural origin influence your brand of music?
People love my culture in general, and everyone is looking forward to hearing some Afro-pop songs from me.
There's a lot going on musically in Ghana. Do you maintain ties with the musical climate in Ghana?
Ghana is a place for music. We love music, Ghanaian music right now is so much into Dancehall, and I am so into broadening myself worldwide with Hiphop, Eletronic, Pop music, and always try to be the best among the rest.
In your opinion, how does Ghana potentially stand to compete in the global music industry?
Ghanaian music totally stands the chance to compete in the global music industry. That’s was my vision as an artist, and also to be a great role model for the rest of the kids growing up in Ghana and the rest of the African countries,
Your music track, 'Real', caught our attention. We couldn't help but agree that it's a remarkable achievement of HipHop/Rap. It doesn't escape the notice still that the lyrics express personal things you feel strongly about. Is there a story that's behind the inspiration for the track?
The true story about the song, ‘Real’, refers to all my fake friends so quick to judge. They always smile in your face, but deep down, they want to see you ‘dead’. So I had to use that emotion and put it all together in my music, so I can come up with something dope. You pay attention to the lyrics, you notice it’s all about love, why it’s so hard for us to love one another, but it’s so easy for us to hate, kill, mock one another. The whole song is about positivity over negativity. It’s a great honor to have caught your attention with this song because that is all what HipHop music is about – expressing yourself, telling people your story, and letting them know where you are coming from.
How has the acceptance for 'Real' been since its release?
I am totally not worried about the acceptance for ‘Real. It’s just part of my life story. At the end of the day, some will love the music, and some others won't.
Looking back on the way you've come with the creative process for 'Real', would you have done any of the steps differently?
If I was told to re-do the song, I will do it the same way a hundred times over without any regrets.
As they say, "... there's always a story behind the man". How did your life's experiences set you on the path of HipHop? Did you from the onset have it in mind to be a HipHop/Rap artist?
Since I was at the age of ten, I used to do freestyles and my friends would record and play it for bunch of audiences and people would make the mistake of thinking it was Lil’ Wayne (laughs). So being in the HipHop/Rap game is something I was raised with in my blood, and there is more to come. Just stay tuned.
What are your creative plans for the remainder of the year? Tours? Collaborations? Promotions? Anything in the works?
I have more works on the way. As an independent artist, I’m doing this myself with no help or support. It’s just me, so I have to move one step at a time. I’m looking forward to starting tours and doing collaborations.
Besides 'Real', 'Tell Me' and 'Dance' are played to our listening audience on UbuntuFM HipHop radio. Do you have any word for them before we call it a wrap?
I am nothing without my fans. I love them all. They give me life and hope each and every day. Stay tuned for more X-Shai Music
It's been a most entertaining moment with you.