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Tuesday, 27 March, 2001, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
Shaggy answers your questions

To listen to coverage of the forum, select the link below:

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After a six-year break from the top of the British music charts, reggae singer Shaggy returned last month blasting Atomic Kitten from the top spot with It Wasn't Me - which sold more than 340,000 copies in its first week.

The Jamaican artist was in born 1968 but moved to Brooklyn, New York, when he was 18. As a child friends nicknamed him "Shaggy" after the character from the cartoon "Scooby Doo."

He hit international success in 1993 with Oh Carolina - which became one the biggest hit singles in the UK's pop history. Another chart-topper followed with Boombastic released in 1995.

Before fame and fortune, however, Shaggy joined the US marines to earn a living and found himself in the Iraqi desert fighting in the Gulf War. He says of the experience: "War is ugly. It had a big impact on me, in terms of appreciating life. When I got out I decided, this is it, I'm taking my music to the heights."

What does he enjoy most about being famous? What musician would he most like to work with? What plans for the future?

The reggae star joined us for a live forum on Tuesday and answered a selection of your questions.


Transcript:


Sian, Brighton, Great Britain:

Why are you called Shaggy?


Shaggy:

I was called Shaggy because my hair was shaggy. Back in the old days they said I resembled Shaggy from Scooby Doo.


Newshost:

What is your real name?


Shaggy:

My real name is Orville Richard Burrell.


Newshost:

Shaggy has a better ring to it, doesn't it?


Shaggy:

Yes it does.


Newshost:

Does everyone now call you Shaggy or do some people call you by your real name?


Shaggy:

Most people call me Shaggy.


Gilda Costa Mpuya, Tanzania:

Why did you take such a long break between Boombastic and It Wasn't Me?


Shaggy:

Between that time I was on Virgin Records and I was basically sacked by Virgin Records so I had to get another deal. I wanted to make sure the deal I was getting and the major company I was going to go with, would be the right one for me. This took me a little bit of time to get that done.

I was doing music still but I was doing soundtracks. The majority of these soundtracks were only released in the US and not in the UK and Europe so that is why a lot of people didn't hear from me but I was still making music. We had a song with Janet Jackson that was a top No. 3 hit in the US. I was then signed to MCA Records and here I am with the first album from my new record company - so this is why it took me so long to sort it out.


Newshost:

You must feel really good coming back with such a huge successful song?


Shaggy:

Well we make hits - we just have to let people know that.


Newshost:

"It Wasn't Me" is about a man caught in a very compromising position - is that based on personal experience?


Shaggy:

No, I wish I had that much action in my life. It was just basically one of those things that I felt touched home. I felt everyone could relate to it and it was a great concept and the concept worked.


Paul, UK:

In the six years between "Boombastic" and "It Wasn't Me" did you discover any new sides to yourself?


Shaggy:

Yeah. There is a certain amount of humility that reaches you when you get dropped from a label and then you find your inner strength. When you get dropped from a label it basically sends a message to the industry that you are pretty much finished and I had to hurdle over that. But I totally weathered the storm and found that I was much stronger than that - to let a record company drop you - you have got to rise above that. I am totally different person now.


Charles Thompson, London, England:

Do you get a lot of respect in the US for serving in the Marines and in Jamaica for making a success of yourself?


Shaggy:

I was an artillery man in the Marines - we fired 155 Howitzers in direct fire. We were on the front line for a while - we were there for about five months. I spent four years in the military altogether.


Newshost:

Being a pop singer and being in the US Marines are very different - what made you make the change? What happened between those two points?


Shaggy:

I was doing music before I went into the military but what music I do is reggae music - I am probably one of the very few reggae artists that has actually made it this far. So if you were sitting there looking at the future of reggae music or of an as artist as a reggae artist - it really didn't look very bright.


Steve Saul, London, UK:

You served in the army, are you a Mr Lover Lover or a fighter?


Shaggy:

I can be both but I preferring the loving, loving part better.


Don, Ft Lauderdale USA:

Shaggy has a really unique voice and he uses it well. However, has he ever considered singing in another style other than rap or reggae?


Shaggy:

Oh yeah. I have the ability to sing itself. I did background vocals for Maxi Priest and others - it is not something that is hard to do but that is not the sound of Shaggy. If I do anything else in another style no one would really buy into that - what really sells right now is the sound of Shaggy - that is the unique sound that everyone is hooked on and that is what I have to give them.


Roxanne Ward, Bristol:

Who was your childhood idol?


Shaggy:

When I was younger, Jimmy Cliff was a big influence. Also Toots and the Maytells were sounds that I really enjoyed. Bob Marley obviously. I grab influences from all sorts of people.


Newshost:

You then put them altogether to make what you call the "Shaggy style"?


Shaggy:

The "Shaggadelic style" !


Newshost:

Do you enjoy performing live?


Shaggy:

Yeah. If you take the live aspect away from it then I don't think I would do it - that is certainly the icing on the cake. Yeah, that is why I do this. I make music to play music.


Michael Greaves, Brooklyn, New York:

How has your life changed since becoming a big star?


Shaggy:

There has been a drastic change. I don't have any time for myself now - never have. For the last ten years I have been doing this it has been a roller-coaster. Even in the dull times it has been pretty rough.


Newshost:

If you hadn't become a star what would you be doing?


Shaggy:

I would probably be the owner of a strip-joint - I would be a good one.


Newshost:

Do you think there is a future in that as well if your record career stops or halts temporarily again?


Shaggy:

Who knows. I might take a very long, long, long vacation this time.


Heshan, Melbourne, Australia:

How was your tour in Sri Lanka? Did you enjoy it?


Shaggy:

The Sri Lankan tour was beautiful. Great people - lots of love over there - lots of love.


Newshost:

What are you doing in Stockholm now?


Shaggy:

I am doing promotion right now.


Newshost:

This is for the single?


Shaggy:

Yeah. To support the single and the album release.


Newshost:

You talk about never having much time for yourself - it must be crazy having to cross the continent constantly promoting the song. Do you enjoy the promotion side of it?


Shaggy:

No, not really but I know it is something that needs to be done and you have just got to do it. The only way to make promotion work for you is to just do it and not think about it too much - do it like breathing - you don't think about breathing - you do promotion the same way - do it like second nature.


David, Manchester, UK:

Can you tell us a little more about the new album? What can we expect?


Shaggy:

I like to call the album fourteen tracks of orgasmic pleasure. There is a little bit of everything on there for someone. It is like a Shaggy roller-coaster ride. If you are into the Latin flavour, there is a Latin dance or vibe there. If you are into something more serious - it is there. There are tongue-in-cheek songs, like "Freaky", "Heh Love" and "It Wasn't Me" obviously. Then there is the sentimental side - "Leave it to me", "Angel", "The Lonely Lover" - there is something there for everyone.

The album has certainly proved itself. Check in the US - it has showed that it certainly has staying power and it has stayed all the way at the top.


Newshost:

When you write your album - what influences are you drawing from? What personal experiences are you drawing from?


Shaggy:

None of it is really personal experiences - it is either things that you know, people that it has happened to or know of situations like that. It doesn't have to be from a personal experience. Some of it is semi-autobiographical but not all of it.


Jessica, Bristol, UK:

Is Jamaica your home or is America your home?


Shaggy:

My home is basically Jamaica - I will always call that home but I do have a home in both places. I live between Jamaica and New York. I commute back and forth from there - it is a three-hour flight - I am in each place probably an equal amount of time.


Newshost:

Are people in Jamaica pleased with your success? Or do they resent your success?


Shaggy:

It is so pleasing to them. Basically I am the man carrying the flag right now and I am pleased to have that honour bestowed upon me.


John, Reading, UK:

How do you respond to comments that you are not doing very much on the song "It Wasn't Me" and that it is all the other guy's work?


Shaggy:

They can say whatever they want to say but at the bottom line I don't think there is anyone in this world that could question my credibility. I wrote the song - the whole idea of the song was mine. It all boils down to the song. It doesn't matter to me who basically sings more on the song.


Newshost:

Do you enjoy singing and working with other people when you are making your records?


Shaggy:

Yeah, it doesn't matter to me who really does the song. For instance, I could have easily got some famous guy to be on the song but to me it boils down to the song.


Newshost:

You mentioned working with Janet Jackson - is there anyone else you would like to work with on future albums?


Shaggy:

No - that is what I was saying. It doesn't matter to me who the star is - you can be a star or you could be the janitor - it boils down to the song. The song is basically what I am going to go with. It is the same thing with "It Wasn't Me" - this is a type of song that once I had the idea in my head it had this feel to it.

I could have said - "Hell, I am not more in the song" but that would take away from the concept of the song. It is a conversation between two people and it had to have the summary at the end where it says "I am going tell her that I am sorry for the pain that I have caused. You may think that you are a player but you are completely lost". It simply means we are not condoning anything that is being said on this record - we are just merely reporting a situation that went on. If it is structured that way then it is structured that way and that is the way I felt it would hit and that is the way it has hit. No one can question the credibility of Shaggy - I have done two huge hits by myself before that.


Amy, Sheffield, UK:

Are there any plans for a UK tour and an album?


Shaggy:

Yeah. We are going on the Back Street Boys' tour sometime around June. We are in negotiations right now whether or not we are going to be on the European leg of tour. If not, we will certainly be doing it on our own - it is a win-win situation anyway.


Newshost:

Do you use the Internet much yourself? I know you have a website.


Shaggy:

We do have a web site and I do go on the Internet every now and then but time is so limited these days - I have been so busy - so it is not as often as I would like to.


Newshost:

Do you have an opinion on the Napster situation?


Shaggy:

Napster is cool. I do like Napster for the accessibility of it but if it is not regulated then somebody has to be compensated and if they do that it is fine with me.


Newshost:

You don't worry about losing revenue from people getting hold of your songs?


Shaggy:

Absolutely. That is why I said it should be regulated so that someone can be compensated - that is the only thing I don't like about it. Once they have that sorted out then it is fine by me. I don't mind the accessibility of it when people are downloading it - but somebody needs to get paid for that.


Samer, USA:

What's the meaning of life at this moment for you?


Shaggy:

The meaning of life for me is basically just to have fun - just to have a good time. My thing is to put a smile on people's faces and if I can do that then it is wonderful.

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05 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Shaggy storms UK charts
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