So far, New York-based producer ShiShi has released some amazing singles. His newest track “Give Me Love”, is truly special as it combines tropical and eastern flavors. I had the opportunity to have a little chat with him about this release as well as his personal life. So, make sure to check out our exclusive interview down here!
1 — In what ways has your nomadic childhood influenced your music style?
I would say just at a subconscious level, being exposed to so many different cultures, languages and ways of life at a really early age game me a deep sense of curiosity about things that are different from me – different viewpoints and ways of looking at the world. So creatively I’m always looking to draw connections between different worlds and cultures, blending things together that you wouldn’t otherwise associate with each other – I feel like that’s definitely reflected in my music in terms of the sound palette I use.
2 — What living in different countries has taught you about life?
The biggest thing is that judging other people is poison and that even some of your strongest opinions are still just opinions and you shouldn’t treat them like gospel. When you experience a lot of cultures that are vastly different from your own you realize that a lot of your opinions about this thing or that thing are just a product of your environment, and you start to step outside yourself and realize that other people have their own subjective ways of looking at the world. Living in a lot of different countries taught me to always try to understand and accept other people for their beliefs, viewpoints, and traditions even if they are different from mine.
3 — What made you become a music producer & DJ?
I grew up playing violin and guitar and started writing music when I was in High School, just making really simple songs with an acoustic guitar and badly trying to sing. That’s when I knew I wanted to make music my whole life, but I always felt really limited because I wasn’t a great singer and I only had one instrument. Halfway through college I got a MacBook Pro and discovered GarageBand, and that changed the game – suddenly I had any sound I could think of at my fingertips – the possibilities were endless. It was really that sense of freedom and creative control that got me into producing music on my computer, which eventually led me into the world of dance music and DJing.
4 — What has been your favorite venue to play so far in your career?
The most memorable gig I ever had was opening up for Max Vangeli at Marquee NY – I just remember DJing and looking out over a massive sea of thousands of people and thinking to myself “this is what I want to do with my life.”
5 — Speaking of music, you have just released a new single called “Give Me Love”, what is this song about?
“Give Me Love” is about that young and innocent kind of affection you felt for your first crush in grade school, the kind of love where you held nothing back because nobody was jaded by the hurt of past relationships. It represents the optimism and sense of hope we carried with us into our first relationships – we wanted to reflect that feeling in the lyrics and in the video.
6 — What were the filming locations of the music video?
We shot the whole video over the course of 2 days while we were down in Miami this past March for Miami Music Week, splitting locations between downtown Miami and South Beach.
7 — Would you like to share some funny anecdotes that happened during the filming?
The funniest and most memorable part of the shoot was definitely securing the old-fashioned sidecar motorcycle. The dealer we rented it from was based in Brickell, which is on the other side of the bridge in Miami, so on our way back to South Beach it was basically my buddy driving the bike with me, a fully-grown man, sitting in the sidecar two feet off the ground as we did 60 down the freeway. We were both wearing the funniest helmets and heads were basically turning in every car we passed by.
8 — Why did you decide to work with Daramola on vocals? Was this the first time you collaborated together?
Daramola and I have worked on a few others records together in the past and we just have this really magical singer/producer chemistry together – every time I send him something he absolutely crushes it. For this song, I knew I wanted to go for either a Caribbean or African vocal to match with the tropical sound of the record, so it was a no-brainer to get Daramola, who is Nigerian, involved.
9 — Was it challenging to combine Tropical and Eastern rhythms on “Give Me Love”? Is this blend part of your signature sound?
It was definitely a challenging but fun way to push myself artistically. Like I mentioned before, I’m always trying to combine sounds that wouldn’t normally exist in the same song together and contextualize them in a cohesive way. I feel like Indian music and Caribbean music have a lot more in common than first meets the eye – for example, Bhangra and Dancehall are actually pretty similar rhythmically if you peel back a few layers and really listen to what’s going on with the beat. Mixing together styles from different cultures like that is definitely a huge part of my sound and a big part of my mission as an artist as well – I want to make music that multiple cultures can identify with and use to find common grounds with each other.
10 — We know in the past you helped an international charity program with your music. Are you still focused on social work?
I’m really fortunate and grateful to have had the opportunities that I’ve been able to enjoy in my life, and so giving back is always on my mind in everything that I do. As you mentioned, with my song “Aarti” we were able to raise a bunch of money to help educate underprivileged kids in India, and I definitely plan to do more campaigns that tie back to my music like that in the future. At a deeper level, one of the primary reasons I am a musical artist in the first place is because I know the power that music can have to make people feel more empowered and connected to one another, and I hope that I can have a small hand in making good music that continues to provide value to peoples’ lives.