Welcome back to the Wordplay 10 Questions. As ever we will be keeping it light, allowing our guests to expand on their answers as much as their time allowed. This week, we have one of London’s most challenging lyricists, the rather dope Shay D of LC Collective and Itch FM….
1) Contestant, what’s your name, chosen craft and where are you based?
I am Shay D, you can can call me Shay. I rap and I am a born and bred Londoner.
2) How would you describe your sound?
I would say it is strong lyricism over a gritty boom bap influenced vibe.
3) Who / what do you consider to be the biggest influence on your music?
I think life and social observations are the biggest contributors to my music. My experiences, my opinions and standing up for voices that may be scared to speak up or are avoided all play a part in my content. In terms of production, I like head nodding beats that are emotional!
4) What’s the proudest moment to date for you as an artist?
I really felt proud of being the chosen poet to take part in Spoken Word vs Grime with Devlin on BBC 1xtra Radio Live Lounge in summer. It was nerve wracking and so exciting at the same time. Also winning PRS women make music funding to put the Lyrically Challenged album launch that I am part of at the Jazz cafe on – it was rammed that was amazing 🙂
5) Do you have any advice for our readers who maybe trying to play the mad game of music?
I would say don’t be shy and start reaching out and networking from early. For me, being shy was my biggest setback. I’m a naturally confident and outgoing person but as an artist I was so shy. Going to open mics, speaking with promoters and producers, attending events consistently really helps spread your name and also be inspired by other artists. Please reach out, if you don’t ask you don’t get. And don’t devalue yourself as an artist, once you build get money for your art, don’t give yourself away. In the UK I feel we cheapen our scene by never contributing to art but dont blink to buy a pint. Pay for events to get in, buy independent music and clothing, pay your artists fees to perform, pay designers and producers, if we act professional we will be taken serious.
6) Name 3 people you would love to work with and why?
Hmm, interesting question as your mind goes all the way to ones you may think is unlikely and more realistic ones but Ill just say what comes to my gut. I would love to work with Erykah Badu coz I think shes so musical and love her taste in beats and overall vibes. I would love to work with UK producer Show n Prove coz he’s beats are just so sick and open minded, this may happen already actually so that would be sick, we had contact in the Autumn. In the UK, I would love to collab with Mic Righteous coz I think hes a sick lyricist and raps so emotionally, that’s what I am about.
7) What have you got planned for the not so distant future?
My album is out on Feb 12th and just after I will be doing a album launch event, after that I just want to tour the album. I’m working on my poetry book as I do spoken word too, I am also making my merchandise. I work for Breakin’ Convention too so we are touring Hip Hop Theatre and running lots of rap and poetry workshosp for young people which is my other work.
8) What’s the album you’ve played more than any other?
Damn thats a hard one! My whole life or recently? Recently I have been listening to “The Black Hystori Project” by Cyhi The Prince a lot along with Jhene Aiko’s EP “Souled Out” and I think in my lifetime the most [played album is probably “East 1999” by Bone Thugs & Harmony I was obsessed!
9) What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to? And where?
The best concert was Rock The Bells in Miami. The maddest story, it was my second day there and I got crazy sunburn coz I took my olive skin for granted lol. So to avoid the sun we went downtown shopping on the third day in the afternoon and a homeless person came up to me and was like “Shorty, you want some tickets, I’ll take $10” I literally just bought it not knowing what Rock The Bells was, he pointed to masses of people walking towards a venue. We went with all our shopping bags and i literally walked into this huge sunny open air theatre to Jedi Mind Tricks was on stage, shortly followed by Talib Kweli, Common, Mos Def, Wu Tang, Immortal Technique, Pharoahe Monch it was a hip hop heads HEAVEN!
10) Name 3 things you can’t live without?
The people I love deeply, Food & Speaking.
Lastly, can you nominate another contestant and provide us with a question for them on your behalf?
I nominate Kingpin who just won UK Hip Hop album of the year by JustGot. He loves talking.
Any last words/shoutouts?
Thank you to Wordplay and all the energy you put into keeping our scene thriving. I always enjoy reading your articles and listening to the podcast. Shout out Hip Hop Label Underworld Konnect, DJ Shorty, Lyrically Challenged, The Itch FM family, Breakin’ Convention team and to all the supporters and fans of Hip Hop & Poetry man!