GRAMMY-winning dancehall reggae artist Shaggy recently participated in an installment of The Recording Academy's 5 Questions With … series. Held at The Academy's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., Shaggy discussed topics such as songwriting, musical influences, advice for young musicians, his service in the Marine Corps, and his latest album, Summer In Kingston.
"If my first four bars don't hold [your attention], then it's no good," said Shaggy regarding his songwriting philosophy. "If I don't get a reaction out of you from the minute the music starts, then I'm not onto something. That's my thought process. "
Born Orville Richard Burrell in Kingston, Jamaica, Shaggy was nicknamed after the "Scooby-Doo" character. After moving to New York in his late teens, Shaggy joined the Marine Corps and was stationed in North Carolina. During his service, Shaggy wrote and recorded music but his career was put on hold when he served a five-month tour of duty in Kuwait for Operation: Desert Storm in 1991. Upon his return, Shaggy resumed his music endeavors and recorded a cover of ska group the Folkes Brothers' "Oh Carolina." Shaggy subsequently landed a deal with Virgin Records and released his debut album, Pure Pleasure, in 1993. The title track to his sophomore effort, 1995's Boombastic, became his second UK chart-topper and shot to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album also netted Shaggy his first GRAMMY for Best Reggae Album.
Hot Shot, Shaggy's fourth album, was released in 2000 and vaulted to No. 1 on the Billboard 200. The album spawned a pair of No. 1 hits, "Angel" and "It Wasn't Me," and has sold more than 6 million copies, an impressive crossover feat for a reggae artist. Shaggy has since scored three No. 1 albums on Billboard's Top Reggae Albums chart, Lucky Day (2002), Intoxication (2007) and Summer In Kingston (2011). In addition to music, Shaggy's philanthropic efforts include the Shaggy Make A Difference Foundation, which he established following a visit to Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston. In January 2009 Shaggy staged a benefit concert that raised $250,000, which was utilized to purchase medical equipment for the hospital.
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