As a multi genre singer, songwriter and artist with hits topping 74k streams on Spotify, Shubz brings an upbeat lyrical style that is helping shed a light on Ottawa’s music scene. We sat down with this gifted freestylist to discuss his passion, determination and the process he uses for expressing his musical talents
Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up and what were you like as a child?
I grew up in Orleans, Ottawa for the majority of my childhood. I was really into sports since a young age playing football and basketball for competitive teams such as the Cumberland Panthers and Ottawa Pheonix respectively. I had my eyes set on becoming a professional athlete but due to severe lower back injury, I chose to take a step back from sports at the end of high school.
How long has music been a part of your life and how did you come to realize that music was the way forward for you?
I started listening to music as a source of motivation for my workouts and sports around seven years old and would primarily listen to Hip-Hop & Rap music.
I started writing music during high school however, never took the initial step of recording a song until one year after I graduated. There was a lot of judgement in high school and at that time I let it get to me never really spoke about the music I would write to my classmates. I found myself in a better headspace afterwards and once I recorded my first two-three songs, I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Although I did not know one thing about the music industry, I was determined to make it work no matter how long it took.
How would you describe your music?
How would you describe your current mood? I have a song for it all! My music is not tailored to one specific lane at all. I have Pop songs, I have Rap songs, I even have some Country and House-Party music up my sleeve. I believe the art of music is limitless and we should not set boundaries on what we can and/or should create. The only thing I would say I like to incorporate into all my music is positivity. I love to create outlets for people to come and feel like their in a good place when they are listening to my music. With so much negative situations and issues in our world today, it is important to me to separate that for my listeners.
How do you put words to paper? What’s your creative process like and what are the things that inspire you the most?
My favorite project so far has definitely been Don’t Let Me Go. It was the first song I decided I was going to shoot the music video outside of Canada and the entire process of creating the song and video is something I will never forget. I remember hearing the beat for the first time at a local hookah bar cafe and recording the song in Toronto while I was there shooting a music video for Gone, my first single I released. As I was recording the song, I already envisioned Morocco being the location for the music video as I stated in the first episode of my vlog series on my Youtube channel. Although the music video looked well organized, I can say that while in Morocco, the process to shoot the music video was far from easy. From location, to storyline, we had to cater everything on-site. There were very strict filming laws in Morocco, making it difficult to really record anywhere unless we had a permit from the government. But to see the final product makes it all worth it.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
50 Cent and Akon have been the biggest musical influences in my life. Those were the first two artists I remember searching up on Youtube when the platform was new. I still to this day don’t think there are any artists that I listen to more than those two. The way Akon was able to hop on hooks and verses with ease with his melodic approach was way ahead of his time and he killed each one. As I previously mentioned about my athletic career growing up, there is no better artist to listen to pre-game and during workouts than 50 Cent. He will get you pushing weights in the gym you didn’t know you can lift. Although I wouldn’t compare my artistic abilities to either of these icon artists, I do see myself following Akon’s footsteps in his musical approach when it comes to creating records. I envision myself to be a modern version of Akon just like Pop Smoke was to 50 Cent.
In what way would you like your music to impact people?
I hope for my music and brand to empower people. I want people to listen to my music and get inspired to do great things and to chase their goals and dreams.There does not have to be set rules on how to create art, how to take art in and even how to let it affect you. I am a person just like everyone else who was set to go to school and get a normal job but took a leap of faith into this world and I could not be more happier with my decision. The amount of messages I receive from people telling me how my music has helped them makes everything worth it.
You shot the music video for Don’t Let Me Go in Morocco. What inspired you to film it there?
I am not sure exactly on why I was so determined to shoot this music video in Morocco. The last time I had travelled outside Canada was when I was 6 years old to go to India with my family. It struck me while I was recording the song in Toronto. I wasn’t even done the song and I was announcing to my friends that I would be shooting this music video in Morocco. We had no plan on anything but when I speak on something I want to do, I make sure I do it. I met Ashton (SIP Entertainement) for the first time the same day we were taking a flight to Africa. I’ve always been a person to step outside the comfort zone and I wanted to do just that with that project.
If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I would love to perform in India! Although I have not been back in many years, its my roots. The people, the culture, the food is all amazing to say the least. It is also one of the top countries that listens to my music at the current moment. From what I have experienced, many indians back home love and cheer on their brothers and sisters who are in different parts of the world chasing their dreams. The people of India have shown me a ton of support and love in the past year and soon enough I will make it back to perform!
If you had to magically master one skill, which one would it be?
I wish to master the ability to sing! Although I am not the best, I can guarantee I am way better than I was several years ago. Since a young age I would listen to artists such as Chris Brown, T-Pain and other well known singers in the music industry hoping to be able to sing like them in the future and throughout the past several years I have been learning to the best of my abilities. I feel like one of my greatest skills as an artist at the current moment is how to structure an engaging song however, if I am able to master the skill of singing then I feel that I will unlock a new level in music creation.
A word to describe the music and hip hop scene in Ottawa?
UNDERATED!!! The music and hip-hop scene in Ottawa is extremely underrated in my opinion. There is so much talent within the city that gets overlooked. Although we have been getting more exposure over the past several years, my goal is to help shed more light on our city to the world as I truly believe there is industry level talent that needs to be discovered.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be and why?
If I could collaborate with any artist, it would have to be Akon. As I previously mentioned, he has been one of my greatest music influences and although he is not releasing as much music as he use to, it would be an honour to work with someone who has inspired me to create music like he did. I also feel like our styles of music would work hand-in-hand.
How do you see your sound evolving in the next couple of years?
I see my sound evolving into a very mainstream sound. I feel like I already have a mainstream/commerical sound however, I still feel like I have a long way to go on mastering that sound. My next project I have releasing is called Gold Roses and the music video was shot in both Morocco and Spain. In my opinion, it is one of my favorite music videos. It’s just good vibes and great scenery. I take pride in the videos I work to make as unlike many of the other hip-hop artists within the inidusty, I do not include cash, jewlery, cars, models to try and make the visuals appealing. I feel like if I can capture scenery that matches the vibe of the song, that alone is strong enough to keep viewers entertained. Gold roses is a record in which I freestyled the entire song and gives uplifting energy.