EXCLUSIVE: Shako talks debut single ’99 Problems’

Shako is soon to be the new name on everyone’s lips.

Inspired by the likes of John Mayer, the rising New York based singer-songwriter has been honing his craft for a number of years and is now ready to show the world what he’s made of.

Earlier this month, Shako released his debut single ’99 Problems’, a soul-pop infused offering which combines his blissful vocals with striking lyrics. The track gives us a taste of what’s to come from Shako, leaving us truly excited at the prospect of more new music.

We caught up with Shako to discuss his new single ’99 Problems’ in detail, his future music plans, his musical influences, his biggest life lesson in music and more.

Hey Shako, welcome to CelebMix! First off, please introduce yourself to our readers with a little-known fact.

Hi! Thanks for interviewing me. So my name is Shako I am a singer-songwriter and guitarist. One fact about me is that I’m not originally from New York! I was born in Kazakhstan.

You’ve just released your debut single ‘99 Problems’, congratulations! How has the response been to it so far?

Thank you! It’s been overwhelmingly positive. People that I have never met before actually responded really well to the song.

The song was inspired by an experience you had on the E train in NYC. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

Yes! I was riding and writing on the E train, trying to get some lyrics down to a chord progression. I saw a really cute couple on the train. The thing that peaked my interest about them was the way they looked at each other. I haven’t seen two people reciprocate so much love at an even frequency. That encounter inspired the lyrics of this song. I also wanted to take a couple monumental lines from my favorite hip-hop tracks and tell this story through this song. Lines such as “One to the three to the four” and “She don’t believe in Shooting stars” were from some of my favorite classics.

What was the creative process like? How long did it take for the song to take form?

My process varies. Sometimes it takes me 30 minuets to write a song and others overtime. Inspiration works in mysterious ways. This song was written in a week that’s why it’s funny that it took me so long to put it out.

You produced the song yourself along with Malcolm Fong. What was he like to work with?

He was excited to work on this song from the get go. He got me as an artist. I am trying to achieve a balance with my music, combining the old with the new. I was trying my best to combine my jazzy chords with 808’s and other popular modern sounds. He helped me achieve that, it’s an absolute blessing to work with him.

What’s your favourite lyric from ‘99 Problems’?

It would have to be “She don’t believe in them shooting stars but she believes in this guitar”. It kinda paints a picture of the significant other just with a couple of words.

Why did you choose ‘99 Problems’ as the song to introduce yourself to the music world?

It was the first song of mine that made me believe in myself as an artist.  I promised myself that this would be my first step to the rest of the world.

Are you working towards an EP or album? If so, what can we expect from your music in the near future?

You can expect the unexpected. This first song isn’t like a lot of my newer songs. I write about depression, different aspects of our society, and of course love. It will definitely be an EP.

Who are some of your current musical inspirations?

John Mayer and Stevie Wonder are definitely the musicians that are on my Mount Rushmore of music. Currently, I am really inspired by Bruno Mars, Kehlani, Jorja Smith, Charlie Puth, and Anderson Paak.

Living in NYC, how has the city influenced you both personally and musically?

Well I believe that NYC is the greatest city of all time. You get a taste of so many cultures and listen to so many amazing artists. I can’t help but be inspired by all of this and can’t begin to explain how it has shaped me.

What would be your ultimate achievement as an artist?

I would have to say working with Malcolm Fong and releasing this single. I get to collaborate with such amazing musicians on a daily basis and to me that’s the ultimate achievement.

Music is obviously in your blood as you’ve grown up around it and have been involved with it yourself for a number of years now. Did you ever consider any other career option or did you always aspire to work in music?

I wanted to design shoes growing up but looking back on that I am glad I chose my real passion.

What’s the biggest life lesson you’ve learnt during your time in the music industry so far?

Don’t trust people’s words in the industry. It’s all about actions and putting your money where your mouth is. I have had so many people tell me all these things that I wanted to hear and when it came time for action I barely heard from them.

Do you have any plans for the rest of 2018 that you can share with us?

The game plan will be to release content each month from covers to music videos until I drop my EP!

Thank you to Shako for his time. Keep up to date with him via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and his website.

’99 Problems’ is available now.

Let us know your thoughts on Shako and his debut single on Twitter @CelebMix

Written by Katrina Rees

I'm Katrina, or Kat to pretty much everyone. I'm an editor for CelebMix, a content writer, a boyband lover and an all round music fanatic.
Twitter: @lifeofkatrina