Special Interview: Shameem

What can you tell our readers about you? How and where did it all begin? It began when I started taking piano lessons at the age of 7, got a bit more serious when I started writing songs profusely at the age of 12, and got even more serious when I released an EP of original music in 2009. The rest is history. 

What had you first interested in music? Music was all around me growing up. My parents would constantly play music at home; everything from classical music through to The Beach Boys and Michael Jackson. 

Who motivates or influences your quest to make great music? I think music is a really powerful tool for conveying constructive social messages and positive ideas. I see my purpose as an artist to use my songwriting to encourage people to be more socially conscious and to contribute to the betterment of the world. 

Do you have any planned tours coming up? I’ll be touring nationally in the second half of February, doing shows in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Byron Bay and Adelaide. 

What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist? Making a living from performing and recording is a pretty big feat these days, with the age of downloads and streaming having arrived! Other than that, my goal is to travel the world performing and spreading the love. 

What can fans expect from you in the coming months? A new album release in January, national Australian tour in February, and hopefully some performances overseas later in 2015. 

Success, what is the secret to it and what has been your biggest career highlight so far? I believe that the keys to success are having a clear vision of what you want to achieve and why, the ability to learn on the job, and then constant, determined and tenacious hard work. My biggest career highlight so far was supporting George Benson at Perth Convention Centre. I might have done some things with my career that others consider more significant, but this has been a personal highlight for me. 

Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring? At the moment, I’m really digging Emeli Sande. In an industry full of pop stars who sing about love blah blah blah love, or who are propagating promiscuity and socially harmful behaviour, she’s writing her own songs and getting social messages out there, and is doing well for it too. Huge props to her. Someone who has been an inspiration for a long time also is Sting, for a similar reason, plus the fact that he is an excellent songwriter and has gotten to a point in his career where he is no longer inhibited by genre or style. 

How would you best describe you and your music to your fans? I am a passionate world citizen trying to do my bit for humanity. My music is neo-soul, with spiritually inspired, socially conscious and personal lyrics. 

What can you tell us about your latest album? This is my second album and it’s called The Second City. All the songs are written and co-produced by myself, with the exception of the track “Under One Sun” which was co-written and produced by Grammy-winning producer James Bryan, who’s based in the UK. This album is more mature than my previous recordings in terms of the quality of songwriting and production, as I’ve been growing and developing my skills. There’s also a bit more of a diversity of styles that I’ve explored on this album, as I forayed a little into reggae and also got more in touch with my Iranian roots. 

Are there any new exciting projects in the works? This album is the most exciting thing for me right now! Hopefully in the coming months I’ll sink my teeth into some collaborations with other Aussie artists. 

The music industry is huge, where do you see yourself a few years from now? It’s hard to see where you will be in the future, as the measuring markers keep changing. But no matter what, I see myself as still writing songs and spreading social and spiritual consciousness. That will never change. 

Name a few of your favourite Aussie artists. Hiatus Kaiyote are a pretty sick band, and Sia is also awesome. I recently discovered an indie folk/ soul singer from Sydney called Billie McCarthy who I really dig. Also I saw Coin Banks perform at the recent WAM Festival too and he totally blew me away. If you let me go further back, then I would have to say I LOVE Crowded House. Do they count as Aussies? Oh, and I have always loved the music of Yothu Yindi. 

The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye? It is what it is. Social media and other changes in the industry have brought with them both a lot of great advantages and a lot of great challenges for artists. To me, social media is a weapon: you can use it for good or for evil! Hopefully I’m using it well and effectively. 

Thank you for the interview! What can you leave fans of theaussieword.com with here today? Everyone has the power to make a difference, including you. What kind of a difference, however small, will you make in the world today? 

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