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Shakka strums on dub, reggae

By Kevin Jackson
Observer writer

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Growing up in Notting Hill, London, British rhythm and blues singer Shakka was influenced by Caribbean music. His father, a reggae musician, plays guitar and introduced him to music.

“Music began for me being thrown into music school. My Dad (also) writes songs and loves a dub rhythm. That's all I knew while growing up — the music of Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, Alton Ellis. When he went to the studio I went with him. It was an experience that changed my life forever,” Shakka told Jamaica Observer recently, while taking a break from recording at producer Don Corleon's studio in Cherry Gardens, St Andrew.

He was in the island working with Canadian production duo Banx and Ranx, whom he teamed with earlier this year on Answerphone, a UK top-five single which features singer Ella Eyre and British rapper/singer Yxng Bane.

Shakka, whose parents are from Dominica, co-wrote the song which has been certified gold.

“Music is what brought me here to Jamaica. The culture of dub and reggae is what brought me here. Banx and Ranx,we've been working together about a year or so,” he said.

At age 13 Shakka began producing music. In 2013, he scored a hit song when he teamed with British hip hop star Wretch 32 on the song Blackout, which made it to number six on the British pop chart.

He won two MOBO Awards in 2014 for Best R&B/Soul Act.

His latest single is Man Down featuring AlunaGeorge. It peaked at number 25 on the British chart and has been certified silver for sales of over 200,000 copies.

Shakka's other hits in the United Kingdom include Playground (featuring Lethal Bizzle) and Say Nada. In 2016 he collaborated with Mr. Vegas I Love the Way.

“Calypso, soca, zouk, dub, and Caribbean music were what I was surrounded by while growing up. Me and my friends used to listen music that many people didn't know of. I was singing Dennis Brown's Love and Hate at school and people looked at me surprised. Our culture wasn't an exclusive club, but we felt special when others knew the music,” Shakka recalled.

He studied computer science for three years at Queen Mary University in London and worked as a programmer for a short time. Having released two major label EPs (he is signed to Columbia Records). Shakka is preparing to start work on his debut album and is also eyeing a future in film.

Last year, he wrote and produced music for the Netflix series Chewing Gum, which aired on E4 in the UK.

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