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Shamir on Wikipedia
Shamir at concert, Columbus, OH.jpg
Background information
Birth nameShamir Bailey
Born(1994-11-07) November 7, 1994 (age 22)
OriginLas Vegas, Nevada
GenresElectronic, disco, hip house
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals (Countertenor), Guitar, Synthesizers, Drums
Years active2014–present
LabelsGodmode Records, XL Recordings

Shamir Bailey (born November 7, 1994), known mononymously as Shamir, is an American singer and songwriter from Las Vegas, Nevada.[1][2] His debut extended play (EP), Northtown, was released in June 2014 to positive reviews.[2] In October 2014 he signed to XL Recordings and released the single "On the Regular".[3] His debut LP Ratchet was released on May 19, 2015 in the United States.[1][2]


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Music career
  • 3 Musical style
  • 4 Discography
  • 5 Tours
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

Early life

Shamir grew up in North Las Vegas,[1][2][4] an area that he has called "cookie-cutter suburban."[5] He was raised as a Muslim but describes himself as "more spiritual than religious, I don't believe in god per se, I kind of feel like god is the universe."[5] Shamir is genderqueer, informing an interviewer in 2015 that "I don't identify as gay because I don't identify as male or female",.[6] Although he does not have a preferred pronoun, he is comfortable with male pronouns,[7] and "never really got" singular they.[8]

His aunt was in the music business and lived with Shamir and his mother. Bass players and producers were guests at the family's home, helping his aunt with her songs.[9] His parents and aunt introduced him to a wide range of music, including hip-hop, R&B, Outkast, Groove Theory, and singers like Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Janis Joplin.[2][9][10] At age nine, Shamir received an Epiphone guitar, and began writing music.[1]

At age 16, he formed a punk band with a friend, but the band ended quickly when his partner froze on stage at their first gig.[9] During his high school years, he recorded tracks for his first EP.[1] Shortly after graduating from high school, he sent a demo tape to the Godmode label in New York City. The label founder Nick Sylvester signed him to the label.[2][5]

Music career

Shamir's debut EP, Northtown, was released by Godmode in June 2014 and is named for the Northtown neighborhood where he grew up.[11] Jules Muir, writing for the music blog Pigeons & Planes noted that Shamir "continues to make a bigger name for himself with every new release and a unique new sound on each."[12] Jamieson Cox of Pitchfork Media called the EP's opening track, "If It Wasn't True" "a stunning opening salvo, one that plays on the tension between Shamir's slender vocal and lyrical naiveté and grimy, threatening instrumental tones before devolving into a chaotic mess, swallowed by a haphazardly firing synth corroding in real-time."[11] In July 2014, Flavorwire named Shamir's "If It Wasn't True" one of its "25 Best Songs of 2014 So Far".[13] also included Shamir in its "New Music To Know: Best of 2014, So Far" profile, noting that "Shamir combines the honest songwriting of Taylor Swift with the theatrics of Lana Del Rey to make something that sounds far wiser than his 19 years."[10]

After signing to XL Recordings, he released the single "On the Regular" in October 2014[14] which went on to be used in a 2015 Android Wear commercial.[15] In March 2015, he released "Call It Off" as a single in the debut album, Ratchet, released on May 19, 2015.[16] The accompanied music video was made and released as part of the 2015 YouTube Music Awards.[17] "Darker" was the second single from Ratchet; the song was released in May 2015.[18][19][20] In 2015, he toured with Years & Years, opening for their UK dates. In mid-March 2016, he served as the opening act for Troye Sivan's Blue Neighbourhood Tour. On April 17, 2017, Shamir released his second album, Hope. He revealed he was dropped from XL Recordings and self released the album.

Musical style

Shamir is known for having an androgynous countertenor voice.[1] wrote that Shamir's singing voice, "like Joplin's, stops you in your tracks."[10] He does not mind having his voice described as androgynous, but notes that "countertenor" is the correct term: "It's not feminine, it's not masculine. It's a happy medium ... I feel like if the world was more like that, our problems would be gone."[10]

Critic Jamieson Cox, writing for Pitchfork Media, wrote:

With a piercing countertenor somewhere between Prince masquerading as Camille and the cracking adolescent soul of the teenage Michael Jackson, the 19-year-old North Las Vegas native dismantles the expectations maintained for vocalists based on their gender, demanding instead that the focus be placed on their agile, fluttering performance.[11]

Lizzie Plaugic of CMJ called Shamir's music "amazingly unclassifiable," like a "souped-up Vegas Strip disco with a self-conscious pop bent," and wrote that his voice "limbers and stretches like a wad of pink Silly Putty dipped in glitter."[21]


Studio albums

  • Ratchet (2015)
  • Hope (2017)


  • Northtown (2014)


Opening act
  • Marina and the Diamonds – Neon Nature Tour (2015)
  • Troye Sivan - Blue Neighbourhood Tour (2016) (Washington D.C., Atlanta, Orlando, Miami, Dallas and Houston shows)


  1. ^ a b c d e f St. John, Colin (May 13, 2015). "Five reasons to love Shamir; Get to know the ascendant pop star before they blow up.". Timeout. New York. p. 18. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Crawford, Anwen (May 18, 2015). "Never Settle: The shape-shifting methods of Shamir". The New Yorker. New York. pp. 90–92. Retrieved June 9, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Shamir Shares "On the Regular" Video, Signs to XL". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  4. ^ Matt Wilkinson (June 25, 2014). "A Guide to The Las Vegas Scene That Inspired Shamir's Incredible New EP". NME. 
  5. ^ a b c "Shamir Q&A: Meet the man behind one of 2014's most essential new EP's". NME. June 25, 2014. 
  6. ^ Jason Lamphier (May 7, 2015). "Hot List: Shamir". Out. 
  7. ^ Steph Kretowicz (May 13, 2015). "INTERVIEW: Shamir". Dummy. 
  8. ^ Shamir (April 4, 2015). "Twitter". Twitter. 
  9. ^ a b c Thomas Gebremedhin (2014). ""If It Wasn't True" by Shamir Bailey Is Your New Favorite Breakup Song". Vogue. 
  10. ^ a b c d "New Music To Know: Best of 2014, So Far". July 2, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c Jamieson Cox (June 9, 2014). "Shamir: Northtown EP". Pitchfork. 
  12. ^ Jules Muir (June 5, 2014). "Listen to "Northtown," Shamir's Impressive Debut EP". Pigeons & Planes. 
  13. ^ Moze Halperin (July 9, 2014). "Staff Picks: Flavorwire's Favorite Cultural Things This Week". 
  14. ^ Minsker, Evan (October 28, 2014). "Shamir Shares 'On the Regular' Video, Signs to XL". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved February 15, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Android: Wear what you want (party on)". YouTube. March 9, 2015. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  16. ^ Milton, Jamie (March 23, 2015). "Shamir Shares New Single, Call It Off". DIY. DIY. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Shamir - Call It Off (Official Music Video YTMAs)". YouTube. YouTube. March 23, 2015. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  18. ^ Spin
  19. ^ Pitchfork
  20. ^
  21. ^ Lizzie Plaugic (June 6, 2014). "Stream Shamir's Debut EP, Northtown". CMJ. 

External links

  • Official website

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