In Singapore getting people to listen to original music is sort of like trying to get a fat guy to try and eat a salad. The product could be good - sometimes fantastic – and healthy for you to try once in a while. But they don’t want to try it because they’re used to their mainstream garbage that makes them fat. Shigga Shay is entering a tough industry, but luckily his rap skills have got him noticed to a wide audience of young enthusiastic music-lovers.
Shigga meets me wearing his trademark Shigga Shay cap despite the heat and humidity. He’s Chinese-Singaporean,19-year-old, been rapping for 10 and has an album out this year. Of all the interviews I’ve done I’ve not met anyone who seems more natural. He’s just a young guy doing what he wants to do and as it happens people want to listen.
How did you get into the Singapore rap scene?
There isn’t really a rap scene. I basically started putting out music when I was 14 [on MySpace], and slowly people started listening and catching on to my style and it slowly grew from that.
How do you think the music and rap scene differs in Singapore to the rest of the world?
Definitely smaller. You won’t find a lot of Singaporean people listening to rap in Singapore.
So your single got to number 11 on the 97 Top Twenty Charts (Singapore radio station). Is that an exclusively local chart?
No, that’s competing with international artists such as Bruno Mars and Lady Gaga.
And you have an album coming out this year. What are your hopes and expectations for the album?
I really hope that when people talk about Singapore next time they don’t just think about Singapore as a port for trade they think more about the artists.
You’ve been referred to as the Singaporean Eminem. What do you think about that?
I’d take that as a complement. Eminem is one of the artists I started listening to at a young age so being compared to him is like an honour more than anything else.
If you could draw a moustache on any famous person’s face, who would it be? And why?
That is a very good question, actually. There are so many faces coming into my head right now. Susan Boyle.
Why? Because no one would notice?
Ha, no I don’t know why I just think it would suit her.
If you could fill a swimming pool up with anything what would it be?
Why would you… are they unpackaged???
What is the possible logic behind having a swimming pool full of unwrapped condoms?
You know, in case you want to have sex by the pool and you want to be quick. You just reach your hand into the pool. Or you could jump into the pool of condoms and just… watch two hot chicks wrestle it out.
OK. What’s the next step for you?
I want to make a lot more music videos from the songs on my album and great more content. In the next 5 years I’d like to still be doing what I do but… more successful.
And you main goal is?...
Do you ever get to meet the artists that come over from London?
Yes I’ve worked with Smartz and J Boug and a couple of American Youtube celebrities. It’s definitely a goal of mine to perform in London. One day I really want to meet a point where I can play a show in London and at least have maybe 10 people show up.
Who would you want to perform with?
Professor Green and Lily Allen. I would love to open for them. I love Lily Allen. She wrote a song called Chinese and I feel like she wrote the song for me. She has this song called Fuck You. I think it’s directed to George Bush, but the way she says fuck you is really sexy.
I went to London when I was young and I have to say – I love the accents. British people have amazing accents.
Yeah. I wish I had it, you know? So I could say ‘A lil’ bi’ o’ wa’er’ (“A little bit of water”)
I hope I can meet the people of London soon.
You can download ShiGGa Shay’s new single ‘Let’s Roll’ at http://shiggashay.com