Looking for new music to become obsessed with this year? We’ve done the leg work for you and can advise you should listen to anything and everything by Shamir, a Las Vegas native artist who blends together house, electronic and hip hop perfectly. Rapid fire, high-energy and insatiably fun, Shamir is the perfect antidote to your miserable winter commute to work.
For the record, Shamir identifies as genderqueer, an umbrella term for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine-identities which are thus outside of the gender binary and cisnormativity. Of course his gender fluidity has shaped his work and performance, but it isn’t always the focal point of his music. His onstage performances are full of ballistic energy, flamboyant and bold.
His best tracks include “On The Regular,” a bonkers ode to bravado (“Guess I’m neverending, you could call me pi) full of confidence reminiscent of Hot Chip or Robyn’s work with La Bagatelle Magique. And “Call It Off,” the most fun a break up has ever sounded since, again, Robyn’s “Get Myself Together,” while “Vegas” is a seedy slow burner full of foreboding lyrics (“Fantasy meets reality, dancing lies won’t let you barely breathe.”) The record these tracks appear on, Ratchet, made the ‘Best of the Year’ lists of Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, NME and more.
Pitchfork described him perfectly as having “a piercing countertenor somewhere between Prince masquerading as Camille and the cracking adolescent soul of the teenage Michael Jackson,” while claiming he smashes the expectations maintained for vocalists based on their gender, demanding instead that the focus be placed on their agile, fluttering performance. There is a huge amount to be said for artists reluctant to be defined by their gender identity, or indeed their lack-of.
Shamir is bright, inventive and a refreshing voice on the everexpanding pop landscape. Another bright and talented queer artist to bring a new perspective and style to the table.