We caught up with the Singapore-based rapper, Shigga Shay, ahead of his headlining acoustic set at the Aliwal Urban Arts Festival 2015, happening this Saturday, January 17th.
Shigga Shay, born Pek Jin Shen, first made Singapore sit up with his track, “LimPeh” (“Your Father” in Hokkien) in 2013. Then last year, he followed up with the single, “Lion City Kia” (“Lion City Kid”). Peppered with Hokkien, Malay, and Tamil lyrics, with a music video shot in the ‘burbs, featuring fellow Singapore rappers, musicians, artists and celebrities, “Lion City Kia” was basically Shigga saying: I’m from Singapore, hear me roar.
“I always wanted an outlet to express myself, and this entire rap thing was perfect for it,” he explained.
As the most exciting hip hop act to come out of Singapore in recent times, Shigga has been making the headlines quite a fair bit. The local media love him for his newer work, thanks in part to the relatable, colloquial lyricism, but the 23-year-old has been on the grind since 2010, the year he first wrote and recorded his debut mixtape, ShiGGa Shay’s in the Building!. In 2011, he was the first Singaporean to be featured on WorldStarHipHop, the world’s most popular hip hop site.
2015 is set to be a big year for Shigga. He will be releasing his debut full length album, performing at the SEA Games, and star in Royston Tan’s upcoming movie, 3688.
Shigga’s next appearance will be at the Aliwal Urban Art Festival 2015, happening this Saturday, January 17th. He will be performing a laid back, acoustic set as part of the #LushLovesLocal showcase at A by Arbite, a cafe located on 28 Aliwal Street. Organized by Aliwal Arts Centre, and supported by the National Arts Council, the event puts the spotlight on Singapore’s burgeoning urban arts scene, which Shigga has most definitely contributed to.
While his stripped-down and initimate set this Saturday will no doubt be a departure from his usual rambunctious performances, it will also be the perfect opportunity to appreciate his refreshingly honest, witty lyrics – a writing style inspired by the greats; 2Pac, Biggie, Jay-Z, Eminem. He said, “They had their own very distinct styles and messages.”
Tough on the outside, Shigga’s got a soft spot for his mother. He considers her an inspiration for “just being herself, the way she lives life, the way she speaks to people”.
Despite a busy year ahead, Shigga’s plans are far from finite, as he expressed a desire to break into the international market. “Stay humble and always work hard”, he advised wisely, “Success is the journey, not the destination.”
Catch Shigga Shay‘s acoustic set and other live performances from 5pm to 9pm at the #LushLovesLocal showcase by Lush 99.5, happening this Saturday, January 17th, at A by Arbite on 28 Aliwal Street.
More information on Aliwal Urban Art Festival 2015 here.