JUNO nominee Shad's scholarly days coming to an end
After spending the last three years on his master’s degree, Shad is about to close the door on grad school.
During an interview with CTV.ca, Shad explains how he’s been studying one term a year at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia for the past three years, and how he’s just about to wrap up his final sessions.
“It hasn’t been that bad, but every once and a while you hit a stretch where you have to get a lot done and you can’t miss too many classes, but you also have some shows to play,” says the 29-year-old, whose full name is Shadrach Kabango.
“Music is the priority, but if I’ve committed to doing a term of school, for those four months I try to respect that. Usually it’s pretty manageable, but sometimes it’s crazy.”
Shad is nominated for “Rap Recording of the Year” for his album “T.S.O.L.” The album is Shad’s third full-length release, following his critically acclaimed record “The Old Prince” (2007), and his debut album “When This is Over” (2005).
“When This is Over” was self-produced and financed with the $17,500 prize he won from a talent competition while he was still an undergrad at Wilfred Laurier University.
In 2008 “The Old Prince” earned Shad his first JUNO nomination, as well as a Polaris Music Prize nomination, and two MuchMusic Video Award nominations. “T.S.O.L.” was also nominated for a Polaris prize in 2010.
Shad faces stiff competition in the “Rap Recording of the Year” category this year, as he’s up against D-Sisive, Eternia & MoSS, Ghettosocks and this year’s JUNOs host, Drake.
Back to discussing his educational career, Shad says one of the benefits grad school provides him with is a “structured” learning framework. And regardless of when he’s in classes or not, he says he always has a book or two on the go.
“I read a couple books a week, depending on what the course is it can vary,” says Shad.
“These days the last book I read was called ‘The Things that Carried’ by Tim O’Brien, a war book, Michael Ignatieff’s ‘The Needs of Strangers,’ kind of political philosophy, Upton Sinclair’s ‘The Prophets of Religion,’ ‘The God of Small Things.’ A range. I learn towards non-fiction, stuff that has a sort of social or political meaning.”
Grad school has also given Shad the chance to become a so-called “bi-coastal” Canadian. Shad was born in Kenya, raised in London, Ontario, and has recently lived in Vancouver. But as for the West Coast influencing the future of his sound, he’s not sure if where he’s located geographically located will come into play.
“We’ll see. I’ve met musicians from most places, and got a feel for what people are into in both places, stuff like that. We’ll see when I work on the next album, maybe it will have a more West Coast kind of sound,” says Shad.
“In Toronto, my DJ is there, my bass player is there, most musicians are there. And in Vancouver, when I moved out here I moved in with Dave Vertesi from ‘Hey Ocean!’ so he had a big community of musicians he introduced me to here. But I’ve also become friends with Moka Only out here and some of the hip-hop dudes.”
As for the day of the 2011 JUNO nominations, Shad says that because he was out west at the time, he found out about his nod well after the rest of Canada … admitting he woke up to a text message informing him of the news.
“I think everyone knew before me,” says Shad with a laugh.
The JUNO Awards air Sunday, March 27 on CTV.
Tyrone Warner has been with CTV.ca since 2005, covering news, entertainment and everything related to CTV. When he’s away from the computer, you can find him writing, recording and performing his own music, running his own record label and dabbling in photography, painting and creative collage. Follow him on Twitter!