Artist Spotlight: Shocka
A few weeks ago, I got together with legendary artist Shocka, to discuss music, self love, mental health and having a platform to use. As something quite important and relatable to me, we got straight down to the nitty gritty of it all and spoke the unspoken. Here it is:
Nancy: So at the moment I am here with Shocka, who just headlined a show, how you doing?
Shocka: I'm doing good, that was amazing.
N: Good vibes in the place
S: You lot were vibing!
N: Always vibing. Always. So tell us a little bit about yourself as an artist. We want know how you perceive yourself.
S: I’m Shocka, if you don’t know. I’m an artist from from North London and I kinda call myself the open introvert. I’m open in my music, really open, but introverted as a person. Literally after this I’m going straight home. I’m just an introverted person, that’s the best way to describe me.
N: As a listener that makes total sense, when comparing your lyrics to seeing you perform live, its totally different. So mental health issues are a big subject when it comes to your lyrical content, how would you say those experiences inspire and influence you? And is it part of a coping mechanism or do you just want it to become more relevant in music now?
S: I like the fact you said relevant. I do want to spread awareness of it, and get the conversation started. And I like the fact that the younger generation is really picking it up. The older generation still thinks of it as taboo, my mum still sees it as something embarrassing.
N: So is part of you putting it in your music a way of you saying ‘its okay to talk about it’?
S: Definitely! If just one person thinks I’m cool and hears me talking about it, maybe they will think, it’s okay for me to talk about it.
Onlooker chimes in: A role model?
S: I don’t wanna say role model. But talking about it is important because you never know who is watching you and what they’re thinking at that moment. They could be on the brink of suicide and literally one of my missions is to cancel out that thought.
N: Social media is a very inspirational and influential space for you. How would you say that social media and its influence on young people is, and how are you trying to change that? What are you doing to defy it?
S: I’ve just been using my voice. Literally. And I’ve come to realise just how powerful our voices are. Because my voice has travelled far. I literally did a freestyle the other day and ITV DM’d me.
N: Wow that’s amazing, we will definitely plug that for the readers to have a look at too. I agree how important it is, having strong black role models to say ‘you can be struggling, you can be vulnerable’.
S: It’s important you said that because that’s the message I’m trying to push.
N: Black men are among the most effected by mental health issues in the UK. And it’s important to speak about it, from artists like you up to us at The Pit London, because were all affected by it, and the more open the dialogue about it, the better.
N: So what’s next for you anyway Shocka?
S: I got my EP coming out around 19th April, next month. And a single coming out at the end of this month. It’s called ‘Single Mothers’, coming out on Mothers day.
N: Ah yes we heard a little preview of that earlier. Exciting stuff going on then. Last thing I wanna know is how would you describe your own message, your own self and being, that you want to portray to the people?
S: Vulnerability is a main asset of what I do - I’m extremely open and vulnerable. Positivity is so important, gratitude. Vulnerability, positivity and gratitude. Yeah.
N: And how many artists in London, doing this, can we say use vulnerability a defining factor?
S: None! It’s only me.
N: I’ve not heard many. Full on respect for that. As someone who observes the music scene, writes about music, interviews artists, I wanna say that is such a strong message. It’s so important, if you’re going through it to have someone to listen to or relate to. To remind yourself you are not alone. It’s been a pleasure to meet you, truly. Make sure you plug what you wanna plug before you go!
S: My DJ, has got a festival coming up, 27th July, 10,000 people! Also don’t forget about the upcoming single on the 31st and EP mid April! Its been so good meeting you, its such an important conversation and thank you for being a part of the change.
N: Deffo, lets keep talking about it, doing it and covering it.
Shocka’s new single and upcoming EP will be available on Soundcloud. I implore you to give him a follow on Twitter and Instagram where you can keep up to date on releases, as well as humble and motivational freestyles or words of wisdom!