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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week – Shelah
Monday, August 27, 2007

For Shelah uniqueness has been something he’s epitomized since birth. He came into this world in 1971 born Patrick Kieth Deans in East Meadow, New York, and yes, he says his middle name really is spelled that way. Growing up in Hempstead, NY, Shelah spent his formative years listening to WBLS and KISS FM during the Red Alert / Mr. Magic days. For a fix of the underground he turned to Jeff Foss on WRHU and Stretch and Bobbito on WNYU. Now Shelah has taken up residence in Sweden and he’s pursuing a career in music overseas. Recently he released an album titled This Is No Illusion (Con or Artist), and this week he’s sitting down with me to talk about the Swedish Hip-Hop scene, what he’s bringing to it, and the culture shock he experienced moving from Hempstead, NY, to Malmo, Sweden.

Adam Bernard: You moved from Hempstead, NY, a place I consider a second home since I went to Hofstra, to Malmo, Sweden. What inspired the move and how do both the cities and their Hip-Hop scenes differ?
Shelah: First off, I did some research on you and noticed that Hofstra was your Alma-Ata. That’s what’s up! Initially I moved to Denmark with my now ex-wife and things didn’t work out there. I hooked up with a few artists in Copenhagen and began to knock-out some sessions here and there. I was surely shocked when I got to Europe because I did not expect the Hip-Hop scene to be so huge. There are quite a few good recording artists over here. I did my first European show with Show Stoppers of Copenhagen. That was cool and I hooked up with this shorty at one of the studios I was hitting up in CPH and we recorded and performed at the joint. In reality there is no major difference except the language barrier really. The people over here are extremely into Hip-Hop the way we were back in the day before all the BS. Eventually I had to leave Denmark and go back to the States because the paperwork couldn’t be processed after months of extensions. The Danish embassy denied me my papers even though I was eager to learn the language and find a job. Those idiots even had me thrown in jail overnight because I told them that I was waiting for my son’s passport to get fixed and it would be ready in a few days. They ended up giving me an extension for the “misunderstanding.” I got out the next day and the police were like, “we’re sorry Mr. Deans, but it wasn’t our fault. We were just following protocol”. It was no biggie because they were cool. Before I left that week we recorded something like fifteen songs in order to keep the work moving forward. My friend Giez worked on the joints while I was back in New York. I met Giez on a whim when my ex’s uncle introduced us at Redlight Studio in CPH. Giez was real professional and came to me with hands open and a business card. I like that kind of stuff there. That showed me that he was serious about the music as much as I was and we hit it off from there. I ended up in Sweden again a few months later and got my papers.

Adam Bernard: That’s an incredible story. How has being in both the New York scene and the Swedish scene helped shape you as an artist?
Shelah: The shaping of my artistry was already instilled before I got here. I knew that I had to hold it down over here for all of us back home, feel me? I needed to represent music the way it needs to be represented. I mean, there are rappers over here that think Hip-Hop was started here. Go figure! And the funny thing is they look at you seriously like it really did start here for real. Their swagger is tilted to the side like a V8 commercial and shit, but there are many that respect the game to the fullest as well.

Adam Bernard: You recently released and album titled This Is No Illusion (Con or Artist). What meaning does the title hold and how is this album different from all the other albums out there?
Shelah: First off, This Is No Illusion (Con or Artist) is a representation of my dedication to my craft. I had this title for years, bro. It is meant to be my calling card. I told people I was going to do the damn thing and I made it happen. Against all odds and back to the wall I came through. The Con or Artist part is designed to have people think of each track as a dictum, to make them say “is that who he really is?” The album differs from others because I took the time to teach myself how to appreciate music. I show music the respect she deserves. Most of these rappers today don’t have any idea of what good music is because they are carbon copy emcees!

Adam Bernard: What topics were most important for you, personally, to address on the album?
Shelah: Hmmm… interesting question. I take life head on with this record. I address everything from, “you name it” to “they claim it.” It is important to be able to talk about things real people think about and live for. Everybody is too interested in partying all the time. I’m tired of hearing cats talking about how much money they spend on stupid stuff instead of fixing up their hoods. You make millions just to buy ten cars and don’t even drive them all. Most of them need to take their asses to Africa and help out over there and other countries that need help and guidance since they are so “righteous.” I’ve been to Tanzania. It is distraught down there. It is filthy as hell, especially in Zanzibar. But the people always have smiles on their faces. Don’t get me wrong, there’s also tons of beauty there. Hell, I even performed in Z-Bar with a local band that invited me to hop on the set for two nights of musical entertainment. I freestyled both nights because I had nothing prepared. Dude told me that he didn’t know how much (Ki) Swahili I knew, but everything that they were singing about I confirmed it with my lyrics. It was all about the government and the shady things they were doing there. It was real there and I had loads of fun. I actually produced a 12 song album when I came back to Sweden in one and a half weeks. I haven’t written anything yet but it will come soon. The music alone can be released if I want to do just that only. That took my creativity to the next level.

Adam Bernard: Finally, after so much travel, who do you see as your audience?
Shelah: I see the whole world as my audience. People want someone to talk to and have them listen, as well. A simple hello from time to time is always good, right? I’m aiming to heal the world of the nonsense that plagues us all. If we don’t fix the problems all of us will suffer the direst of consequences. I need to re-register to vote, too. Y’all get out there and vote people! The time is now!

For more Shelah check out shelah.redlightstudio.dk, myspace.com/shelahchaosofthemindintl & youtube.com/user/GieZatRedLight.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:51 AM  
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