Las Vegas native Shamir has had quite a ride in the music business. He has now released his fourth studio album, Resolution, in a surprise drop last week. Shamir’s first LP was released in 2015. Ratchet was a huge hit with listeners and critics. His next album, Hope, revealed how much Shamir struggled with sudden fame. At the time, Shamir hinted that he might wind up leaving music and doing something else with his life, but in 2017 he dropped the well-received album Revelations.
No one was expecting another new album quite so soon, but artists are certainly getting hip to the buzz they can create by with an album that was not previously announced. Shamir has an amazing following for his countertenor voice. He has been praised by Radio.com for having a voice that, like Janis Joplin’s, “stops you in your tracks.” Shamir’s voice is often called “androgynous,” but has noted that although that does not bother him, he prefers the proper term: countertenor. “It’s not feminine, it’s not masculine. It’s a happy medium … I feel like if the world was more like that, our problems would be gone.” To music fans, the voice is similar to Prince, who packed an incredible range of emotion in his vocals.
But Shamir isn’t just a Prince clone – his talent is uniquely his and it has made him a voice to be reckoned with. The young singer’s new album features eight new songs, mastered and mixed at Sounds Like Soma Recording Studios in Philadelphia. Zack Hanni was in charge of the production.
The Tracklist for Resolution includes:
01. I Can’t Breathe
04. Dead Inside
05. The Things You Loved
08. Larry Clark
As a special treat for fans, Shamir followed through on his previously announced 7-inch single, Room.
The tracks hint at a mental health crisis, but it’s the type of honest, emo lyricism his fans love. Appearing at SXSW this week, Shamir explained that he tired to having to sing his hit song “On the Regular” constantly during his 2015-2016 debut and tour. He said that Ratchet, despite universal acclaim, really “didn’t represent me as an artist.” As a result, he ended his contract with XL Recordings. 2016’s album, Hope, was actually released for free via SoundCloud. “Hope was like the bomb, because I didn’t even do it out of confidence,” says Shamir. “I did it for my sanity, but even after the recording, I suffered a psychotic episode.”
It was the subsequent breakdown – which landed him in a psychiatric hospital for five days – that sent him back into the studio to record Revelations. The album describes the anxiety and depression he experienced at the time. He now has been diagnosed with bipolar.
On Resolutions, Shamir explores some of the same territory, while bringing in additional influences musically from the 1990’s. He’s attracted to the cathartic experience of grunge rock. “I’ve listened to Hole my entire life and I’m fascinated that the Nineties was the only decade when alt-rock topped the charts.”
The new album is streaming on Bandcamp.