When I first saw Shamir at NPR Music’s SXSW showcase, the 20-year-old singer popped on stage with a Yo Gabba Gabba T-shirt and proceeded to light up the night with his disco-infused funk and joyful energy.
Cut to this Tiny Desk Concert. Shamir Bailey is sitting alone on a stool with an acoustic guitar — hardly recognizable except perhaps for the green painted fingernails, until he began to sing. At that point, he put his fragile but confident countertenor to work in “Darker,” from his debut album Ratchet, and I knew we were in for something special.
During sound check, Shamir seemed so lonely sitting on a stool — especially after I’d seen him play with a big band — so I invited our audience of NPR staffers, interns and friends to gather around him, campfire style. His charm is undeniable: When tells the story of writing “Demon” while working in the fitting room at Ross, I think we all just wanted to give him a hug.
- “In For The Kill”
Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Walker; Audio Engineer: Brian Jarboe; Videographers: Morgan Walker, Adam Wolffbrandt; Assistant Producer: Lani Milton; photo by Lani Milton/NPR