S1E6. We welcome two-time Grammy Award-winning reggae, artist, Shaggy. Shaggy is a veteran U.S. Marine and has sold over 30 million albums worldwide in a career that has spanned decades.

More information about Shaggy.


Aaron Spatz  00:05

You’re listening to America’s entrepreneur, the podcast designed to educate, entertain, and inspire you in your personal professional journey. I’m your host, Aaron Spatz. And on the podcast, I interview entrepreneurs, industry experts, and other high achievers that detail their personal and professional journeys in business. My goal is to glean their experiences into actionable insights that you can apply to your own journey. If you’re new to the show, we’ve spoken with successful entrepreneurs, Grammy Award winning artists, best selling authors, chief executives, and other fascinating minds with unique experiences. We’ve covered topics such as how to achieve breakthrough and business, growing startups, effective leadership techniques, and much more. If you strive for continual self improvement, and enjoy fascinating and insightful conversation, that the subscribe button, you’ll love it here at America’s entrepreneur.

Shaggy  01:01

wonky service brother,

Aaron Spatz  01:02

oh, man, now it’s a pleasure. But I wouldn’t, I would go back and do it all over again. Likewise, thank you for for the time that you gave

Shaggy  01:10

me, man, it’s, it’s been a very important part of my life, and my growth. Being in the Marines, it’s, I think, when you’re a young man, and you’re coming up, the disciplines that you learn are disciplines, that sometimes you didn’t really get out of parenting. I was from a single parent family and my mother was really worked. And it was easy to be led down the wrong road rung, hang with the wrong crowd. I think being in Marines, it’s once you stepped on those yellow footprints, you know, you have three, you put into a platoon and you have three basic training three moms and dads screaming at you all day. That’s true. And then literally shaping your life with discipline. And it’s what was so amazing to me out of the whole experience of Parris Island. When was the last day before your graduation when they they wake up in the middle of the night and sit down and have that pep talk with you? I don’t know if that happened for you. But it did happen for our platoon and many men do and the drill instructors stop screaming and sit down and just have a conversation. Say, guys, you know, all of this is for your benefit. And you know, we’re being an asshole for a reason.

Aaron Spatz  02:47

Yeah, no, that’s awesome. Well, take us a little bit. So you share this quickly a little bit about your background, and you joined the Marine Corps, and then you share with us a little bit about what you did while you’re in active duty. And then, and then share with us a little bit of that transition in in your story about getting into music and in how you’ve come through that journey.

Shaggy  03:08

You know, crazy enough I was in the music before I got into the military. I did Dancehall in Flatbush. But at the time, Dancehall was not a popular art form. And not a lot of people were making a living out of it. You know, it wasn’t enough to sustain, you know, any kind of a lifestyle. You make some chump change here and there. But there was no reggae artists are really made it big. And so you know, me at that point, you know, I turned into drug game, you know, it was in the 90s. And everybody was selling, and even Coke or whatever it is, and you kind of you know, the kids kind of get wrapped up into that, you know, and but I know for the minute you see somebody, you know, step in a pothole and break his leg, you know, common sense. So step over it, you know, and it didn’t take very long to see some of my friends who had locked up and put away being able to realize that this probably isn’t the path that I want to take. And so I went down to the Flatbush junction and walked into the recruiting office and say, Hey, I need to get out of here. And I need to get out of it for many reasons why I was in the wrong crowd, too. I was living with my mother and I really couldn’t get along very well. And I just needed to be out. So I just kind of made I was it was probably one of the best things I ever made in my life. Totally life changing.

Aaron Spatz  04:39

But to say that, that takes a great degree of self self awareness. And in a in maybe you didn’t even really realize what you’re doing at the time. Right. You’re probably you’re probably wondering what you get yourself into just a few weeks later, but there is something

Shaggy  04:57

absolutely, absolutely. Absolutely. Have you just hit the nail on the head? I actually remember my saying once because I didn’t do much research about it was very impulsive. I just knew I was in a place that I couldn’t see where I was growing. I couldn’t hold a job I went, everybody was just going to get a job. I spent one day at Baskin Robbins and let the next day I was like, Okay, I can’t do this. I couldn’t, I couldn’t. I couldn’t have a boss. I couldn’t, they had no discipline to do that. You know, I was in a household. I never had chores. I never knew life. And I’m saying so I didn’t they, I wasn’t. I wasn’t raised with certain values and certain things. You know, my mom just wasn’t that type of person. She only had one child. So people, you know, they’re good at other things, you know, I mean, it’s, I don’t blame her for it. It’s just, you know, not everybody supposed to cut out to do certain things, I think. Yes. So I, I kind of just took it up and just say, Hey, I’m just gonna go do what I got to do, you know, and, and a friend of mine had gone and said he was going to so that’s how I got the idea. I just went ahead and did it. But yeah, that was good stuff after that.

Aaron Spatz  06:20

I’m sure you were, though. Well, can you share with us a story in your career? And that and that may have been when you’re in the music industry full time after getting out of the Marine Corps. But Can Can you share those a story that maybe it was a setback, or a big challenge in in your career, and how that has driven you to be where you are today?

Shaggy  06:42

I guess there are many stories like yeah, because I’m in a genre that’s not a very at the time, and it’s way more popular now. Dancehall has become part of popular culture, but back then it wasn’t, you know. So there were many obstacles. And so the drive to really continue came with passion. At the same time, I really believe that you cannot be successful or accelerate anything unless you’re passionate about it. So I was really, really passionate about music. I was in the military, but I wasn’t passionate about being a military man. I did my job. And I think I did fairly well, I wasn’t super excellent at it either. I was a Cannoneer. I was a artillery man. You know, but I was also very big, big character. You know, so, you know, I gave jokes a lot of guys gathers. So the so the, you know, the cool, like, sure. I ended up driving the the XL at one point because he thought I was funny. And I kept him laughing. But it also gave me perks. You know, I ended up being in the middle of the war, I ended up driving the child truck. So that was perfect. I ended up to go back to base camp every day, I got extra peanut butter and jelly and shit like that, you know, so really, really great. But music was really where I excelled. You know? I mean, I was in Brooklyn at the time. And I realized two things, I realized that when I when I split these lyrics, and I had a knack for actually putting lyrics together and split them freestyle. And once I did that, I got shapes. You know, I got attention from girls, and I talk about inherited bagging issues. I got the number. You know, I realized that I got into clubs for free. And I drank for free. And I leave with the hottest chick and I was the happiest man in the world. So I was like, wow, I can really do this. This is cool. And then I did oh, Carolina, and they gave me a million dollars. And I’m like, okay, I can really get used to this. Massively gave me another million. I was like, whoa, wow. Yeah. So at that point, I, you know, I realized that a lot of what I was doing came from the motor because in making these records, I had to get up really early to do these morning shows. You know, I do tons of interviews during the day. And then at night, I go do a concert and wake up back and I’m on a plane traveling on another continent doing the same thing over and it took it took all I can remember getting up in the morning is my my drill instructor throwing garbage pan down the middle of the squad Bay. I say get up, get up, get up, get up, get admitted. And to this day, I’m still that guy. Like guy to just get up it and make it happen.

Aaron Spatz  09:45

Wow. Well, there’s an element there of just absolute endurance and perseverance and passion. And I think that just so clearly just spills out of you because you’ve been in this industry for quite some time. And and once again, I mean, congratulations, you picked up your latest Grammy last year. And I mean, you’ve you’ve had, you’ve had a career that has spanned quite some time. And, and like you mentioned, it’s in a genre that is not known for getting a whole lot of attention. And I, I honestly would credit you with getting the genre a lot more traction and a lot more mainstream play. And, and I think there’s a lot people can learn from you with, with your ability to endure and persist through all these years.

Shaggy  10:34

Absolutely. You know, when we when we were doing in the early days, it didn’t, it didn’t exist. So you gotta remember Carolina was the first British are number one, and dancehall as the Boombastic was the first British chart. Dancehall record, actually debut at number one, and we did it again with Angel and it wasn’t me, and with the hotshot album, so we’ve broken down many barriers and actually brought this music in this art form to the front, and I couldn’t have done it without that discipline that I got from being in the military, that drive that I got. And even today, there’s, you know, there’s, there’s things that, you know, one of my hardest lessons is when people around, you are not growing as fast as you when you have prepaid card. And a lot of time you made those cuts, and those people have families. And these are hard decisions that you have to make, and you have to make them because in time of war, there’s their decision that a CEO or an XO, you know, gotta make that might be some of the harshest decisions that you got to make to get the job done. You know, and I certainly saw that by being in the military by being in, you know, in the first Gulf War.

Aaron Spatz  11:54

What advice would you give veterans that they may have gotten out of the service there, they’re now in the middle of their careers, it could be just a few years in or many years into their careers. But you know, maybe they’re frustrated or floundering or feeling like they’re not really going anywhere with what advice what what message would you have for that group?

Shaggy  12:14

Find your passion? Yeah. Yeah. Find your passion? Absolutely. I was asked this question really good. How do I measure my success? And do I measure my success with accolades? Or do I measure my success with with the amount of money that I have? And I said, I measure my, my, my success, with how impactful I’ve been to other people’s lives? Do I’m saying, oh, yeah, I remember what me writing these songs I’ve been, I remember, even in my chat album, there was 11 people that bought their homes, and started their lives that we young people. You know, I see people gone to colleges and raise their kids out of songs that are the three minutes compositions that I’ve read. So I have come impacted people’s lives in so many positive ways that to me, that is the measure of my success, you know, and in finding my passion, that is where it is, it’s that pursuit of happiness, you know, that pursuit of bliss. And they will have to find that, whatever it is that they really like doing, that benefits others, because they might be things that you really like doing that benefit only you. Right? Which is which is no good. That’s not to be confused with the things that you like to do that just dedicate you for the things that you’re passionate about that benefits the world. Right benefits others. And that’s your path.

Aaron Spatz  14:03

That’s so good. That’s so good. What What else do you have coming up that we can promote? I know that you you just came off a tour in Australia, New Zealand. You dropped an album last year, and I believe you got a lot more tour coming up in Europe. So tell us a little bit about what what projects you have coming?

Shaggy  14:23

Well, we were going to Europe. In a few days, we’re going to be UK, Ireland with myself and Nellie and even a couple of us. I just finished Australia with Sean Paul, I’m sure Shawn and I have a lot of good plans that we have in store. Steve and I also have have some plans ahead also we have the Hot Shot 2020 that’s coming out, I think around April or May. This is my Hot Shot album that which is my diamond selling album with Angel wasn’t new, were we doing some tracks from it, along with a few new tracks, and then also putting some classic old songs, or number ones like Mr. Boombastic, or Carolina, and those songs on it also, Oh, that’ll be fun. So it’s a fun album. And a lot of them that collaboration is on it. Like, you know, we’re putting different features on some of these songs that maybe work. Well,

Aaron Spatz  15:27

I’ll give this last segment back to you, if there’s if there’s any, any words of wisdom, any advice, any, any struggles, anything that you would want to share with, with the audience, I would love to give this back to you.

Shaggy  15:42

Anything to do that, that is going to be positive, you know, to people, I really look at myself as being the luckiest guy in the world. And you really got to count your blessings, you got to look at the glass half full. We sometimes look at the glass half empty, looks at everything around you, man. And especially if your data comes from nothing like me. And I look at a lot of things, and I’m just really, really, really grateful. You know, a lot of people look at things and just, you know, you might be a person that is healthy. You might not have the finer things in life. You know, but you have to find this thing in life, which is your health. You know, if you’re a healthy person, but you can’t pay your rent. It’s not the end of the world, you have your health. You know, and a lot of look at that.

Aaron Spatz  16:40

That’s great perspective.

Shaggy  16:41

You know, it’s been a journey and experience. For sure, for sure.

Aaron Spatz  16:45

And I just want to thank you so much for your time. I know you’re a super busy guy. And thank you for carving some time out for me. And I’m truly grateful and honored that you’d spend time with me.

Shaggy  16:57

No, thank you very much. Thanks. I appreciate you.

Aaron Spatz  17:03

Thanks for listening to America’s entrepreneur. If you enjoyed the show, please leave a review or comment on your preferred social media platform. share it out with friends, family, coworkers, others in your network. And of course you can write me directly at Erin at Bold media.us That’s a Ron at Bold media.us Till next time

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