Mr. Shammi bio
Anyone who has ever attended a soca show in Trinidad & Tobago knows that Trinis are the hardest crowd in the world to please. If they aren't feeling your vibe, they let you know. So, it is all that much more impressive to see how Mr. Shammi can make a crowd erupt and fete in fevered excitement in his homeland of Trinidad - whether it is a group of children, a set of teens or a massive concert arena of 25,000 soca lovers. Mr. Shammi brings a fever and fire to the stage that infects the crowd in a way that is wild even by Trinidad standards.
Shammi Salickram, known on stage as Mr. Shammi, may be best known for his Carnival smash hit "Soca Bhangra" with raggasoca singer Bunji Garlin. But, his roots into music go far beyond that. Growing up he listened to dub and reggae beats, while hearing influences of the Indian bhangra that his mother played at home.
"I grew up in a small village in Trinidad called Princes Town. I always liked all kinds of music," says Mr. Shammi, "But, my passion was for riddim driven music pumped full of energy like dancehall reggae and soca. I use to always have a beat in my head and would tap and drum on anything around me, to the point that my mother would want to beat me with a broom just to get me to stop for a minute. Back then, the buses that took us to school were called maxis, and they would be thumping music so loud you could hear them coming down the street from blocks away. You could tell the driver before the maxi even pulled up by the music he was playing. My partner and I would sometimes stay on the maxi and drive around to places we didn't need to go to, just to soak up the music."
Mr. Shammi was influenced early on by the styles of old reggae rockers like Yellow Man, Jacob Miller and Peter Tosh and Trinidad soca legends like Sparrow. He would often go to schools to perform for the children mimicking his idols so well that his audience often thought he was lip-synching.
Mr. Shammi's good looks, fit physique and make-you-melt dimples didn't hurt his first step into the spotlight with his hit song and video "Tomato Choka" a spoof of Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loco" using a popular dish in Trinidad as the butt of the joke. He has never been afraid to try something new, even a spoof, to see what can happen. For him, it is always about the music not about ego. He prefers to work with stars that are down to earth, and has enjoyed collaborations with artists such as Bunji Garlin, Ziggy Rankin, Screechy Dan, Naturally and Red Fox.
In the time since he has been away from the spotlight, Mr. Shammi has focused on his music and forays into new genres of style from rock, pop and hip hop to the roots of Indian bhangra, Middle Eastern and Egyptian music. He has worked with producers from Japan to Germany to Poland and his time of experimentation has led the way for remarkable breakthroughs in style that he hopes will help introduce elements of soca to the rest of the world... even to those who have never even heard of Trinidad.
This broke-the-mold talent is currently polishing off his new album, slated for release in the fall of 2008. Blending a mix of his Trinidad soca roots, with the reggae and old dub he grew up listening to with American hip-hop/pop and European house and tribal beats, there is a smooth blend of party hype tunes and soft hued ballads to round off the CD. Mr. Shammi spends much of his time traveling between the States and Trinidad, and plans on heading out on a tour with stops throughout North America, the Caribbean, Asia, and Europe in late 2008. Keep tabs on all of Shammi's latest music and video releases, plus upcoming tour dates, at his MySpace.