Click “more” to read my interview with IM-KING Clothing:
Beef Stew: Who is Shawn Chrystopher and where did you get your start?(and why the “Y” in Chrystopher)?
Shawn: Shawn Chrystopher is just a kid from Inglewood, Ca who wants his voice to be heard. Everyone has a voice, most of them want their voice to be heard, but I actually want to be the loudest. I want to be the only person in the crowd with a megaphone, that will hopefully land me a spot on stage to speak to the people I was just standing next to.
I actually got my start in high school. I used to perform at every single assembly my school put on, and one day Tom Sturges, Senior VP of Universal Music, was coming to visit a kid at my school who he was mentoring, saw me perform, and that was all she wrote.
I always knew I was going to use my government name because when I turn 30 and begin speaking at colleges or on CNN, I don’t want them calling me by a nickname when they introduce me. And honestly, I thought the “Y” would look a lot cooler when I sign autographs *laughs*.
Beef Stew: What was life like growing up for you were you always into music?
Shawn: I’ve been into music as long as I could remember. And its funny because not one person in my family is musically inclined; I kind of just came out of nowhere. But I remember when I was in the 2nd grade, my mom had me in an after-school program where they taught us drums, then later on I learned how to play the trumpet, then the piano, and I never looked back.
My mom was a single working mother, and at the time I didn’t have any siblings, so I spent so much time in my room listening to music and watching music videos.
As far as rap, the first tape I ever bought was Kris-Kross, and that honestly changed my life. I never thought speaking over a beat like that can make a person, no matter their age, feel a certain way; it was amazing.
Beef Stew: At what moment did you realize “ok, this is my career”?
Shawn: I actually remember the exact day. I was in the 10th grade, in Ms. Lilly’s science class. She wrote something on the white board for us to do, and I stared at for a really long time, opened my spiral notebook and the first thing I wrote was 2 bars of a verse. And I said to myself “wow, I’m definitely not doing the assignment…and I don’t care either.”
And from that moment on, music has been my priority.
Beef Stew:For most artist fashion is essential to their “act” per say, is it essential to yours and what fuels your fashion sense?
Shawn: I think fashion is a way for someone to know so much about you without even having one conversation with you. Since I was a kid I always watch music videos on mute, and just by the outfits I would see on television, I knew I wanted to dress a certain way; I knew fashion was important.
In regards to me as an artist, the way I dress can tell people the mood that I’m in. Its funny because no one believes me when I tell them this but, I have yet to perform the same set in any of my performances; its different every single time. Its like, no matter how much you like a television show, you can only see the same episode over and over again until one night it finally makes you turn to watch something else. Well with that being said, my outfit for my performances can basically give my audience a look into what kind of night its about to be. If I come out in a T-shirt, some nice jeans and some Nikes, well the performance I’m about to give will be full of energy. If I come out with a nice sweater, or a vest and a scarf, some Dior jeans, and Lanvin sneakers, this performance is about to stimulate your mind and be more sophisticated.
Beef Stew:What’s one of your favorite pieces from IM-KING?
Shawn: That Music Jacket you guys got is ILL. And my favorite tees are the Stay in Rehab joint and the Criminal Minded one; you guys definitely spazzed out when you made those.
Beef Stew: Does IM-KING clothing relate to your music in anyway?
Shawn: IM-King relates to my music 100% because my music is based on individuality. It’s all about not worrying what the next man is doing, not worrying if he or she likes what I’m doing or not, but being myself. People naturally flock to those who are true and are pure individuals, and by the clothes you guys dish out (the colorways and designs) you are being yourselves and not worrying what the next company is doing.
Beef Stew: With acts like U-N-I, The Cool Kids, and Hollywood Holt where does Shawn Chrystopher fit into the new wave of music?
Shawn: I honestly think my worth in the music industry won’t be valued until I’m older. I always tell my friends that I wish I was older because I don’t want to get bunched into a group or a genre with people who don’t take music as serious as I do. Like, all the people you just named off are great artists, and are great at what they do, but at the same time we are all different. And in regards to me, I study music. I’m a musician. I can play almost any instrument you can name, I produce/write/mix/master all of my projects, but I think that I am too young to get the kind of respect in the music industry that I deserve.
So for right now, I’m going to continue to do me; do the music that I love and one day hope that people read between the lines and see what exactly I am trying to do.
Beef Stew: Who have you not worked with that you would like to?
Shawn: I’m not too big on collaborations because I’m too skeptical of people’s intentions on doing a song with me. When I was coming up, I would hit everyone I could get in contact with and try to make good music with them, but somehow they would blow me off and show they weren’t interested. But now, people hit my management up all the time to do songs, and I’m like “my music hasn’t changed since the times I was trying to work with you in the past, so are you trying to collaborate with me because you are actually a fan of what I do, or do you want my name next to yours on a blog post so you can get more zshare downloads?”
Beef Stew: What inspired you to start a blog, I know its a must nowadays but yours takes a fairly different approach on things?
Shawn: The real reason why I did the blog was mainly for myself. I wanted to document my climb, my hard work, my struggles, so 2 years from now, 3 years from now..I can go to my blog, click “last” and go back to the very first post and just read everything and see how much my life has changed. It will help me appreciate everything as time goes on and as my life takes a turn.
But everyone has been complimenting me on my blog mainly because, the blog shows how personal I am with everyone. I let everyone in on everything; there isn’t anything I’m afraid to share. You guys’ blog is just like that as well, and I really do respect that.
Beef Stew: What can we expect from Shawn Chrystopher in 2009?
Shawn: 2009 will be one of the biggest years in music history, and I am just happy to be apart of it. I’m not an artist who continually drops projects or mixtapes, because then the quality of your music suffers because you’re trying to satisfy the quantity factor.
So 2009 will be further pushing the projects I already have: my debut EP “No One Knows You” and my mixtape “I.W.G.: I Wear Glasses” and I’m going to do that by shooting more videos, and performing anywhere in the world where there is a stage. And by the end of the summer in 09, I’m planning on releasing my debut album “A City With No Seasons” which will be something I don’t anyone will expect from me. I’m about 2 songs deep into the project now, trying to take my time and perfect every single second of every song.
Beef Stew: What most do you want people to know about you as an artist and a person?
Shawn: I just want people to know that I’m not a regular rapper, I’m a regular person who happens to rap. By that I mean, if you see me out somewhere, come talk to me; I love the conversations I have with the people who dig my music. I hate to call people fans, rather I call them friends. People are friends with one another when they have common interest, and if you’re a “fan” of my music, then there is something we have in common because I like my music as well. So we’re friends.
I want to thank everyone for any bit of support they have given me, and also thank you guys at IM-KING for giving me a chance to speak my mind, I really do appreciate it and wish you guys the best in all that you do.
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