Shamir Dominique, aka Sha The Flash, talks music, reading and growing up in Broward County, Florida.
When did you know that being a musician was your calling?
I was about 9 years old. It was the summer and I was spending it in Broward with the grandparents when my cousin from Brockton visited. We had just watched Like Mike for the first time and he asked me to make a rap with him. We wrote about eight bars on two sheets of napkins because we didn’t want to get caught and I had ripped him; granted they were a 9-year-old’s verses. That mixed with the fact that I was playing piano by ear — I refused to read music — along with singing in the choir and chorus kinda gave me my first hints that I wouldn’t give it up.
Describe three other occupations you’ve held.
I was a camp counselor for a Y back as a freshman. I ended up landing an internship which eventually had me being the research assistant and working the front desk at an orthopedic spine center, which doubled as a stem cell research and injection facility.
What inspires you to perform?
I just remember rapping from a 9 years old in the streets of Lauderdale to a webcam mic in the suburbs to where I am now and I just kept progressing. The one thing that stays consistent is I’ve always wanted people to hear me get these bars off and I come alive whenever given the chance.
What instruments, if any, do you play?
I used to play piano but eventually stopped because my teacher wouldn’t let me continue until I learned to read music. I really wanted to play drums but my parents at the time said they weren’t classy enough.
How would you describe your brand of music?
It’s kinda hard to describe. It’s just my life, I really try not to exaggerate what I rap about. I’m always going to give you bars and I’m always going to say what I feel God wants me to.
When you are on stage what do you want to convey about your style?
I want you to feel how passionate I am about what I’m doing. I want you to hear the verses, peep the flow, and just turn up and spread love every time that bass drops.
Name three musicians who have influenced your approach to being a musician?
Describe your creative process from concept to complete song?
I normally start with the production. Once I get the feel for the song, I start the concept [with] what it is I’m trying to say. Afterward, it can take me anywhere from 30 minutes to weeks to build the song up the way I would like it. During which I normally smoke and pray before I write.
How do you select your creative music partners to fashion your musical voice?
With my recent work, “The Valley” I really only chose people who were at equal or higher platforms than me and people that I know take the music industry seriously. That and just what particular sound I’m going for. Most of my peers that I work with are good friends of mine and Bank$y is my mom’s unknown son.
What advice would you give anyone preparing to enter the music business about publishing and management?
Focus on the music. Before you worry about getting your name out or stuntin’, focus on making the music actually good first. Make sure each song is better than your last, and that everything sounds exactly how you want it to sound. After that, just really research who you want to publish and manage you because this industry is filled with false promises.
What are the effects on society that you would like the results of listening to your music to be?
Know that no matter where you come from, what ‘hood you’re from, what set you rep, that it’s all love and that we need to talk about the truths in the world.
If you could go outside the U.S. to write and produce music, what country would you choose and why?
I would probably go to Amsterdam. Besides obvious reasons, the scenery there is beautiful and the musical talent within that area of the Netherlands has produced some great music across multiple genres.
What do you like the most about being a musician?
I love playing with words and manipulating concepts and the fact that you can create music out of thin air.
What producers are you looking forward to working with soon?
I’ve been wanting to cop a D. Sanders beat for the longest and you probably couldn’t tell me not to murder a Metro Boomin beat. But in all honesty I just like what sounds different I look more at the production than the name.
Name three musicians you would like to record with that are hit makers?
Chance The Rapper
If you could make a duet with someone who would it be and why?
Erykah Badu, that woman is so smooth with the vocals.
What musical awards have you aspired to receive and it happened?
Not to worry about awards and recognition. I just want my family good and the clout I’m working toward.
What musical achievements have you yet to obtain?
I’d say the main one I’m focused on is headlining my own show and generating a steady flow of income from my musical platform.
Finish the sentences:
When I hit the stage I feel … alive.
When the crowd is responding to my music I know … I’m meant to be here.
I appreciate my fans because … they are who the music is for.
My method of studying music is … listening to artists from different genres and areas.
When you find my music I want you to … listen and share it!
Name your favorite two books … Cirque du Freak and the Book of Psalms.
Find him on Instagram and Twitter: @shatheflash.