‘I don’t care to feel like I belong / but you always did,’ professes Shamir in the outro of his dreamy introvert anthem “On My Own” from his upcoming “accidental quarantine album,” Shamir, which is set to release on October 2.
That’s the conundrum about Vegas – even if you feel like you don’t belong, you always will in our large community of misfits.
Las Vegas’ hometown hero, Shamir Bailey’s music fuses electro-pop, 90’s house, disco, and indie rock. He has performed at Coachella, Pitchfork Festival, South by Southwest, and has toured with Marina and the Diamonds, Troye Silvan, and Sleater Kinney.
Lizzy Plaugic of CMJ once described the 25-year-olds sound as a “souped-up Vegas Strip disco with a self-conscious pop bent,” stating his voice “limbers and stretches like a wad of pink Silly Putty dipped in glitter,” and we couldn’t have described it better ourselves.
Shamir grew up in North Las Vegas, in an area he once referred to as “cookie-cutter suburban,” but his music, style, and visual imagery are anything but cookie cutter – everything is dusted with a quintessential magnetic Vegas flair.
He grew up with his mother and his songwriter aunt in his childhood home, his household had a constant stream of musicians, producers, and music business insiders coming and going. He was exposed to a wide range of music from an early age, including rock, jazz, soul, country, and folk – shaping his lifelong love affair with music.
He began writing his own music at the age of nine, after his mother gave him his first guitar – which he taught himself to play (albeit upside down.)
Through his adolescence, he was involved in the local Vegas music scene, performing at various venues, working with local producers and creating home recordings. Shortly after graduating high school, he sent demos to the fledgling New York label, Godmode and was signed on as a recording artist.
He worked with label founder Nick Sylvester, and together they created synth pop jams that mixed 90’s house and R&B and dropped EP Northtown – the title of which paid homage to his Southern Nevada upbringing.
In 2014, he was signed to iconic British independent record label XL Recordings, and became one of the music industry’s buzziest new artists. His debut dance-pop album Ratchet dropped in May 2015. He left the label due to creative differences and self-released his second album, the shoegaze fever dream, Hope two years later.
Later that year, he returned to Las Vegas to seek treatment after he was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. While back home, he wrote his third album Revelations in the span of two weeks. It was recorded on a 4-track player.
Earlier this month, Shamir dropped his newest track “Running,” the third single from his upcoming self-titled album. The video evokes neon Vegas imagery, as an animated Shamir is donning butterfly wings, running past neon signs.
On the track, Shamir addresses mental health and gender dysphoria within a toxic friendship.
“‘Running’ is a song I wrote about a time in my life when I was a part of a toxic friend group where I was the only non-cis person,” he wrote in a statement.
“The song is from the perspective of me now realizing how much it affected my mental health after being a few years removed and realizing how much I was dulling myself down so I did not stick out any more than I already did and also how that directly made me experience gender dysphoria for the first time ever.”
Shamir’s newest album is set to release on October 2.