“It is for the love that I do it, and I think when you start thinking “Oh I want to be famous. And I want to be known around the world” You start losing your essence of what you love doing. And it’s got to be for the love of just making music.” – Shaun Escoffery
Photo: Courtesy of David S. James
With a long awaited new album ‘In The Red Room’ released in the latter part of 2014 receiving heavy rotation on many UK and international radio stations and media platforms, the dulcet tones of Mr Shaun Escoffery are once again exciting the ears of music critics and fans alike. The multi-talented singer/song-writer who, within the decade since the release of his timeless debut single ‘Space Rider’ has been entertaining the masses in London’s Theatre Land in numerous stage productions; most notably in the lead role of Mufasa in The Lion King. Michael J Edwards managed to sit down with this moving target to put some questions to him pertaining to his impressive resume, his long-term friend Idris Elba, his refreshing new album, and his future career moves.
Michael J Edwards: Welcome Shaun Escoffery, it’s a pleasure to link up. I’ve been listening to your music for so many years.
Shaun Escoffery: Thank you, it’s an absolute pleasure!
Michael J Edwards: No doubt you’re still on a natural high following your universally acclaimed double-header gig at ‘Under the Bridge’ in London recently. What did you take away from that experience?
‘Under The Bridge’
Photo: Courtesy of David S. James
Shaun Escoffery: The ‘Under the Bridge’ gig with the wonderful Ms Avery Sunshine; that’s been a long time coming! I mean it’s a good seven to eight years since I jumped in front of a band and did a gig; and I was nervous – I’m not going to lie to you. People had come to see what I’ve been up to; we didn’t have much rehearsal, even though the band was absolutely amazing! So it was a thing of just kinda jumping on stage and shaking off the cobwebs and getting on with it you know. But it was absolutely delightful just to kind of jump on stage, play the stuff I’ve been working on for a while, and also just kind of regurgitate some of the old stuff.
Michael J Edwards: Were you happy with how the audience received your material, new and old?
Shaun Escoffery: I was happy! In the main I was happy. There were certain things that I wish I had done better, but it is what it is. I’m an extreme perfectionist, so I never can come off the stage happy! (Laughs) But the vibe was really great and the venue was amazing! And the crowd were just absolutely amazing – I just felt pure love if I’m honest. It was just like, “Shaun you know we’ve been waiting for you for a while and it’s great that you came back to represent!” I loved it just for that alone.
Michael J Edwards: What was it like having Avery Sunshine performing on the bill?
Photo: Courtesy of David S. James
Shaun Escoffery: She’s wonderful. I met her once before, she came to see me at the Lion King… So I quickly met her beforehand; we had a quick chat. But she’s absolutely wonderful and really down-to-earth. An extreme professional. An amazing voice, really beautiful. Everything that comes out of my mouth regarding her is a compliment. Absolutely beautiful and deeply spiritual. All of that, I love it!
Michael J Edwards: This millennium has seen both your acting and music careers escalate markedly since the release of your first single ‘Space Rider’ in 2001. Do you feel blessed?
Shaun Escoffery: I do. I tell you when I look back on my career; the thing is, you just jump from one thing to another. I got into musical theatre, theatre and acting, and I auditioned for something and I’ve got it. Then I’m in there for six months or a year and then I jump and I do something else. When I look back, I think my word, I started off in this business when I was like eighteen and some of the people who I’ve worked with such as Chaka Khan, Mica Paris, Angie Stone, Eraykah Badu; and meeting Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder and Prince all through this wonderful musical thing! Also just doing things that I never envisaged I’d be doing, like for instance Les Misérables. Now that’s a contemporary Opera! It’s a completely different ball game. And to kind of suddenly switch to that, it terrified me, absolutely terrified me, because I was completely out of my comfort zone. I had to pronounce all my T’s, and I’m from East London, that was a very difficult thing for me to do. (Laugh)
Photo: Courtesy of David S. James
Looking back on it, It’s been a wonderful thing, and I can’t even say I can take credit for what I’ve done. I just say Lord you know that this is all you, and I just kind of walk the path and whatever opportunity that’s been afforded me I’ve just kind of jumped on. I’ve been blessed with a singing voice and there’s a slight responsibility with that. Somebody who had been listening to the album was speaking to me after the ‘Under The Bridge’ gig, she said to me, “Shaun I’ve been going through a really heavy divorce and there’s a song that you song that really resonated with me which saw me through that period.” I was floored! I was absolutely floored! So I thought, “This is a responsibility this is what it’s all about!
Michael J Edwards: You come from a musical heritage, your mother was a singer; your father was a DJ. And growing up I remember quite vividly listening to the Escoffery sisters on the radio – the first time I heard the name Escoffery. What was it like growing up in this environment and working in a musical family?
Shaun Escoffery: My mum used to be part of a trio, like a Lover’s Rock thing, so they used to gather together on a Sunday and write songs. So, me and my sister were always in an environment of just music; there was always music playing in the house twenty-four/seven. My dad used to do the traditional Caribbean/Jamaican thing of playing his music on the Sunday after dinner, so it was an education for me. He’d play everything from Donny Hathaway to Stevie Wonder to John Holt and Gregory Isaacs, and it all just soaked in. He would sit down and try to educate me regarding music, which he definitely did! With the whole kind of church thing, my mum was a Christian, so I went to church as a kid and it was reintroduced when I was in my teens. I think that’s where the spiritual side of what I do came into play, that’s when I really learned to sing. How I looked at it was trying to express something that’s inexpressible, so you’re always reaching for something vocally. It’s a case of, I need to express this, but I don’t know how to, which makes you attempt to push out the box even more. So that’s where the whole vocal, music and singing thing really started to come into its own regarding myself.
Photo: Courtesy of David S. James
Michael J Edwards: I appreciate the music business can be quite fickle, and as with my parents, I believe yours were quite adamant that you followed the more academic route. What was your academic focus at this time?
Shaun Escoffery: I was heading towards architecture, building and construction. Basically, I never saw it as a viable option; I never thought music would be a viable option for me. And it was never something that was presented to me as a viable option, so I carried on the same way as my parents thought I should be going, studying Architecture and Building and Construction – Proper jobs! (Laughs) Music is always down to somebody’s opinion. If someone is in a strategic position to mould and direct your career, they can have the final say just on a whim… If someone likes your stuff, they can really make or break you. It’s like jumping on a boat in the rough sea and being tossed about all over the place, and I thought, “No that’s not for me!” Music chose me, I didn’t really choose it. I don’t think I really had much of a choice in that, even though it was something I dreamt about as a kid, that this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to perform, I wanted to do whatever, not because I wanted to be rich and famous or anything like that.
Michael J Edwards: So you believe it was destiny?
Shaun Escoffery: Yeah! I think so you know. I think that it was in me to do it, so I’ve never questioned it.
Michael J Edwards: Can you clarify whether it was your aunt or your boyhood school friend Idris Elba who was responsible for helping you take the plunge into the singing arena?
Photo: Courtesy of David S. James
Shaun Escoffery: She kind of introduced me, she was the one that puts me in the studio saying, “You know what, I want you to do the backing vocals for me.” So that was my first kind of professional gig, and I got a feel of music, I got a feel of being in the studio with the musicians. I got a taste for it. I was at college studying Building and Construction, and that’s when I met up with Idris (Elba) and all those guys – Sarah Webb (D’Influence) etc. Sarah was another one who said to me, “Shaun, what are you doing?”… Anyway, Idris (Elba) just approached me in the canteen and said to me, “Shaun, what course do you do?” And I said, “I’m doing Building and Construction.” He said, “No man, with a voice like that, you should really be trying to pursue the music thing.” So that was the push, it kind of lit a light-bulb in my head and made me think, “Actually, you know what, this can be possible, let’s see what happens.” So I started to explore it a lot more after that.
Michael J Edwards: As I alluded to earlier, your initially overlooked underground debut release ‘Space Rider’ in 2001 was the first time you came to many people’s attention. I loved it then and I still love it now. What was the inspiration behind that track and the subsequent single ‘Days like This’?
Shaun Escoffery: I wrote the track with Geoffrey Williams. He lives in Australia now, but I have to say that Geoffrey Williams is a real mentor of mine. It was one thing I remember him saying to me, “Shaun, trust the song! Especially in this day and age with the younger singers who want to Ad Lib all over the track, and miss the essence of the song completely; the essence of the story! So Shaun, just tell the story and it will come alive.” And that’s one of the things that I got from Geoffrey Williams. With ‘Space Rider’ we wrote that in Ladbroke Grove. We were sitting there and we just couldn’t get a vibe! And then he just put down this lick on the guitar – all the things with Geoffrey started from a guitar base – And I said “What’s this?” And he said, “Space Rider”. And I said, “This is cool!” We were talking about destiny, and we were going deep into philosophy and having one of those deep talks. And so, “Space Rider” was kind of born from that.
Michael J Edwards: So did it come quite quickly?
Photo: Courtesy of David S. James
Shaun Escoffery: Yes it did! After a while of soul-searching, yeah it came quite quickly and we just kinda ran with it. I remember when we first played it and finished the song; I was like “Errr! I’m not sure if I like it!” He goes, “No Shaun! This is a wicked song!” I wasn’t totally feeling it! (Laughs) So yeah, that’s how that one started. With ‘Space Rider’ and ‘Days like This’ we kind of wrote them very quickly after each other. Again we were in Ladbroke Grove, and it was a beautiful day! I remember it vividly. And again we kind of had a bit of writer’s block, and I said, “Geoffrey man I need to get out, I need to get some air, it’s not happening!” So we stepped out, and it was a lovely day, it was hustle and bustle, the market was out, people were eating, the music was vibing outside – It was a beautiful day in Ladbroke Grove. So we stepped out, and I was like, “Geoffrey, I love days like this!” And he was like, “Huh! That’s it!” And I was looking at him and saying, “What are you talking about?!”
He said, “No, that’s the title of the song, ‘I Love Days like This!” So I was like, “Okay cool!” So we grabbed some Caribbean thing to eat and came back and just flowed [Shaun sings the chorus line ‘I Love Days like This!’] And it went from there really. But oh! I absolutely love that tune! And even now it still surprises me how people on Facebook and Twitter are posting, “Oh, I love your tune ‘Days Like This,’ it just lifts me!” And I wrote that song a long time ago!
Michael J Edwards: Another song really got into my psyche, was the introspective ‘Give Everything’ which I believe you also wrote with UK song writing talent Geoffrey Williams?
Shaun Escoffery: I remember I was really frustrated that I couldn’t express myself. Whether it was a fear of offending people or just not being true to myself and my opinions on certain things. And I remember coming to Geoffrey and saying, “Geoffrey man I’m really pissed off!” I can’t remember the exact situation, but I remember being really frustrated about it. And he said, “Just put pen to paper.” So I wrote down lyrics off the top of my head, just thoughts, just airing my frustrations; and we kind of just started to cultivate the lyrics. And he made that “If I want to cry, then I’ll just cry, if I want to sing, I’ll just give everything!”
And it was just that kind of thing, I was just being true, I had come to the stage where I said, “You know what? I don’t really care!” Not that I don’t care what people think that is, but to be truthful is better than not to be… And that’s one of my favourite songs that I’ve written.
Michael J Edwards: I believe there’s a ‘live and unplugged’ session where you sang that ‘Give Everything’ online, and apparently Geoffrey Williams says that he had never seen it! Where was that recorded?
Shaun Escoffery: I think that was on MTV base. Yeah! That was MTV base ‘unplugged’
Michael J Edwards: I was going to ask you about your singer/song-writing influences, but I believe you may have already answered that on your 2007 album release, ‘Move Into Soul’. You covered the gamut of great singer/song-writers on that cover album – Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Aaron Neville, Darryl Hall, Bill Withers, Shuggie Otis and more. That must have been a labour of love for you and a fun experience?
Shaun Escoffery: It was amazing! Again, I did that with Geoffrey (Williams), and it was a labour of love. It was so exciting just covering the artist that I love, and there are hundreds of them! The most difficult part of doing that album was trying to choose the ones that I wanted to do! (Laughs)
Michael J Edwards: In saying that, I noticed that you omitted Donny Hathaway from that set and you did a gorgeous cover version of ‘A Song for You’ during your live set at Under The Bridge, London.
Shaun Escoffery: I don’t know why I didn’t do that one! And that’s one of my favourite songs of all time! I tell you what, when I was actually doing the album, you realise just how great singers were! Because doing those songs was difficult. I was like, “How the hell did they get that note, and how did they do this and do that?” It was so difficult doing the songs because they were such great artists. The problem is that they make it sound so easy and so effortless.
Michael J Edwards: Don’t even bother covering a Luther tune!
Shaun Escoffery: I’m not even gonna go there; forget Luther! I always call Luther Vandross ‘The Master Singer’, He’s ‘The Master Singer!’ Flawless! What you have to remember is those guys used to live it. Back in the day they paid their dues. And they understood melodies, they understood music, they understood notations, pitching and control – Master singers. I honestly believe that that area of vocal singers is done! That is an era that will never be surpassed. Also back in the day when they were recording, especially the Sam Cooke’s, they would be recording with a full orchestra. They didn’t have time to be going flat, in making a mistake. So what you heard on some of those records was ‘a proper’ performance – a live performance, pitch perfect!
I was talking to Ken Bruce, he’s a Radio Two DJ/presenter, and I did a thing a few years ago called ‘Friday Night Is Good for Music’ – something like that. Basically it was like a homage to musicals and musical theatre. It was a one hundred piece orchestra; it was the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. And I tell you what, it was one of the most daunting things I’ve ever done. You just look back and see that you’ve got a string section, you’ve got two drummers, and I tell you it was an unbelievable experience! All live, everything was live, the audience, the whole thing. And this is what these guys used to do all the time. It was terrifying! But it was exhilarating at the same time.
Michael J Edwards: Does it erk you then that ‘Move Into Soul’ and the previously released 2003, Soulonica EP didn’t get sufficient marketing. Or where they just a labour of love, something to get out of your system?
Photo: Courtesy of David S. James
Shaun Escoffery: I try not to get any bitterness regarding this thing. It is for the love that I do it, and I think when you start thinking “Oh I want to be famous. And I want to be known around the world” You start losing your essence of what you love doing. And it’s got to be for the love of just making music. I’m glad people are still discovering the stuff because of my recent album, I’m glad people are discovering the old stuff. But no, it didn’t erk me, I have no bitterness towards it whatsoever; it is what it is. And even if everything went pear-shaped, I’ll still be singing, I’ll still be making music, I’ll still be recording things, I’ll still be putting things out.
Michael J Edwards: Up until recently you’ve been ensconced in the theatrical world, working on various stage performances from ‘Momma I Want To Sing’ to ‘Tommy’ to ‘Smokey Joe’s Cafe’, ‘Les Miserables’ and latterly as Mufasa in the fabulously successful ‘The Lion King’. How was that period for you in general?
Shaun Escoffery: It’s been a wonderful time, I have to say, It’s been a wonderful time. Because I stepped back from the music industry for a while and started to concentrate on the acting and musical theatre. It was good, because the love was good, as in people’s appreciation. I wasn’t doing it for any kind of accolades, but just to be recognised for what I was doing was really quite nice, in a field that I never really trained in.
Michael J Edwards: Did receiving the Laurence Olivier Award nomination for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ in the stage musical ‘Parade’ fill you with an inner fortitude and strength when entering into future theatrical performances?
Shaun Escoffery: Completely! It took me totally by surprise; it was a three-month stint at Donmar Warehouse in Covent Garden. So when my agent called me up and told me, “Shaun, you’ve been nominated for the Best Supporting Actor.” I was like, “You’ve got to be joking!” I was in tears. I’m not going to lie. It didn’t even come into my psyche that that was what was going to happen. So I was sitting there right next to Chiwetel Ejiofor and Patrick Stewart. They were serious heavy hitters! These guys were also nominated, not in the same bracket, but it was absolutely amazing! I never trained in that area, it was never on my radar, so it was a wonderful experience. So it’s been good! It hasn’t been good; it’s been great to me!
Michael J Edwards: Does one career influence the other with regards to your stage performance during a gig when you’re singing? Do you draw on your theatrical abilities in engaging with the audience and vice versa, does your singing ability transfer to the theatrical stage?
Shaun Escoffery: I think it’s the discipline of it. Vocally, as with the ‘Under The Bridge’ gig my voice was completely different, it got stronger, from doing it every day, singing every day. Also, it’s just that discipline – working in musical theatre affords you that discipline; learning to look after yourself, drinking plenty of water, eight hours of sleep, all that kind of stuff. Because this (My Voice) is my instrument, this is my livelihood, so I have to make it work. You’re forced to do that if you’re working everyday – honey and lemon and all that good stuff! – So yeah, I kind of draw on both things. I look at it as one and the same thing; I’m drawing from the same source. But it definitely has complimented both without a doubt.
Michael J Edwards: 2014 saw the return of Mr Shaun Escoffery in a big way. Your mind, body and soul stimulated us a new album ‘In The Red Room’ on Dome Records. Obviously the seven-year itch kicked in, being that 2007 was your last real recording?
Shaun Escoffery: Basically what happened was that I hooked up with Gil Gang, who’s previously worked with Michael Jackson. We got together and I liked his attitude, I liked his philosophy on music, and I liked where he envisaged the album going. I went to see him in America and then had a discussion about what direction to go in. We sat down and I said, “Okay, this is what I want to do musically.” I wanted to incorporate the influences of what I had been hearing growing up and put that into my music. So I thought, “You know what, I love these artists! They moved me; even now they still move me. And this is what I’ve been influenced by; this is what I draw upon. So let that music be heard and be known.” So that’s kind of how that was born.
Michael J Edwards: Please give us the background as to how the album came to fruition and why you chose ‘In The Red Room’ as the title?
Shaun Escoffery: Basically, Gil’s studio is red! That’s basically it! (Laughs) He’s got these blinds that are all red, so when the sun is shining a red hue comes through the room. And also there’s red sound proofing to help with the acoustics when I’m on the mic, and also so the sound doesn’t emanate from the room too much and disturb anybody.
Michael J Edwards: The lead-off single ‘Nature’s Call’ has been a great calling card for the album and the gems that lie within. Akin to Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On?’ it seems to be an acute observation of our current social, political and economic situation globally. Would you concur?
Shaun Escoffery: Definitely! I’ve been out of the industry for a while. And what kind of ignited it as well, is that I’ve been looking at what’s going on in the world, and I know it sounds like a bit of a cliché, but it just seems like things are getting worse. I’m standing back and I’m looking, and asking, “Man, this isn’t getting any better!” As intelligent as we think we are, nothing is getting sorted! It’s crazy! And we’re supposed to be the most sophisticated and the most intelligent that we’ve ever been. So it just ignited something in me and I thought, “I need to write about this, I need to sing about this, I need to say something about this. And even if no one listens, I just need to get it out!” So that’s how that came about really.
Michael J Edwards: Utilising the general public to sing the lyrics is very impactful. Where was the video filmed?
Shaun Escoffery: I love that video! Mark McEvoy filmed and directed the video. I recall him looking at me in a really peculiar way when I said to him, “I don’t want to be in the video, it’s not about the Shaun Escoffery show. I don’t want to be jumping up saying here I am, I’m so wonderful and all this foolishness!” This is a song that is about the people, this is what the people are saying, this is what I believe they’re saying is a general consensus. When I speak to people they give me the same vibe. I said, “Let’s make this about what people are saying; let’s go round and have people sing the song; everyday Londoners singing this song.” And it was his touch to put the kids in there as well which I thought was wonderful! But the kind of persuaded me to be in just a little bit, so I had to, I had no choice (Laughs).
Photo: Courtesy of David S. James
Michael J Edwards: Over what period of time was the actual album recorded?
Shaun Escoffery: It took me about a year and a half to two years maybe, because I’ve been so busy. I literally could get to the studio maybe once or twice a week at the most; and we’re talking for maybe four hours at that.
Michael J Edwards: I understand you’ve been writing songs since you’ve were at college. Was the writing process straightforward for this project?
Shaun Escoffery: Yes, it was. It’s been a long time; I’ve done the odd project and single here and there or whatever. But because it’s been such a long time I felt like I had a lot to say. And even now, still, I’ve got a lot to say.
Michael J Edwards: One of the many tracks I can’t get out of my head is the hypnotic groove of ‘Perfect Love Affair’. Can you please explain the background to the track?
Shaun Escoffery: It’s very Marvin Gaye; the whole vibe of it was just nice! This song is just about getting away. When people hear the title, talking about having an affair, it’s nothing to do that. It is talking about having a perfect love affair with the one you love. Just getting away from it all and having some ‘our time’, some ‘me time’. It’s a beautiful song, I absolutely love it! And we capture the real essence of something with that song as well.
Michael J Edwards: What other tracks do you have ear marked for single release, following on from ‘Nature’s Call’ and the jaunty, radio compatible ‘People?’
Shaun Escoffery: ‘Nobody Knows’ I think will be the next single, I love the vibe, I love the whole sixties kind of thing we kind of got going on there. Also, that was the first song that we actually wrote.
Michael J Edwards: We started the interview by talking about your long overdue live performance at ‘Under The Bridge’. Do you have a preference for singing live or recording in the studio?
Shaun Escoffery: Oh, definitely live! Definitely! Definitely! Definitely live! When I shake the cobwebs off, definitely live!
Michael J Edwards: Out of all the singles or album tracks that you’ve recorded, which are the ones that resonate with you the most, and you never tire of performing?
Shaun Escoffery: I love ‘Give Everything’. I love that song. I mean it really resonates with me, it really does! Performing wise I think ‘Days like This,’ only because the reaction to it always surprises me. Everyone just knows the song, they know the lyrics. But overall I do not ‘Give Everything’.
Michael J Edwards: You recorded and wrote a track entitled ‘So Many People,’ in collaboration with actor, DJ and all round nice guy, Idris Elba aka Mr Kipling, as part of the ‘Mi Mandela’ album soundtrack to the film he stars in. How was that experience and also the recording process?
Shaun Escoffery: The thing is with Idris that people don’t know, is that he’s been in the music industry just as long as the acting really. He’s always been DJing and has a real deep love for music, and a profound understanding of music as well. I’ve been working on a few of his projects from back in the day; we’re talking eight or nine years ago… He called me up and said, “Shaun I’ve got a tune that I’ve been writing, I’d love you to do a vocal and finish of the lyrics and stuff. I really like song; it’s a song very close to my heart.” So I heard it, it sounded wicked, so I said, “Okay, listen, I’m just re-write a few things, I’m gonna change-up this, I’m gonna write a few verses and stuff like that.”
So we got into the studio, and obviously with Idris nothing is left to chance; we had the best studios and fantastic musicians. And what I love about working with Idris in the studio is his passion and enthusiasm. He so enthusiastic about music, he loves it! Especially as it was his own project, and I think ‘Mi Mandela’ was very close to his heart, because the whole Mandela experience was something that was quite profound for him. It’s something that he really wanted to put down in music form. It was such a privilege to be part of something that he was so passionate about. And he’s one of my best friends as well, I love him to bits.
Michael J Edwards: And that track was recorded in London?
Shaun Escoffery: That track was, but he was in South Africa, he was in Mali, he was all over the place making that album.
Photo: Courtesy of David S. James
Michael J Edwards: You must feel proud that he’s remained level-headed, loyal and a true friend, even after his recent success?
Shaun Escoffery: Idris has never changed; he is still the same Idris. And that’s unbelievably commendable, because he’s at the highest level of his profession. Idris’s is cool; Idris has always been very cool.
Michael J Edwards: Would you ever consider recording a Jazz album, because as we know your voice is very much suited to Jazz, having recorded the sublime cover of Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling Good?’
Shaun Escoffery: I was talking to Gil about it actually as well. There are a few things that I would love to do, but to do a Jazz album – Definitely! Definitely! Definitely! Definitely! Definitely! I’m looking forward to doing that.
Michael J Edwards: Is there anyone that you would like to sing a duet with past or present?
Shaun Escoffery: Donny Hathaway, without a doubt, but I’d be scared to! I’d love to do some work with Gregory Porter; I think he’s absolutely amazing! Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Stevie wonder, Anita Baker. The thing is it would be a learning experience, the knowledge that they have or had. Just to have a conversation with these few people, not even to sing with them!
Michael J Edwards: Do you think the British Soul and music scene in general is in a good state?
Shaun Escoffery: It’s a difficult one for me, because the music industry is tough all round. As musicians and singers, were always in a state of its going to be difficult regardless. It’s always going to be hard; it’s always going to be a struggle. But I think that Soul music is really making a real push again, I really believe so. I think maybe things like the X Factor and all those kind of shows, it’s kind of helping it along in a way that people are starting to appreciate real singing again. It’s not that I totally agree with what’s going on with that kind of program, but I think people are starting to realise what’s good and what’s bad. And I think being able to cut it live is becoming very, very important. It’s coming full circle again. I think as well, because of the climate, people want to hear something of substance again, that’s going to nurture the Soul. I think it’s starting to make resurgence, something starting to happen.
Michael J Edwards: What are you listening to at the moment?
Shaun Escoffery: I’m listening to Gregory Porter, as well as a bit of Gospel. It’s whatever takes my fancy to be honest with you.
Michael J Edwards: Given your experience in the acting realm and the musical sphere, is there any talented young artist you should be looking out for in 2015 and beyond?
Shaun Escoffery: I come across singers all the time that would blow your head away! I’m like, “Man I wouldn’t on stage with you – no way!” They’re amazing! Absolutely amazing! I don’t know if they’re going to pursue the music industry thing, I don’t know if that’s their main interest, but there’s some serious talent out there. That’s something I’d like to do, nurture up-coming talent. I just don’t have the time at the moment, but it’s something that one hundred percent I will be doing.
Michael J Edwards: Your advice for young artists entering into the harsh world of the music industry?
Shaun Escoffery: My advice to young artists is to really hone your craft; hone it, work on it, don’t be thinking that this is going to happen overnight – don’t think that it will happen at all! Just hone your craft, because your talent will lift you up and expose you; that’s how I see it. And also just do it for the love of it, don’t do it because you want to be famous or want to be rich; that’s the wrong attitude. That’s my personal opinion; it’s the wrong attitude because that means that you can get suckered in by any Tom, Dick or Harry who promises you something wonderful… Go out and perform and pay your dues, because it’s important. And take your life experiences, write about them, put them down. Don’t rush through the problem so much. Absorb it and say to yourself, “Okay, this is what I’m going through, this is what I’m gonna put down on paper.” Because sometimes that’s where the gems are, so that’s my advice is just to really hone your craft, and also have a plan B, just in case it doesn’t happen. But do it for the love of it, do it for the love of it, just the love of it!
Michael J Edwards: Your future plans?
Shaun Escoffery: I’m going to start working on the new album, but I’m still promoting this one,’In The Red Room’. So it’s all going really well and I’m kind of just pushing it to see where it’s all going to go. I’m really excited about the whole thing to be honest with you. So some great things are on the horizon, a lot of TV stuff is coming up. I’m going to be performing a lot more. You’re going to hear me doing a lot more acoustic stuff as well, acoustic and unplugged.
Photo: Courtesy of David S. James
Michael J Edwards: We’re looking forward to all of the above Shaun. Thank you for taking the time out to give us a full and proper update and insight into your movements past, present and future.
Shaun Escoffery: Thank you very much. Thanks for having me; honestly it’s been a real pleasure!
Michael J Edwards
Essential Album: In The Red Room (CD 2014, Dome Records)