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Rapper performs at Ritual on Flying Colours tour

Photo by Tara Mahoney

Canadian rapper Shad was happy to be back in Ottawa.

“It has a good hip-hop scene and a good shawarma scene,” he said.

Returning only two months after performing at the Ottawa Folk Festival, Shad played Ritual Nightclub on Nov. 8 as part of his Flying Colours album release tour. This is his first album after winning a Juno—which he says he keeps on a bookcase in his bedroom—and he hopes it has mass appeal.

“It goes in a lot of different directions, like all my albums do,” he said. “But in the end I try to communicate a sense of hope. There are a lot of layers to it and it’s one of those kinds of albums that is universal.”

Before each show, Shad has a simple routine.

“I have to have a black T-shirt, low-cut shoes, and I can’t eat too much food.”

During the performance, he tries to give back what he gets from the audience.

“Sometimes I get so much back it’s hard for me to give that energy, because I’m used to giving it at least as much as the audience is and usually more,” he said. “So it becomes a challenge sometimes that you’re getting more back you can even give. It’s a problem of good fortune.”

When writing songs, Shad uses different approaches. Sometimes he starts with a beat, and sometimes he tries to find a beat that matches what he’s trying to say in the song.

“I’ve done both in my life for sure,” he said. “Sometimes I write without any track, and sometimes I hear a rhythm or melody that really gets me and I’m going to write to it.”

As a performer with an educated background—he has a business degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and a master’s of liberal studies from Simon Fraser University—Shad said success in university comes from following through.

“Keep up with readings and lectures. It’s not that hard,” he said. “15 hours a week, it’s not that hard.”

“My real advice would be if you care enough about graduating, stick with it and just do it,” he said.

When he isn’t on tour, Shad spends his downtime watching and playing basketball, catching up with friends, and watching television.

“I don’t know if The Newsroom is coming back, but I was watching that. I got some Homeland to catch up on. I’m waiting for House of Lies to come back,” he said. “And I don’t like to talk about this too much, but I do like New Girl.”

Shad will continue his tour across Canada and the U.S.  through the fall and winter ending in Toronto at Danforth hall on Jan. 21.


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