Virginia-based artist Shaboozey believes we can create whole universes in our minds


COLORS showcases exceptional talent from all around the globe, focused on the most distinctive new artists and original sounds.


Virginia-based artist Shaboozey believes we can create whole universes in our minds

At heart, Shaboozey is a storyteller. As a child, the Virginia-born artist couldn’t consume a piece of fiction without wanting to create an alternate reality of his own. Now, he feeds his desire to “world-build” by writing stories, visual treatments for film and video, and of course, music and lyrics, often combining his discipline-defying passions to create multi-sensory projects. Shaboozey’s 2018 debut album, ‘Lady Wrangler’, for example, was accompanied by four accompanying half-minute vignettes.


Since then, Shaboozey’s delved even deeper into combining audio and visual elements, releasing self-directed music videos for ‘Rodeo World Champion,’ ‘Tall Boy,’ and ‘Beverly Hills’—tracks from his sophomore album ‘Cowboys Live Forever, Outlaws Never Die’—in 2022, which were lifted from his sophomore album ‘Cowboys Live Forever, Outlaws Never Die.’


Following his A COLORS SHOW performance of ‘Vegas’, and ahead of the release of his new album, we spoke with Shaboozey about his cinematic heroes, how Virginia champions individuality, and embracing the hip-hop to country music pivot.

Where does your artist name, ‘Shaboozey’, come from?

It’s a misnomer of my last name, Chibueze, which is Igbo for ‘God is King’.

What is your earliest musical memory?

My earliest musical memory is watching Cash Money Records’ music videos on 106 & Park—a countdown music video show we used to have in the US. As a kid, I was amazed by watching Juvenile and Lil Wayne videos, I felt like they transported me into their world. I fell in love with music videos after that.

What were you more drawn to, the visuals or the music?

Both audio and visual components were necessary to convey the feelings that deeply resonated with me. The music video directors during that time were so meticulous. They were masters of storytelling.

Do you have a favorite video from that time?

I loved ‘I’m Real’ by Ja Rule and J.Lo, Usher’s ‘You Remind Me’, and Nelly’s ‘Ride Wit Me’.

Nelly was a pioneer of the hip-hop to country music pivot, something you’ve also embraced.

Nelly is from St.Louis and was exposed to country music early on. This led him to incorporate country into his hip-hop in a way that wasn’t done before. Our story is similar in that I’m from Virginia, where hip-hop is a part of our scene, but in our rural areas we’re known for country music. Experimenting with country music was easy for me.

How has growing up in Virginia informed your music journey?

In Virginia, I always felt that I could do whatever I wanted and people would accept me. I knew I would never be forced into a box because Virginia is so eclectic.

The cultural icons who come from Virginia are hugely inspirational to me, from Pharrel to Missy Elliot, and Timbaland. They are all artistic innovators who are ultra creative. More recently, Kali Uchis, who has always done her own thing, has started pulling fashion inspiration from ’50s and ’60s American doo-wop and soul. That’s the thing, there are no two artists from Virginia who are alike. We champion individuality here. Virginia is a breeding ground for world builders.

Speaking of world building, you’ve directed many of your own music videos. Tell us about your approach to visual storytelling.

Storytelling was my first love. I originally thought I would be a novelist. I began by writing scripts and a treatment for a musical, and of course throughout that time I was making videos and short films. I believe we can create whole universes in our minds, ones that an audience can see themselves inhabiting. That’s what I aim for with my visuals. My goal is to have fans who love film, who appreciate my visual output, and who can see the value and thought that goes into storytelling on a cinematic level.

Are there specific directors or films that you draw inspiration from?

A lot of my music is inspired by films like ‘Easy Rider’, ‘East of Eden’, ‘Rebel Without a Cause’, and ‘Giant’. Above all I’m inspired by Martin Scorsese, particularly his film ‘Taxi Driver’.

You started your own production company V Picture Films. What can you tell us about this project?

The name is an ode to a collective I was in called ‘Five Sense Records’. I adapted the five into the roman numeral ‘V’ to get V Picture Films. The long-term goal is to build this production company up and to have a film studio in Virginia where mid-Atlantic artists can come together to create.

When I was young I knew I would be a storyteller, and would jump into creating worlds without fear. V Picture Films pays homage to my younger self and is a token reminder to keep that childhood dream alive. The fantasy is to be a full on writer, director, and producer one day. I want to create stories on a high level and to earn the trust of other creatives to build worlds together.

Your sound blends various styles, specifically country, Americana, rock, and hip-hop. Are there specific artists that influenced your multi-genre approach?

I was introduced to The Rolling Stones and Grateful Dead by a friend’s parents. That got me into more rock like Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin. I studied why these artists were so impactful and timeless and began playing with different aspects of their music as I built my own style. Nowadays my creation process is more fluid. I start with the guitar and then writing begins from there.

“We champion individuality here. Virginia is a breeding ground for world builders.”

In the past the country music community has pushed back when artists have blended genres and musical styles. 

Sometimes I don’t feel I should rightfully be labeled as a country artist. I have peers who make country in its truest form. I don’t want to do them a disservice by labeling my music as country if it doesn’t attest to the style.

This said, I’ve felt very accepted in the country community. There’s a push for diversity in country music nowadays—country artists from all over are breaking into the mainstream. Colter Wall from Canada and Gregory Alan Isakov from South Africa are proof that we’re approaching a more inclusive time. I feel like I’m standing in front of something untapped. It drives me to want to work with more country artists.

Are there specific artists you would like to work with?

Zach Bryan would be cool. I recently heard of an artist named Buffalo Kin, his voice is insane. I also have many talented friends in other genres, like The Marias. I would love to work with them.

Can you tell us about the song you performed for COLORS?

‘Vegas’ is a personal song based on an introspective moment. The producer of the track was playing the guitar and he posed the question, ‘You lived a lot of life and your biggest mistake was?’. From there I just began singing. I jumped right into a personal experience I had after a pretty lady broke my heart.

‘Vegas’ features on your upcoming project. What can you share with us about this new album? 

The album has a road trip vibe. It’s like a spectator taking in all that they’re seeing on the road. My main message is ‘where I’ve been isn’t where I’m going’. It’s about getting to your new destination and looking forward to new horizons.

If you could send one message to the COLORS audience, what would it be?

There is no such thing as a favorite color.

Shaboozey is a Virginian artist whose A COLORS SHOW was released on 4th March 2024. You can watch the full performance on our YouTube channel.

Text: Katerina Lytras
Photography: Allan Pimenta


Open Player

This website uses cookies. By using this website and its content you accept these cookies.