Orville Richard Burrell – the pop-reggae performer better known by his stagename Shaggy – is coming to Riverdale to play at Manhattan College’s annual Springfest concert on Apr. 22.
“We put out a vote of about 40 different artists for students, and we started with the top ten list,” student engagement director John Bennett said. The vote was conducted through the department’s Instagram account, and based on which artists received the most Instagram “likes.”
The list of artists was assembled by student government’s committee on social life. The committee is open to all interested students and is led this year by Vice President for Social Life Allison Ready, a junior communication major.
“One of the first things [our committee does] is put a list together for Springfest artists,” Ready said. Ready’s committee is given a ballpark estimate of the event’s budget by Student Engagement at the start of the academic year. It is then the job of the committee to shop around for available artists in the price range.
This year was the first time that Student Engagement conducted the Springfest vote through Instagram. Bennett said that the aim of the change was to increase student participation in the vote. In past years, a survey, which required a Manhattan College login, was sent to students by email.
“We were looking for a feel of the student body, which is what we got,” Bennett said. “It’s not an exact science.”
Shaggy finished in the top ten of Student Engagement’s Instagram poll, alongside other artists including Juicy J, Steve Aoki, Post Malone and The Chainsmokers.
“We started with number one and on down – reaching out to different agencies and agents to see who was available,” Bennett said. “[Shaggy] was the first one to say yes.”
Shaggy was penciled in as the Springfest artist during the winter intercession, but the college was contractually prohibited from making an announcement until March.
Shaggy rose to prominence in the late 1990s, churning out a number of reggae-fusion hits, many of which achieved mainstream popularity, like 1995’s “Boombastic” (from the album of the same name), 2000’s “Angel,” and 2002’s “It Wasn’t Me.”
His “Boombastic” album was awarded the Grammy for Best Reggae Album at the 38th Annual Grammy Awards in 1996.
Though his more recent works have not risen to the same prominence as those from the 1990’s and 2000’s, he has continued producing music.
His eleventh and most recent album, entitled “Out of Many, One Music” came out in 2013. The album was nominated for Best Reggae Album at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards in 2015, marking his fifth nomination for that award and his sixth Grammy nod overall.
“I think people are going to be really excited about it, and he differently has a few hits that I think people don’t even realize,” Ready said. “I think it’ll be good. I think it’ll be a nice little throwback for everyone.”
For Student Body President Dorian Persaud, Shaggy’s arrival at Manhattan College will have an especially sentimental value.
“I’m Guyanese, Indian, Portuguese, all these fun things,” Persaud said. “But I grew up, essentially in a Caribbean household, so we always listened to Shaggy, and it was an integral part of my childhood.”
Persaud and Ready both cited “It Wasn’t Me” as their favorite song of Shaggy’s.
“It should be a great time for everybody,” Persaud said.