This past Saturday, Orville Richard Burrell, otherwise known as Shaggy, headlined Manhattan College’s 2017 Springfest. Born in Jamaica and raised in New York City, Shaggy is a Jamaican-American reggae fusion artist. Shaggy’s best known for his singles, “Angel,” “Boombastic,” and “It Wasn’t Me,” and when he appeared on the stage at Springfest, he most certainly delivered these hits.
When asked what made him get into making music, Shaggy was worried he wouldn’t remember that far back, and jokingly laughed.
“[Music] is a hobby that became lucrative for me, and I am blessed to say that I have that hobby I actually get paid for. I began making music because it was a kind of way to get attention. I did music because, frankly, it could get me attention from a lot of beautiful women,” Shaggy said. “I don’t have any kind of deep story. There’s times where I didn’t get paid for shows, but I got into a club for free, drank for free, and I spit the mic and I walked out with a beautiful girl– and for years, that was my payment. At that point, you start to build your brand, and the next thing you know they’re giving you millions of dollars.”
Growing up, Shaggy said his favorite musicians were very unlikely people. “I like Mahalia Jackson who’s a massive gospel singer” Shaggy said, “I used to like Toots and the Maytals, which is a ska and reggae. Of course Bob Marley, I’m a big fan of Jimmy Cliff, there’s another guy by the name of Super Cat. A lot of reggae music, but I’m also a big Bill Withers fan, a big Billy Joel fan, a big Simon and Garfunkel fan, a big Ray Charles fan– a lot of big song writers where the songs are actually about something people can relate to, and that’s the great thing about songwriting. You could write nursery rhymes and sing them but when you talk about things that people can actually relate to, because it’s relatable that’s when it becomes really beautiful.”
When Shaggy’s not making music, he confessed that he loves watching movies. “I really like watching movies, and one of my favorite movie is The Shawshank Redemption. I’m also kind of trying to get into reading right now, but I think I have ADD or something like that, I can’t even go past a few pages, I get bored really quick…yeah I really need to get that checked out.”
When I informed him that I am an English Major, he responded quickly saying, “I’m fighting just to get through a book! It’s rough, and if you’re just not made for that […] it’s almost like a talent.” Other than watching movies and picking up a book every now and then, Shaggy admitted that he’s been listening to a lot of Slick Rick and Cranium lately.
Following the interview, Shaggy stepped on stage after his three opening acts attempted to hype up the growing MC crowd. Starting out, the DJ continously switched through popular songs from the past few years telling the crowd, “sing it, Manhattan College!”
One of the opening acts was an up and coming R&B artist from Brooklyn by the name of Amber who got the crowd to sing along to Alessia Cara’s “Scars to Beautiful”. The two rappers/reggae artists that came on stage afterwards didn’t get much of a response because the crowd was eager to see Shaggy.
Freshman Rachel Bianculli couldn’t wait for Springfest, saying, “I’m just excited because it’s my first Springfest, and I’m able to spend time with my friends and not stress about homework until tomorrow.”
After sophomore Erin Spadaccini’s second Springfest, she said, “Although I am not a devoted Shaggy fan, I enjoyed the concert experience with my friends.”
Even though the weather outside was rainy and cold, the atmosphere inside was exciting and rowdy. There was good music, classic throwback songs and a fun break before finals week comes around.
“Overall I had a good time at Springfest. Shaggy wasn’t the best performer, but I thought the DJ was great. It was nice to hang out with friends and forget about school work for a day,” said freshman Carl Ranieri.
After Shaggy played his hit-song that was popular with most students, “It Wasn’t Me”, people began leaving Draddy Gymnasium even though the performer wasn’t finished with his set. He did two more songs for a thinned-out crowd until exiting the stage and the DJ took over again, playing more songs until Draddy was full of stragglers attempting to meet Shaggy before he left.
Students stepped out into the cold, rainy Saturday afternoon weather which felt like a relief compared to the hot temperature from inside of the gymnasium.
Residents of Horan and Lee Hall sang “It Wasn’t Me” at the top of their lungs as they walked into the bridges of the two buildings, which were heavily monitored by public safety officers, resident directors and the lucky resident assistants on duty at the time.
Elsewhere on campus, the outdoor carnival on the Quad was made lackluster by Saturday’s milky weather. Last year’s was held when the weather was sunny and warm.
But that didn’t stop students from riding the inflatable, mechanical bull or chomping down on free cotton candy. A large barbeque originally planned to be held on the quad had to be moved inside to Locke’s Loft.
“It looks like the barbecue will be in Locke’s,” tweeted out Student Engagement as the concert began.
Burgers and hot dogs grilled out on the quad were moved into the dining hall, which was at maximum capacity as the concert ended. Instead of the typical Locke’s set up, every flat surface was covered in platters of brownies, watermelon slices and potato salad.
Despite the campus having a larger presence of public safety officers and officers from the NYPD 50th Precinct, the fest went off without a hitch. Safety restrictions were put into place to protect students and public safety began monitoring the campus much earlier into the week than in the past.
A neighborhood cleanup followed Springfest on Sunday, with members of Student Government, SAAC and Greek Life cleaning up around campus and the surrounding neighborhood, as a way to give back to Riverdale neighbors.
Springfest 2017 has come and gone, but many will have memories of a fun Saturday despite the weather. Shaggy seemed to be a hit or miss for many students, but the concert was always meant to be a time spent with friends and
At the end of his interview, Shaggy gave one piece of advice to the students at MC: “Live it up. You’re young, […] Just make sure you don’t screw up and waste your parents college money.”
Taylor Brethauer contributed to reporting.