Artist Radar: O-Shen

Artist Radar: O-Shen

Welcome to another Pacific Island themed Artist Radar. Our weekly Artist Radar articles will be dedicated to each of the groups featured on the FREE Pacific Island Sampler. This week, we put our spotlight on PNG & Hawaiian native, O-Shen.

O-Shen is an American who grew up among the tribes of the island nation of Papua, New Guinea. He rose to third-world super-stardom when he became the first person to rap and sing reggae in the native languages of the Pacific Islands. After leaving his Island home of Morobe, Papua, New Guinea to attend high school in America, he experienced major culture shock.

Trying to adjust to his new life in America, O-Shen found his way: studying and nurturing his natural talent in freestyle rap and playing the drums. Just 3 years later, he returned to the Pacific Islands and rose to iconic status among the island people as their musical ambassador.

O-Shen Free MP3s:

FREE Songs: “On My Mind” and “Skankenstein”

The Pier is very excited to have O-Shen a part of this FREE Pacific Island Sampler. His style is diverse, authentic & original. We were very fortunate to receive 2 songs to give away for FREE and we hope you enjoy his contribution and follow his music moving forward.

He submitted 2 songs on the Sampler for FREE download. The first song, Island Jewel was recorded & produced in Honolulu Hawaii by O-Shen & Bret Fovargue. O-Shen described the song celebrating the special ladies of the Islands.
The other song, Angel Eyes was recorded in Spokane, WA & Pennsylvania. It was produced by Rumble Rock Recordz. O-Shen described the song about a relatively unknown man that has a secret crush on a very famous woman and dreams of impressing her…

O-Shen Background & Interview:
O-Shen is equally well-known as a musical artist in Hawaii, where he now resides. He is a versatile artist and song-writer, mixing modern reggae and American rap with Jamaican, Reggae, native chanting and song. Both television shows and films have used his music, among them Adam Sandler’s “50 First Dates”. Collaborations have included Jamaican artists like Elephant Man, 3rd World, Black, and Uhuru.

Currently unsigned to a major label, his last six albums were independently produced in PNG and Hawaii. His song “Meri Lewa” was his break-out song in the Pacific Islands, along with the album, “Rebel 1”. His seventh album, “Saltwater Messenger”, out now, includes “Human Traffic” the proceeds of which will be directed toward helping bringing world-wide awareness of this pervasive crime.

The Pier was able to catch up with O-Shen to answer a few questions and introduce himself to The Pier community. Check out the Interview & Video below and be sure to follow him on Facebook by clicking HERE

The Pier: Being an American growing up in Papua, New Guinea and living in Hawaii, tell us what the culture of the music is on the islands right now and how it may differ from the rest of the world?
O-Shen: Well, Its actually different from island to island as well, because the Pacific is so culturally diverse..but it all is affected by the Caribbean and American influences…its hard to put pacific music in a nutshell because there is just so many types of Pacific Music…

The Pier: With this FREE Pacific Island Sampler, you gave us 2 songs with “Island Jewel” & “Angel Eyes”. For a lot of fans on The Pier, this could be their first impression to your music. How do these songs represent your work as an artist, and what do you want fans to take away from your music?
O-Shen: Well, these particular 2 songs are about girls..I do appreciate girls, but I stand for so much more in my music and lifestyle….I’d like to think that fans will see my music as conscious, culturally proud, raw, original and ‘feel good”…

The Pier: I understand you were sentenced to a maximum-security prison at 19 for armed robbery? How do you feel that experience shaped & influenced your approach towards the music you produce & perform today?
O-Shen: Yes, Unfortunately that is true..I used to live quite a different life than I do now..I have long since changed my life and left all that behind me…That experience made me a stronger person that can handle anything life throws my way…It makes me appreciate my freedom and health.

The Pier: With so much talent sprouting out of the Pacific Islands, What insight would you give us on groups coming out of PNG, Hawaii or just the Pacific Islands in General? Which groups are making a lot of noise on the Island right now?
O-Shen: There are lots of talented artists out of the South Pacific, and I’m not always as up to date as the fans are on those things..I tend to live my life and focus on what I’m doing in my own music….Sometimes, music industry politics determines who gets to “make noise” or remain unheard….

The Pier: How difficult is it to be an upcoming solo artist from the islands looking to be recognized among other talent being pushed?
O-Shen: It can be very hard to stand out nowadays because there is so many people wanting to be heard..I think its always best to be brave and courageous as an artist and don’t try to copy anyone else….To be an “Artist” you have to be able to write songs….thats what separates karaoke and art…

The Pier: You’ve put out 7 albums since 2000. Tell us about your latest album “Saltwater Messenger”. How does this album compare to your prior releases and what should fans expect from this new album?
O-Shen: The Saltwater Messenger album is mostly in English and its very Reggae on the production side….My first album recorded entirely in the US.

The Pier: Are there any plans to tour? When can the rest of the world see O-Shen on the road spreading the positive island vibes & music?
O-Shen: Always plans of touring..My next stop is the Reggaetown Music Fest in Cairns on Saturday the 10th of September..some other Australia shows are not yet confirmed..Bless!!

Thank you O-Shen! Be sure to check out his music. He has 7 albums to choose from including his latest 2011 release of Saltwater Messenger. Stay tuned for more updates regarding O-Shen and be sure to follow along inside our Pacific Island Blog

Interview by: Mike Patti

Here’s the official music video to the song “Island Jewel “