Shamir’s androgynous voice and killer hooks landed him a record deal just out of high school. Pitchfork calls his debut album, entitled “Ratchet,” “A study in the best dance-pop of the past decade.” He’s on tour now. Here’s Shamir with a set of party tunes to play while you’re cooking up a few lengua empanadas for a friendly dinner party.
Shamir: Hey, this is Shamir, and this is my dinner party soundtrack.
Alvvays – “Party Police”
My first song would be “Party Police” by Alvvays.
I’ve actually played this at a dinner party back when I was in Vegas with my friends. Very chill, very mid-tempo song, but it’s also not too soft of a song, to, like, fall asleep on your plate [laughs].
I love to cook a lot. I kind of have, like, a very maternal spirit about me. Like, I just want to comfort people with food. So I guess I will say what’s on the menu, which would definitely be lengua empanadas. And lengua is tongue in Spanish, so, usually that throws a lot of people off, and it’s a lot of steps to cook, but it’s totally worth it.
Nico – “Chelsea Girls”
For my second song, I would play Nico with The Velvet Underground, her song “Chelsea Girl[s],” a classic.
Honestly, I just love Nico’s voice. I just love how deep it is, and her accent. If I didn’t have my own voice, I’d probably want hers.
My favorite part of the song — which is funny because it’s the part that I read that she hated — was the flute. I think the flute is so beautiful in that song. Even the way the string arrangement is… very staccato and like you’re creeping. It’s a very haunting song, and it kind of sounds like the soundtrack to a dinner party at the Addams Family’s house.
Wilco (Featuring Feist) – “You and I”
For my third song, I would pick “You and I” by Wilco and Feist.
I was working at Ross Department Stores, in the fitting room, so there was a lot of standing around just listening to whatever they played over the intercom, and that song was definitely on every rotation on the playlist.
I actually remember this one time, this one lady was in the fitting room for such a long time and I almost forgot that she was in there. So, I was singing my butt off, but eventually, she came out, and I was like, “Oh, my God!” She’s like, “Honey, you have a beautiful voice!” I was like, “Thank you!”
Shamir — “Demon”
My fourth song would definitely be “Demon” off my album “Ratchet.”
I don’t know, I guess I wanted to kind of like, make my voice sound a little bit more eerie. It’s always so weird when I’m describing my own voice because, I mean, I know it’s different, but this is the only voice I ever had, you know? I guess I just made do with what I have [laughs].