“Fantasy meets reality” — that’s the opening line of “Vegas,” the opening track on Shamir’s debut album Ratchet. It’s a fitting rallying cry. Just 21 years old, Shamir recently played the first set ever at his hometown’s T-Mobile Arena, setting the stage for Wayne Newton, the Killers, Imagine Dragons, and… Blue Man Group. Do we even need to tell you what song he did first?
Last week, Shamir stopped by the New York Billboard office for an episode for our weekly alternative music podcast, the Alt In Our Stars. The lead Ratcheteer was on tour opening arenas for Duran Duran — again, you know, NBD — and spoke on what it’s like to tour with the new wave legends, along with Nile Rodgers.
Shamir spoke about growing up in the Vegas suburbs, where he felt he didn’t quite fit in, even though he was voted best dressed at his high school over the senior class president. “I didn’t have many friends… I talked to like, the same four people.”
Now that he’s coming into his own, Shamir is an inspiring force to other queer people, and really anyone who ascribes to his numerous fan monikers — Shaqueers, Ratcheteers, Baby Ratchets. “It’s really important for me to let my friends know to really be themselves… not to conform to any kind of binary, whether it be gender, color, sexuality.”
To keep up with the podcast (a new episode comes out every Friday) and to stream old episodes, subscribe to The Alt In Our Stars podcast on iTunes. Let us know what you think on Twitter (@cpayneonaplane) and by rating the podcast on iTunes.