“Music saved my life and success didn’t come over night” With legends like Elvis, Michael Jackson and Bob Marley as influences “Tamrat Shifta Mason,” professionally known as “Shifta” arrived on the evening of Valentine’s Day in Miami. With his life yo-yoing between Miami and Jamaica his unique blend of Jamaican music with the influence of American culture became his trademark. His star started rising with his release of EP ‘Do You Wanna?’ recorded in collaboration with Japanese star Che’nelle. The EP climbed into the top 10 in the billboard charts and No.1 in the iTunes charts. Shifta has toured across South America, Africa, Asia and USA and Europe in 2016 and into 2017 playing to audiences who could not get enough of his blend of music in the dancehall and reggae genres. He is always very ‘hands on’ and believe someone music should always be a true reflection of them.
Shifta was influenced a lot by his parents. His mother was a very soft-spoken sweet lady and in contrast his father came from hard knocks and did not put up with any BS. Shifta was one of eight children, and his parents’ favourite, although they divorced when he was still very young.
Shifta spent his summers in Jamaica with his father soaking in the vibe the music and the unique culture of the island. He travelled with his father from Africa to South America keeping his ears open and his beat real. He is an Ethiopian name and means rebel fighter and as a musician Shifta has lived up to his name fighting his way to success. In a house that was always the house that kids wanted to hang out, he was developing his style. Shifta partied a lot at school, acting as DJ himself. Despite not having the strongest academic record he moved on to attend college at Florida international university received a bachelor’s degree in marketing, after that he was ready to started a entertainment company with his father ‘Daddy fras’ they names it Timeless Entertainment.
Shifta’s father discovered some of his generations biggest reggae acts in the 90’s such as Lady Saw, Reggie Stepper, General Degree and many more that he promoted through his Piper record company.
Timeless entertainment started in 2003. It was known to threw banging events and eventually morphed into a record company led by Daddy Fras aka Pipper. The CEO Rasheed Ali, aka Fresh Timeless was Shifta’s God brother and they grew up together. Daddy Fras asked Fresh to come on board and run the company with him while Shifta focused on his music.
Shifta knows that like every other industry, the music industry has a lot people who resent success and taking criticism is part of the course, on everything. He’s always up for the fight to defend his success and his music! He says his success is due to the fact that reggae music is everywhere and people love the culture behind the music. Shifta’s three greatest music icons were Elvis, Michael Jackson and Bob Marley and of those three he reckons Bob Marley is loved the most,representing lilting and mellow Caribbean culture.
Shifta went through a wild period but says that it was actually that time that saved his life. At the age of 18 he was arrested and looking at serious charges which could have seen him incarcerated for a long time. He went to jail for a year where he says that God gave him a second chance at life. He wrote a new song every day and vowed that when he got out, he would take his music seriously. Shifta says music saved him and gave him the chance to bring his music to the world.
“My belief is that you should never regret what you have done, only regret what you didn’t do. Everything happens for a reason, I’m a strong believer in that. Many people feel I should have been bigger as an artist for the amount time I’ve been doing it but I’m believe everything in life is about timing and look forward to much more. The time it’s taken me to achieve success has only made me more aware and given me valuable knowledge about the business.” Shifta
Shifta always express that his children are his constant inspiration and the most important people in his life.
Shifta works with a few writers mainly Bazra God but he is always likes to be very ‘hands on’ because his music always needs to be true expression of himself and his thoughts.
Shifta is a singer songwriter and businessman, father and inspiration and In Early part of 2018 his first Album is due. As well as his own contribution no less than 11 other artists will be showcased, big names like Stephane Marley, Wayne wonder , Jah cure , elephant man , Too short and a few more. Shifta has a great relationship with his fans worldwide, connecting with them through Instagram and Facebook along with interaction at his live concerts and events.
With his own very definite views on life and faith, music and love the tattoo on his right arm says it all:
“Only God can judge me “