Lyrics Born tours new album, lands in Breckenridge Sunday
Bay-area rapper Lyrics Born (Tom Shirmura) built a strong following with his ’90s funk-infused hip-hop.
In 2003, he released his first solo record, carving a niche as a viable artist on his own with such singles as “I Like It, I Love It” and “Calling Out.” By 2008, he incorporated his band, which he toured with beginning in 2004, on his 2008 album, “Everywhere at Once.”
Now, he’s in the midst of his first full tour since the release of his new album, “As U Were,” in October. The compilation marked a bit of a departure for the artist: Think more ’80s electrofunk, less ’90s hip-hop.
“I definitely wanted to change my sound and go in a different direction,” he said. “I’ve said everything I wanted with (my old) sound palette.”
“As U Were” pays homage to the music that inspired him in the early 1980s; as “a huge soul and funk fan,” he “had dabbled in the past, but it was time for me to hit ‘refresh’ on my browser and really do something in a direction I hadn’t gone in,” he said.
As it turned out, the album challenged him incredibly, both on a production level and a personal level. Personally, he became a dad, changed labels and was dealing with technology changes within the industry.
“It’s no secret we live in strange, tumultuous times – recessions, wars, all kinds of meltdown and issues – especially in the music business, it’s a much more severe meltdown than the world sees,” he said. “Personally, every time I turned around, everybody was in crisis mode. I saw a lot of people around me panicking. … One day, I just took stock and thought, ‘Maybe the world is crashing down around us, but just because everything else is falling apart doesn’t mean I have to.’ I stayed committed to my vision (as in) stay as you are.”
And that’s where the title originated: It doesn’t mean Lyrics Born is remaining locked in his old sound. Rather, it’s a personal statement reminding himself to refocus and rededicate himself to “progressive, ever-changing art.”
“I’m a really fortunate guy,” he said. “I never make the same album twice, and people are still on board for the most part – and not a lot of artists can say that.”
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