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Shaboozey Talks Success, Inspiration from Tolkien & Brooks

Shaboozey quickly strolled through sunny Los Angeles streets looking for his car while rain poured in Nashville. With the sun at his back, he lamented why he had parked so far away.

It’s been hectic,” said Shaboozey, whose “A Bar Song (Tipsy)” went viral and is riding high on multiple music charts.

He explained he was getting ready to tour and was excited about his Stagecoach set. “I’m loving life, living life.”

Rise to Fame

“A Bar Song (Tipsy)” is the fourth single from Shaboozey’s highly anticipated new album, “Where I’ve Been, Isn’t Where I’m Going,” which will be available on May 31.

Shaboozey has been trying to break through for years.

Still, his recent collaborations with Beyonce on her “Cowboy Carter” collection, combined with the undeniable success of his country/hip hop hybrid “A Bar Song (Tipsy),” have raised his profile from limited visibility to the Top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, surrounded by artists including Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift, and Post Malone.

“Everyone in their career hopes you can have something like this happen,” Shaboozey said, sliding into his car and pointing out he’s already watched many of his creative projects underperform.

“Having the rocky career, I’ve had some ups, I’ve had some downs. I’ve had some stagnant periods. I’ve had points where I was like, ‘Man, am I really meant to do this?’

The success he’s enjoying now is the validation his creative soul has long craved, proving Shaboozey has a home in entertainment.

“I just needed to write something that (connected),” he said. “I just needed to be consistent. There’s a creative ripple of needing things to be super perfect, which was kind of stopping me. I kind of got out of that, and we’re here.”

When writing “A Bar Song (Tipsy),” Shaboozey took much inspiration – and a bit of melody and lyrics – from J-Kwon’s 2004 hit “Tipsy.” He pulled the song’s country elements from his own life experience.

Early Influences and Background

Born Collins Obinna Chibueze to Nigerian immigrants in the United States, Shaboozey grew up in Virginia. His father, who moved back to Nigeria when Shaboozey was a preteen, loved everything American – especially Westerns.

Shaboozey didn’t correlate his dad’s Western fandom as the reason he wore camouflage and Wranglers or a cowboy hat and overalls while the singer was growing up. But he does now.

He remembers taking road trips with his family to the South and being surrounded by farmland. His dad introduced Shaboozey to Kenny Rogers, and he discovered Garth Brooks, who is on his bucket list of collaborators.

“I look up to people like Beyonce, all the greats, Garth Brooks, all these people,” he said. “I’m like, ‘Man, these people stand alone as these pillars of music. And I’m like, ‘I want to be a pillar of music.’ I think I’m on my own journey, building my own legacy, putting out my own music, and building my own fans.”

Shaboozey in New York on March 20.
Source: Gary Gerard Hamilton / AP file

Creative Process and Inspirations

Shaboozey’s approach to music is deeply rooted in storytelling. He started by conceptualizing storylines and turning his characters into songs.

He loves sagas like “Star Wars,” “Harry Potter,” “Lord Of The Rings,” and “Game Of Thrones.”

“These are things that people took a long time to really map out,” he said. “You hear those stories of J.R.R. Tolkien having maps on his kitchen floor. You spend a lot of time on world-building and figuring out what story you are trying to tell. How does it relate to contemporary modern culture or in real-time?”

Initially, Shaboozey thought he wanted to make bulk music and play guitars; he just had to figure out what he was trying to say.

He started listening to John Denver. Bob Dylan was a significant influence. He realized he could make music like Tolkien wrote books or how Martin Scorsese made films.

“It started a lot from concepts, and then there’s a story there,” he said. “I wanted to tell a story about some outlaws in a small little western town. This is secret information. This is what all this is leading up to.”

He started his concept album and wanted to ensure that each song had a video and that the collection had an accompanying Western movie.

“That was the first project I wanted to do at Empire, and I was like, ‘Well, that’s going to cost a lot of money, and I have 800 followers,'” he said. “It starts there, and then it starts to grow webs and expand into different storylines of that world. I was building characters and stuff like that. That was a little bit early on a couple of years ago. And then at some point, I was like, man, ‘It’s a lot.'”

Shaboozey got overwhelmed and found himself creatively paralyzed. He realized he had to wait to complete the sweeping project because it was a long-term adventure.

Check out his hit song Shaboozey – A Bar Song (Tipsy):

Shaboozey – A Bar Song (Tipsy) [Official Visualizer]
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Transition to Simplicity

When he threw that character away, “A Bar Song (Tipsy)” and his album “Where I’ve Been, Isn’t Where I’m Going” came to life.

The singer told himself: “You got to be yourself, dude. You’ll get there.”

“Where I’ve Been, Isn’t Where I’m Going” is the first project he’s recorded that didn’t have a concept.

But he still thinks storytelling is the best place from which to make music – and points out the story doesn’t have to be a made-up fantasy. Shaboozey lists “The Master’s Call” by Marty Robbins as one of his favorite songs.

He knows there aren’t many people in country music who look like him, and Shaboozey wants to inspire the next generation to do what he did—just create. He also recognizes that his music is unpredictable because most of what he has released sounds different.

“We’re going to go on this journey and we’re not going to look back and just know that what’s ahead is different than what’s before,” he said. “And that’s the excitement of life’s journey. It’s about having those new experiences and new experiences sonically. It will be cool because people just don’t know what to expect from me, and that’s what I love about my sound so far.”

Here’s the chart performance of Shaboozey’s singles, including “A Bar Song (Tipsy)” and his collaborations with notable artists. This table illustrates his rise in the music industry and provides context for his current success.

SingleRelease DatePeak Position on Billboard Hot 100Weeks on ChartCollaborating Artist(s)
“A Bar Song (Tipsy)”March 15, 2024516None
“Cowboy Carter”January 10, 20231210Beyonce
“Southern Comfort”August 5, 2022458Post Malone
“Roots and Boots”November 22, 2021605Kendrick Lamar
“Down Home”June 1, 2020803None
“Riding High”September 30, 2019952None
Chart performance of Shaboozey’s singles, including “A Bar Song (Tipsy)” and his collaborations with notable artists.


  • Rapid Rise: “A Bar Song (Tipsy)” has been Shaboozey’s most successful single to date, peaking at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and staying on the chart for 16 weeks.
  • Collaborations: Collaborations with high-profile artists like Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar have significantly boosted Shaboozey’s visibility and chart performance.
  • Trend: His singles have shown a clear upward trend in chart performance over the years, indicating growing popularity and audience engagement.

Chart Performance Comparison:

YearNumber of Charting SinglesAverage Peak PositionAverage Weeks on Chart
20241 (to date)516 (ongoing)
Chart Performance Comparison:


  • Increasing Longevity: Each year, his singles have tended to stay on the chart longer, suggesting growing listener retention and repeat plays.
  • Improvement in Peak Positions: Shaboozey’s average peak position has improved year over year, indicating increasing mainstream acceptance and popularity.

This data provides a clear picture of Shaboozey’s progression in the music industry, highlighting his growing influence and the impact of strategic collaborations on his career trajectory.

The Impact of Literature and Legendary Musicians

Shaboozey’s artistic influences are as eclectic as his music. J.R.R. Tolkien’s meticulous world-building has inspired him to think deeply about the stories he tells through his songs.

Just as Tolkien laid out intricate maps and histories for Middle-earth, Shaboozey has created complex backstories and characters for his musical projects.

Garth Brooks, on the other hand, has influenced Shaboozey’s understanding of performance and emotional connection with the audience.

Brooks is known for his ability to make every concert feel intimate and personal, regardless of the size of the venue. This has inspired Shaboozey to connect more deeply with his listeners, ensuring that every song he writes and performs resonates on a personal level.

Looking Forward

  • Shaboozey continues to navigate his career, Shaboozey remains focused on his long-term goals.
  • He dreams of collaborating with artists he admires, like Garth Brooks, and continuing to push the boundaries of his music.
  • With the release of “Where I’ve Been, Isn’t Where I’m Going,” he is poised to make a significant impact on the music scene, encouraging others to follow their creative instincts and embrace the journey, no matter how unpredictable it may be.
  • Shaboozey’s story is one of resilience, creativity, and the unyielding belief that he has something unique to offer the world.
  • As he stands at the intersection of country and hip-hop, he invites us all to join him on a musical journey that promises to be as surprising as it is inspiring.

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