Using Reggae Funk Rock to Inspire Greatness
Feb 6, 2011 Beth Borzone
Ever dream of quitting your day job to become a musician? Chad Scott, now known as Shaka Buku, actually did. Now he hopes his funky tunes will inspire others to live out their dreams, too.
His daring decision to leave a lucrative career to live his dream is captured in the songs on his two albums “Reggae Rock Hop” and the more recent “Feel Different.”
He captures the spirit of his journey in the song “Set Yourself Free” from his latest release “Feel Different.” It’s about setting yourself free from your own self-made prison.
“I don’t believe that there is anything external that really holds us down. It’s really just ourselves,” Scott explained, adding that he believes in “really challenging yourself to expand and experience the most that life has to offer.”
Leaving the 9-5 to Live the Dream
Scott studied business in college, and upon graduating in 1994 became a venture capitalist, raising money for public and private companies. He soon realized, though, that this life wasn’t for him. He was unfulfilled and bored. He knew that he had to make a change. His epiphany came when a friend introduced him to a guitar.
From the second he picked up the guitar, he knew he wanted to dedicate his life to making music.
“It hit me like a hammer on the head,” Scott said, “It just felt really good, artistic, expressive, and that’s who I am.”
Luckily, his years in business provided the finances to make the transition. He moved from Aspen, Colorado to Los Angeles, California in 1997, found a voice coach and a guitar teacher, and then trained intensely for three years. He developed his own sound, which blends Rock, Funk, Reggae, R&B and Pop, and is described on his website as the “Ultimate Feel Good Music.”
His goal now is to use his music to inspire others to reach inside themselves, find their own ultimate joy, and then live it.
“Probably about 80% of my songs are about themes of empowerment,” Scott explained, “The ultimate objective of my music is to be able to tap into something inside of someone and bring out this condition inside of them, bring out this ultimate joy.”
Scott expresses this joy in “I’m Alive,” the opening song on his 2003 CD “Reggae Rock Hop.” Not surprisingly, it was Scott’s own guitar strumming that inspired “I’m Alive.” “I think I was just playing a couple chords and it felt to me like a very alive kind of vibe and those words just kind of came to me and then that triggered more words,” he recalled.
Sharing the Joy
No longer bored and now feeling alive, Scott wants his CD to spread the feeling around: “My objective is to have people listen to it and feel that same thing. It’s contagious. I’ve had several people come back and tell me that they experience that. That’s just confirmation for me that it’s doing it’s job.”
Like other talented musicians, such as Sting and Michael Franti, Scott’s introspective approach to music making is heavily influenced by yoga. He is a yogi and teaches a few yoga classes a week. He loves teaching yoga he says, “because it’s an incredible experience to change people’s lives.” He chose his performing name “Shaka Buku” because it means to “Awaken Greatness from Within.” He performs regularly at The Ideal Hotel for The Red Lotus Society, whose mission is to promote peace through meditation. Some of his performances help them fundraise. And he gives his music away for free to his yoga students.
Some of his students have come back to him with stories about how his songs have helped them through pivotal times in their lives or brought them moments of joy.
One mother, for example, liked his CD so much that she gave it to her daughter to bring to her elementary school class for show and tell. After her presentation, the class voted that they would use the first track of the CD “Feel Different” and play the song “Come Together” during clean up time. Now, they listen to “Come Together” every day as they clean up.
Overcoming the Challenges
Even though Scott is living his dream, it is not without challenges.
Too down to earth for the LA scene, Scott moved in 2005 to San Diego, which he feels “has a more conducive music scene for my type of music.”
Fourteen years since leaving the world of venture capital, he, ironically, finds that one of his biggest challenges is lack of money. “It takes a lot of time to promote and book,” Scott stated, “And without money you can’t hire a team to do it for you. The most frustrating part is that about 99% of people I expose to my music either like it or love it, but at this juncture I don’t have the man power or means to get it to the masses. The Catch-22 is you have to get to build a critical mass of fans for anyone to get interested in putting money behind your project, but without that support it’s extremely difficult.”
To help overcome this challenge Scott is creating an online artist development and discovery platform called www.MusicLaunchPad.com to help musicians like him manage and market their music careers.
Scott remains optimistic, “I’m all about making the impossible possible and this is the fuel I burn on.”
And yes, he’s even transformed that resilient spirit into song.
“Rise Up” on his “Feel Different” CD is all about rising above your challenges:
It’s a brand new day, put your worries away
Sing your dreams out loud, it’s your turn right now.
Scott’s second biggest challenge is lack of time. Not surprising, given the number of projects he’s juggling.
He’s produced three albums so far, “Good Vibrations” (2000), “Reggae Rock Hop” (2003) and “Feel Different” (2008). He’s produced two compilation CDs: “Move to Groove,” which is geared to the fitness industry and “Set Yourself Free” for the Christmas season.
Scott created his own promotional event called “Three Waves a Day,” which celebrates surf, yoga, and music, and offers a positive form of entertainment, an alternative to the bar scene. The event offers music and free promotions from yoga studios and health food companies for those who attend. He had three events in 2010, but hopes to increase the number of events to once or twice a month in 2011.
He is planning to launch a smile campaign and hopes to release a video collage of smiles some time this spring. So far he’s collected over 1,000 smiles. “Laughing and smiling can really be medicinal,” Scott said.
He’s also working on a video of his song, “Set Yourself Free.”
While Shaka Buku is not yet a household name and the lack of time and money do pose a challenge, Scott is determined to stay the course.
His determination shows in his song “Sunday Sunday Monday” from his “Reggae Rock Hop” CD.
If you wanna make it, you can’t never, never stop.
I’m making my way to the top, I ain’t never gonna stop.
“The theme is really about never giving up,” Scott said, “You know it’s like you go from Sunday to Monday and Monday to Sunday and you just keep going. I’m really trying to express this notion that if you never give up you will eventually win.”