Get to Know Shy High [Interview]

Freddie Fine

After over a year of putting out singles, Shy High finally released his debut EP, goodbye delicious on June 21st. Containing three diverse tracks, including the already TikTok viral “diamonds,” it is clearer than ever that the Oregon native is well on his path to stardom. The day after the release of the project, I got to sit down with Shy High over Zoom to discuss his career so far, the significance of skating in his life, and Bill Nye.

Well, first off, congrats on the release of the EP yesterday. It's amazing. I love it a lot. 

Thank you, bro. Appreciate that. 

Would just love to start at the beginning for you. What's the origin of Shy High as we know him today, and how did you begin making music? 

Yeah. I started making music, as someone wanting to be Justin Bieber, honestly, you know what I'm saying? And also lowkey a rock star. I would sing metal songs and karaoke and shit when I was 11, I would go to bars and shit and sing Mötley Crüe, I don't know if you've heard of them. But yeah, that was weird. I used to wear leather jackets and shit, I was literally 11 – I think there's a video on YouTube. And then I tried to be Justin Bieber, I put my first original song on YouTube when I was 12 on some Bruno Mars type shit. So it started as that. And I was doing open mics, talent shows and all that shit. And then I came around to rap, when I was 14 or 15. My brother had Ableton and he would make beats on there and I would rap on them. At that point, Chance The Rapper was my biggest influence. I remember I had a song kind of pop off on SoundCloud. Are you familiar with Chance The Rapper? 

I am.

You know the song “Summer Friends?”

No, which one's that from?

It's from Coloring Book, but it goes like, “Summer friends down state ayy,” so my song was called "Summertime" and it was a total fucking rip of that Chance The Rapper song, literally the same exact melody. I don't know why I thought I was gonna get away with that. So hella people were roasting me for that, but it got like 100k plays on SoundCloud and I was hype. Yeah, so I was on SoundCloud for a few years and then started posting my shit on Spotify in 2019. And that's where I'm at now. 

Have you always gone under the moniker of Shy High, assuming that's not your real name? 

I originally went by my real name, which is Channon. I just went by Channon for a while. And then at the beginning of 2021, I just wanted to switch it up, try something different. So I just came up with Shy High and that's what I am now.


And what has it been like rising as an artist in somewhere that isn't exactly the epicenter of music, in Oregon. 

I love it because I like to do pretty much all my shit on my own, the production and the engineering and all that, I do most of it on my own. And so I don't mind being isolated because I like my ideas more than anyone else's normally, honestly. So I'm just chilling, I just like being in my life and skating and being in the trees and shit, and then making my music whether it's at a coffee shop or in a classroom or wherever it is on my MacBook. So yeah, I kind of like the isolation I guess. 

So transitioning a bit more into the project. You dropped goodbye delicious yesterday. How have you been feeling now that it's out? 

I feel great. I'm just happy for it to be out, I just wanted to put out some fun summer music, and I feel like that's exactly what it is, good skate music. That's all I wanted to do. It's always fun to put shit out, and hear how people feel about it and people post like, “Oh, this means this to me and that to me.” So it's fun. It's been fun. And also releasing three songs at once, I haven't done that. It's just been singles until now, so it's cool.

And the release was also on national go skate day. What's the significance of skating in your life and then choosing to drop it on that day?

I've skated since I was little, like 4, 5, 6 when I lived in LA. Skate culture has just been a part of my life. My dad used to take me and my brothers on skate tours around Oregon when we were nine, and so that has kind of just stuck with me as I grew up and just been an influence creatively. So I feel like I make good skateboarding music now, and I was like, “You know what? It's the first day of summer, it's go skate day. I'm dropping it.”

Love it.
So the very first moment on the EP is the famous “Yeah, Woo” sample origination from the Lyn Collins song that has been so famously used on classic hip-hop songs, like “It Takes Two,” and by Kanye, Slick Rick, and Run The Jewels among other icons. I was digging into it a bit and found it was part of the Bill Nye theme song, which I love, never knew that.

Oh, shit. I didn't know that.

Yeah, so you sampled the same song that's used in the Bill Nye theme song. But was there any significance behind making that the opening sound on the project? 

Honestly, no, it's just so catchy. When I just heard that I was like, “Yo, this is such a cool little intro just to start out a song with,” and then I was like, “Yo, it'd be even cooler to start out this whole summer, go skate day EP with it.” It's just so catchy and just fun. Classic. 

Did you go into making the project knowing that you wanted to make an EP or were these just three songs that you made flow together? 

Yeah, it was just three songs. “medusa (putcha dukes up!),” the one without sample, I made in November of last year. And I just had held onto it and then I just had these three songs and it was like, “I wanna put these out. They go together perfectly.” 

Did they just happen to have seamless transitions or did you have to go through and do that? 

I guess – I haven't even really listened to it. People have been saying that but I didn't even really realize that the transitioning is that good.

Really? It was the first thing I noticed. 

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That's funny though. 

Who have been some of your biggest influences, just throughout making music since you didn't make this project together.

I would say the biggest influence on this project specifically is the Beastie Boys. The name goodbye delicious is paying homage to their project, Hello Nasty which is my favorite Beastie Boys project. So it's my own spin on that and I felt like that project and them as a group were just so amazing at approaching music – truly not giving a fuck and being so cool, so original and authentic. I think that's what music is about, especially hip hop, I think that's what hip hop is about at its core. So that was probably the biggest influence on this project specifically.

Beyond that Pharrell is always a huge influence for me. I think he's also very good at that, but I think he's a little bit more, I guess musically minded, not that the Beastie Boys aren't, but Pharrell's a little more technical, and I think that's valuable. So Pharrell's up there too. Yeah, those are my two biggest influences that I like to talk about.

Do you have a favorite song by either of them?

Right now for Beastie Boys it's “Remote Control” which is an amazing one. And then Pharrell, I don't know if I can say a favorite one, that's crazy. I feel like “Run To The Sun” by NERD off of In Search Of... is up there. I just heard that yesterday, so that's probably why it's in my mind, but yeah, I love it.

It's clear that across all your songs, you have a lot of fun. From the one liners that you often say, to giving yourself a special thank you on “diamonds" which I personally really enjoyed. If you had to describe, what's the atmosphere like when you're recording these songs? 

I try to allow my mind to flow freely without judgment and literally just say whatever the fuck comes to my head, because I, in my opinion, have a lot of cool shit in my head. And so I find that I make the best music when I'm not caring about how that fits into the rest of music or what that's gonna come off as. So really, when I'm recording I'm just trying to tap into myself and whatever I have to say, genuinely without giving a fuck about how it's gonna come off. Like you said, there's one liners that are like, “What?” I think on diamonds, a couple people have talked to me about the line about the skin routine being bisexual. That just came to me, and I was like, “That's like such a weird way of saying that.” And I just like to roll with shit like that. That just makes you be like, “What? Why do you even say that?” But it's sticky, you know what I mean? 

Do you think that being in Oregon, with the type of isolation you spoke about earlier, helps with that?

Definitely, because I don't go to a studio or anything, I'm just in my room vibing. So I'm not worried about people judging me or thinking it's weird or whatever, it's just my own creativity. And I think for a long time, I made music thinking too much about other music. I just stopped doing that and started just making whatever I wanted to make, and I think just being isolated in my room helps me do that more freely. 

Do you have a personal favorite track off the EP or out of the three? And if so, what makes it stand out to you?

Actually I think it is “diamonds” because of the beat switches and the flow switches. And that comes from me just listening to the track, and when I'm producing it or when I'm writing it just not wanting to get bored. Genuinely I'm just like, “Ok, fuck it, switch it up again, switch it up again, switch it up again. I'm not trying to get bored listening to this.” So that's where that comes from. And I just think that track is so entertaining because of the switches and also the one liners.


I agree. It's a very enjoyable listen.

Thank you. I appreciate it.

Is there any track that tells a story that we as listeners or might not pick up on? 

Honestly, no. I don't personally have a bunch of shit I need to get off my chest right now, so my music right now is really just cool shit that I wanna say and cool shit that I wanna make. So there's not necessarily underlying, deeper shit, it's really just cool shit. 

Even waking up at 11:07 and missing class wasn't based on anything, as you referenced on “fedex?”

No, that's based on my life. I mean that's just my life really. I'm just saying normal shit, waking up at 11:07 I'm just talking shit about my teacher.

You've seen such incredible success while still being an independent artist, which first off huge congrats to you on all of that, as well as while being in college. What has this been like to experience and navigate? 

To me, college is a free influence. Ok, it's actually not free at all, never mind. But it's influence. I made the “independent films” beat in a classroom, I made the “diamonds” beat in a college building while chilling with a bunch of other people around. I like being in that environment because it's a lot of kids my age. Just being around that and getting that energy helps me stay grounded in the shit I'm making and not get too separated from the world. I think that's a mistake that people make sometimes, that they're in their world and they're making all this shit and they're like, “Oh this is gonna be cool.” But then it's not always cool, and so when you're in an environment like that, I feel like that helps me be reminded of what real people look like and do. So I feel that being in college, even though I don't live on campus, I don't hang out with people or anything, but I just like seeing all the people my age, and being in classes helps me stay connected to what I feel like people are gonna want.

What's next for Shy High? Where do you hope to take your music and arrive at? 

I'm just gonna keep making the coolest shit out. I have no clue what that's gonna be yet, it changes every single day, but it's always cool in my opinion. So yeah, if you like Shy High, you can count on more cool shit. And hopefully some shows and shit like that, that's what I'm trying to do.

I'm definitely gonna have to fly out there for a Shy High show.

I'm gonna have to fly out to NYC. Do a show there bro, that would be awesome. 

Well, thank you for taking the time out today. EP is amazing, keep killing it, and I can't wait to see what comes next.

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