Shabeel, meaning “leopard” in Somali, was born in 1988. As a boy, he was fascinated by beautiful objects and, truth be told, by himself. He loved going through pockets and drawers, stealing this and that, and his curiosity would eventually extend to the wider world outside his grandparents' apartment, shaping him into what he has become today. Musically, his childhood consisted of listening to records and fairytales on his aunty and mother's turntable, listening to his father play the piano and singing in the school choir.
Shabeel grew up on fantasy literature and his grandfather's particular mix of fiction and nonfiction, recited in the form of bedtime stories. It was only natural therefore that his music would take on a fantastical dimension. What started out as imitating Tupac and writing raps at the age of fifteen became a life of injecting beautiful fantasy into already beautiful Jamaican and world culture. The talent to show images of truth through his music, which he believes is a gift from the great Cosmic Girlfriend, has been granted to him for reasons which remain mysterious to this day. He constantly strives, however, to become worthy of it.
Combining the hurt of the gypsy with a tough Jamaican style, Shabeel's music strives to be true and beautiful above anything else. It is about being gentle and kind, especially to creatures who are more vulnerable than one is, but also about defending them against those who wish to hurt them. It is an impossible task to properly list his sources of inspiration, but marked by artists such as Mariza, Chaba Sara, Nina Simone, David Ruffin, Dan Draghici, Dan Anghel, Joan Baez, Vybz Kartel, Ninjaman, Tupac, Yukmouth, Mitchy Slick, Skepta, Bob Marley, Rocio Jurado and even political figures such as Michael Manley, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, Shabeel makes music for the healing of the soul and finding of hope and true happiness.