Shoghi Boodhoo is the vocalist and lead guitarist of Behold the Jury, a band which has taken its audiences by storm, in Guyana and away from these shores as well.
“I was always fond of music at a young age. Honestly, I never thought I would have ended up playing the guitar and later [take] up singing,” the young rock star said during an interview with The Scene.
Shoghi grew up on the West Coast Demerara where he attended Leonora Primary School and then Queen’s College. His mother, he shared, is the only one in his family besides him who is musically talented; she sang classical Indian songs. While Indian music was never his forte, having a songbird for a mother influenced Shoghi to try singing. It turned out to be one of his most impressive talents.
During his secondary school life, the musician said, he was a “rebel” noting that he was an average student who focused mainly on cricket and football; and he and his friends found themselves in trouble quite often over these sports. His favourite subject was Biology and though he never studied for than half an hour, he always aced it. However, Science wasn’t his strong point and because he could not master the other Science subjects, Shoghi ended up in the Business stream.
Aside from his mesmerizing voice, the artiste is a pro when it comes to playing the guitar. It comes as a bit of surprise that he is self-taught, having seen his music videos, which many have described as being off-the-charts. Yet, according to him, all he did was to go looking for tips on learning to play the guitar on YouTube and after a few tutorials, he took it from there and never looked back. Apart from knowing to play the guitar, Shoghi can also play the synthesizer, the bass guitar, ukulele and a bit of the drums which he’s still learning to play.
Many of his inspirations are iconic Blues and Rock guitarists inclusive of Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Slash.
“The reason why they were such an inspiration to me is because they were all self-taught guitarists. Each of their slight imperfections in their playing was what made each of their styles so special because it’s from the soul and not from their musical knowledge,” Shoghi said, as he expressed the hope that his unique art of playing the guitar can leave its mark on the world also.
Passionate about his newfound love, the guitarist shared that music allows him to
escape from reality. And though he may be playing the role of a messenger every time he’s a whisper away from the microphone and strumming on or in most cases blazing the strings of his guitar, he becomes the listener sometimes trying to construe what he’s listening to.
“Music is also a message to me and I love the fact that the listener can interpret it the way they want and choose to feel whatever emotion towards it,” he said.
Though Shoghi can give matchless performances onstage he feels more comfortable performing when he’s alone; playing before an audience can be somewhat nerve-wracking at times. Shoghi along with band mate, Ryan Roberts, has performed at a number of open mic events in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Long Beach in California as well as in South Miami, Florida.
Behold the Jury opened for Shal Marshall at last year’s Halloween party at Giftland Mall, for Trinidadian Rock Band Black Rose at Palm Court and for C Fueto (Dutch DJ and Producer) at Magic City Parking Lot. Over the last four years, the band has performed at various events including church fundraisers, pageants, schools and private functions. Together, he and his band mates play a variety of genres – Reggaeton, Pop, Pop Rock, Indie Rock, Reggae, Blues Rock and Oldies.
Asked about naysayers he would have had to deal with, he explained that there were many persons who thought it would be best if he did not take up music because they never saw music as anything that would survive in the real world. Yet, it was this that propelled Shoghi to follow his heart. “Eventually everyone started to come around with the idea but they still have a grain of doubt which is fine. Only I can understand the depth of my love for music,” Shoghi explained.
When asked about the pros and cons of being a musician Shoghi said the pros included being loved and admired, connecting with an audience, sharing one’s deepest emotions with the world, having fun performing, earning a nice dollar and being able to travel the world. He had no cons as he said, “If you love doing music then the cons don’t matter.”
Shoghi doesn’t go into details but said receiving his first guitar was a special moment. He has five guitars now and each time he was given one, “….it was like I was seven years old again finding a new present under the Christmas tree on [Christmas] morning.”
Though the band’s talent and effort are much applauded, Shoghi admitted that one challenge was that much of Guyana’s population seem fixated on Soca, Chutney and Dancehall. Currently, he sees the band’s only way of making it in the music business is to get signed by an overseas-based recording label.
Shoghi is also a songwriter and has written more than 15 songs to date some of which he’s currently working on for another project, as they are not the genres the band would rock. But he has two other songs for the band which were posted on their SoundCloud page – “Drunken Haze” and “What Have You Become”.
Shoghi’s three to six hours a day practice has over time decreased to one to three hours a day. Practice, he admonished, is the key to perfecting one’s talent. The artiste further encouraged those following the musical path to expand their genre library, to experiment with different instruments and to only write music they know they would listen to.
Currently he’s not pursuing any studies but is quite intrigued by psychology and may pursue a degree in this later, though this is still uncertain. However, he is sure that a decade from now he will be having the time of his life being successful in music with a handsome number of followers who appreciate his music.
One thing he has always been intrigued by he admits is how Jesus walked on water. He said he will just have to meet him to find out.
In his downtime, Shoghi likes to play other instruments, write lyrics, research alien anomalies, the simulation theory and food recipes. He enjoys watching movies and football and backs his favourite team Liverpool Football Club from England. When asked what his favourite dishes are, (and he said he can cook them) he listed lasagna, barbecue chicken, creamy shrimp linguine, seafood salad, garden salad, grilled chicken breasts and chicken in black bean sauce.
To see and listen to Shoghi and his bandmates of Behold the Jury, go to YouTube and SoundCloud @ Behold the Jury.
The other members of Behold the Jury are – Ryan Roberts who plays the bass guitar, Ryan Fredericks (drums), Carlos Jerez (vocalist and plays the synthesizer).