Shaboozey knows he doesn’t look or sound like the typical country music artist — and that’s okay. His goal was never to be boxed into a genre but to simply make music. 

“I’ve always been somebody who wants to show people that it’s other people that look like you in other genres and other spaces,” he told Blavity in a recent interview. 

Born Collins Chibueze, the Fairfax, VA native, has had his boots to the ground in the entertainment industry since 2014. He grew up listening to various music artists and genres that influenced his overall style. Artists from Ja Rule and Jennifer Lopez to Kenny Rogers impacted him, and of course, J-Kwon, whose 2004 “Tipsy” hit inspired Shaboozey’s No. 1 single, “A Bar Song.”

“A lot of it just came from being from Virginia,” he said about his upbringing influencing his creative range. “If you look at artists like Pharrell, who’s eclectic as hell, he got into so many different pockets. I think I’m the same. I’m just super creative. Super artistic. I have a lot of ideas. I’ve always been a fan of different artists and different genres of music of people who don’t look like me.”

He was also inspired by his Nigerian parents, who were avid music lovers and allowed him to explore genres. He recalled noticing that his current style of belt buckles and cowboy boots reminded him of his father.

“I look back at pictures and think, ‘Ahh, I’m becoming my dad.’ I need to switch this up,” he joked. 

Shaboozey’s musical style has evolved over the years but has always remained within his own world of singing, rapping and storytelling. At a young age, he learned to embrace his uniqueness by witnessing a friend embrace his love for Prince to the point of dressing and doing his hair like the late legend.

“He had his own thing going on. And I really wanted to figure out what that was for myself, just seeing somebody unapologetically being inspired by whatever inspires them,” he said.

Shaboozey released his first single, “Jeff Gordon,” in 2014 and gained mainstream exposure in 2018 with the single “Start a Riot” featuring Duckworth from the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse soundtrack. 

His sophomore album, 2022’s Cowboys Live Forever, Outlaws Never Die, piqued the interest of listeners who wanted more.

Two years later, Shaboozey was featured not once but twice on one of the most transformative albums of this generation: Beyoncé’s Cowboy CarterThe trap-country tracks “Spaghetti” and “SWEET ★ HONEY ★ BUCKIIN” were the perfect songs to display his talents, but he revealed there could have been more.

“It could have been three, to tell you the truth, maybe more,” he revealed. 

He mentions that he “wrote” another song Queen Bey passed on before the album was released. 

“I love that song. Anyone I played that song was like, ‘Wow, like that song is incredible,’ but they passed on it. Maybe timing or something,” he said.

Regardless of what tracks made it onto Cowboy Carter, Shaboozey said being included was a “dream come true” and validation of what he’s been doing all these years.

“I’ve been doing a lot of this by myself with no real features or real big cosigns,” he said. “So, to get a cosign from the biggest artist in the world was a dream come true. And I felt like I did my thing on the features too.” 

Shaboozey is not taking the push of the “Beyoncé Effect” for granted. His music has been introduced to a new audience of fans and supporters, whom he welcomes with open arms. “A Bar Song” has snagged the No. 1 position on Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart and Apple’s Top Country Songs. He’s headlining some of this year’s largest festivals, including Stagecoach and Outside Land. 

He’s gearing up to release his newest project, Where I’ve Been, Isn’t Where I’m Going, due in May, and is excited to show his fans all facets of him.

“It’s going to be very eclectic. It will have some fun poppy sogs on there, but some of are very serious and talking about some truths,” he teased.

He added, “Some of those truths are kind of dark.”

Shaboozey is ready to show new and old fans what he’s made of — his creativity, versatility and commitment to self. Just don’t ask him to do any line dances.

He laughed as he said, “I’m 6’4. I’m not doing that.”