My Secret Life: Shaggy, pop star, 42


My parents were... My mum is a rough-necked Jamaican, who would throw their shoe at you in two minutes and bust yo' ass. A very stern Jamaican mum. My father, I didn't know very much.

The house/flat I grew up in... I lived with my mum, but I was always at my grandmother's – she was a softer soul. She taught me to waltz on the veranda and my friends would laugh. But I guess she just wanted to dance.

When I was a child I wanted to... I always wanted to be a fireman. Then I saw King Yellowman perform and I got the music bug. Later I thought: I should have been Hugh Hefner. That would be the perfect job.

If I could change one thing about myself... I wish I wasn't this passionate about music. It's a drawback, because music changes, and sometimes not for the best and you're meant to roll with it even if it's garbage.

You wouldn't know it but I am very good at... art. I paint, I draw, I sketch. I could have gone to art school, but instead I went into the military.

You may not know it but I'm no good at... dancing. There is one move I have, and that's with my pelvis; I've had a lot of practice in that area.

I wish I had never worn... I went climbing the Blue Mountain Peaks and I wore some Timberland boots, thinking I was going for the whole camping thing, dressed to walk, this shit was going on. When I came back down, they were the worst. All the pressure was on your toes, and they're steel-toe capped. I got rid of those bitches after that.

What I see when I look in the mirror... Comedy. I think 'what a joke'.

It's not fashionable but I like... fried stuff. Anything fried tastes really good. In fact anything that's not good for you tastes really good.

My house is... in Jamaica, I have a very traditional home, colonial style, we're talking huge windows, wooden floors, and 11 bathrooms. My latest place is in Miami; it's smaller, there's less furniture, 'cause I kinda got into feng shui. Less is more.

My favourite building... Your Parliament building, it's pretty unique – such attention to detail. The Brits must have really had a lot of time on their hands to do that.

My secret crush is... There are a lot of females that I find very desirable. Jessica Biel, Halle Berry, Nicole Scherzinger – the list goes on and on. I love women, I love what they stand for, their beauty, and that they're passionate about things. Eva Longoria – wow. I thought: 'How shallow!' but then I saw her on the Piers Morgan Show and I realised how much she was doing for good causes. That made me like her. Beauty sometimes comes from within.

Movie heaven... is a shoot 'em up, especially if they're clever with the shooting.

A book that changed me... If you want to hide something from me, put it in a book.

My real-life villains... People who do things they're not passionate about. I'm involved in a lot of charities but at fundraisers you see people who aren't really making a difference – it's just a conversation piece for them. I call them the devil.

The last time I cried... Every time I look at my daughter. I have a six-year-old and I have never experienced love like this.

My life in six words... eventful, exciting, passionate, kind, loving, winning. Always win, darling!

A life in brief

Shaggy was born Orville Richard Burrell in Jamaica in 1968. After moving to New York at 18, he joined the Marines, before returning to Brooklyn where he secured a record deal. His 1993 single "Oh Carolina" was a dancehall-pop crossover hit, and was followed by 1995's chart-topper "Boombastic". In 2001 his album Hot Shot became one of the bestselling reggae albums ever, propelled by the singles "It Wasn't Me" and "Angel". Shaggy is playing at the One Love Peace Festival at Wembley Arena, 31 July. He lives in Jamaica and Miami

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