Las Vegas' Shamir evokes '90s house, pop, and R&B with his unique sound, which is further distinguished by a tenor voice so piercing that it flirts with falsetto. Growing up in the city's Northtown area, Shamir Bailey listened to music ranging from rock to jazz and found inspiration in his songwriter aunt. After getting a guitar from his mother, he taught himself to play it (albeit upside down). With his friend Christina Thompson, Bailey formed the indie pop duo Anorexia, who released the 2013 EP Bedroom Songs and also played South by Southwest. He also began writing songs with dance beats, and sent some of his work to writer/producer Nick Sylvester, who helped shape Shamir's new approach into pulsing yet affecting songs that drew favorable comparisons to the likes of Grace Jones and the DFA Records roster. The first fruit of their collaboration, "If It Wasn't True," arrived in February 2014 via Sylvester's God Mode label. That June saw the release of the Northtown EP, which included that song as well as a cover of Canadian country singer Lindi Ortega's "Lived and Died Alone." Shamir signed to XL soon after the EP arrived, and released his breakthrough single "On the Regular" -- a cheeky mix of house and hip-hop that he wrote within minutes -- in October. His debut album, Ratchet, arrived in May 2015.