Community & Current Events

Shad: An interview with the new host of 'Q'

By: Jill Buchner

Courtesy CBC Author: Canadian Living Credits: Courtesy CBC

Community & Current Events

Shad: An interview with the new host of 'Q'

By: Jill Buchner
He's gone from Juno-award-winning hip-hop artist to high-profile radio host, but Shad is always humble. We sat down with the new voice of the CBC radio arts program Q to talk about his first few months on the job and how he simply wants to "get better."

Canadian Living: Now that you've been hosting Q for a few months, what's the best part of the job?
Shad: The job is just so interesting. It's non-stop learning and anticipation and intense conversation. It's a roller coaster every day.

CL: You've been a performer for quite a while. What's it like being on the other side of the conversation now that you're interviewing other performers?
S: It's an interesting challenge. There's a performative aspect that's the same, except it's a different kind of performance that requires you to have that energy at 9 a.m. Otherwise, though, there's something very natural about talking to people. There's a lot of nuance to being good at it, but fundamentally it's what we do as human beings.

CL: You get exposed to a lot of different kinds of artists on Q. Will that inspire you to go in different directions with your own music?
S: I am learning so much I'm not sure how it couldn't affect my music. But at the same time, what I've done musically throughout my career has always been essentially the same, so I don't anticipate that changing too much. I don't think I'll suddenly become a pop star. I try to grow and change as much as the next guy, but I think I pretty early stumbled upon what's essential to me as a rapper, and that's stayed the same.

CL: What makes Q uniquely Canadian?
S: There's something exceptionally Canadian that inspires the whole thing. We're all pretty strongly committed to our country's artists and making sure they get a platform on the show, but we do have guests from all over. I think there is something very Canadian even in the weird way we slap it all together. Sometimes the range of an episode just makes me laugh. We can have the most serious conversation about neo-Nazism, and then the next guest will be the guy from Two and a Half Men. I think there's something very Canadian about that. These things are not that incongruous to us. It's all part of one conversation.

CL: Being a Canadian artist yourself, is there something special for you about getting to support other artists in this country?
S: Yes, but it's not just about supporting the artists. It's about being a part of this conversation that goes across the country—from Cape Breton to downtown Toronto to the West Coast. It's sort of unifying. There's an opportunity for everyone in the whole country to find themselves represented in the show and connect to it. It feels nice to be a part of a conversation that includes everyone.

CL: Do you think Canadians are looking for something different in arts and culture coverage than our American neighbours?
S: Yes, 100 percent. We're less celebrity obsessed and we're less celebrity impressed. Canadians want good things, not just famous things. That feels nice—to be the host of a show like Q and to know we don't need to chase whoever the latest superstar is. We need to chase good things. That's what Canadians like about the show.

CL: What's been the coolest moment at Q so far?
S: That's hard to answer because there are cool moments all the time. Yesterday, for example, I was sitting across from David Suzuki. There's this anxiety and anticipation beforehand; you have to prepare. Then you start talking and there's a moment where you go, I've totally forgotten that this is David Suzuki. We're just talking and I'm learning and enjoying it. Those moments happen almost every day.

CL: What are you looking forward to in the coming year?
S: I'm mostly looking forward to getting better—better in every sense: understanding the show better, understanding my role better. Then things will get more comfortable, but also I'll be able to contribute more. That's what I'm most looking forward to.

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Shad: An interview with the new host of 'Q'

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