Shaun Escoffery has been thrilling West End audiences with his powerful and soulful voice since he was a teenager. Holding the prestigious role of Mufasa in The Lion King for the past 12 years (the longest-standing actor in the world to do so), Shaun has been championed by SirElton John and childhood friend Idris Elba, becoming one of the most recognisable voices in the country.
Today, Shaun announces the release of his brand-new track ‘River’, which appears on his new album ‘Strong Enough’, out on Decca Records on 3rd April 2020.
Featuring gritty guitar riffs, gospel inflections and a driving rhythm, Shaun’s irresistible voice soars high above the instrumentation as he sings about the universal issues that make us human. Speaking about the track, Shaun said: “River is a metaphor for life’s troubles, and life (the river) can be overwhelming. Sometimes the current is so strong that you lose grip and it starts to suck you under. It can be confusing and leave you feeling an all-consuming helplessness. The song is saying don’t keep thoughts and feelings to yourself – share your feelings and problems. Whether that’s with friends, family or a spiritual outlet, don’t face your problems alone.”
‘River’ is just one of the many moments of pure bliss on ‘Strong Enough’. Shaun describes the dozen songs on his new album – produced by Troy Miller (Gregory Porter, Amy Winehouse), with four songs produced by Peter Vettese (Pet Shop Boys, Cher) – as soulful: “There’s a little bit folk, slightly rocky, blues, but the essence is soulful.”
Throughout his album, Shaun aims to fight the stereotypes associated with toxic masculinity by showing both strength and sensitivity in his music in equal amounts. He explains: “I grew up practising boxing and martial arts, which is an arena where strength, courage and machismo are encouraged. Where it becomes distorted is when a man is defined by these attributes alone.
As I have got older and matured as a performer, the internal battle of wanting to express myself through words and music contrasted with not wanting to come across as ‘weak’ has lessened. Men don’t tend to put our feelings down on paper, but I’m writing using my real feelings and real emotions. By opening ourselves up to show that vulnerability, that’s where we demonstrate our real strength.”