Out of the shadows: Addison Richardson

Judy Fitzpatrick shines a spotlight on singer Addison Richardson, known as Shadowman to his fans in St Maarten

Addison Richardson. Photograph by Kendall Dupersoy

Addison Richardson, better known as ShadowMan, is emerging into the spotlight, thanks to the sizzling video for his tune “White Line”, which has been heating up the tube on Tempo.

For years ShadowMan, a radio DJ by day and a musician by night, has been entertaining in St Maarten and neighbouring islands – often with his five-member band Home Appliances, performing as the opening act for international artistes as well as at local carnival shows.

He now has his eyes firmly set on going regional. And with the release of his most recent hit “White Line” and a publicity contract with Tempo under way, ShadowMan says there’s no turning back.

Local music enthusiast Rolando Tobias and St Maarten’s tourism director Regina Labega say he brings a refreshing and unique sound to the table.
“He’s definitely our rising star,” says Labega.

Shadowman tags his genre “contemporary Caribbean”, which he says is a combination of calypso, soca, ballads and hip-hop crossover. He writes most of his songs, drawing inspiration from everyday life, and often weaving personal stories into his tunes. He plays the guitar, but says his voice will always be his number one instrument.

With his three young daughters his biggest fans, ShadowMan’s lyrics are always clean and always tell a story.

“I never assassinate people’s characters in my music and I won’t do anything vulgar, because I know kids, including my own, are watching and listening and my kids are my biggest fans,” says ShadowMan, a name that stuck from his early days as a radio DJ.
ShadowMan was drawn to music as a toddler by his grandmother’s singing. At nine he electrified the stage in a school singing competition. He placed among the finalists and won the chance to hone his vocal talents with one of the island’s leading singers, Berklee Music Academy graduate Anastasia Larmonie.

Over the years he has worked with major players in the industry – notables such as Jimmy Cliff, Steel Pulse, and his cousin in neighbouring Anguilla, Bankie Banks.

At 24, he moved to Europe, joined the Dutch army and continued to network, but Dutch music wasn’t really his thing and after 13 years abroad, he jumped on a plane and headed back home in 2000 to return to the stage and hit the studio.

In 2001 he hooked up with Trinidadian producer Pelham Goddard and songwriter Bernard “Preacher” Henry, and spent three years on stage expanding his fan base and spending time in the studio producing local tunes such as “Justice,” “Promises,” “Friendship,” Don’t Sing ‘bout Dat,” and “Four More Years”.

Some of his older local hits and some new releases are included in his just-released album Me and My Music 2, which is expected to get airtime on Tempo. The album includes remixes and collaborations with regional artistes such as Ziggy Ranking, Terry Seales, Bunji Garlin, and Kees Dieffenthaller from Kes the Band.
Since “White Line” became a hit, Shadow Man has been receiving more offers to perform outside St Maarten. In the coming months he will be performing at carnivals around the Caribbean and in North America.

“His style is unique and embraces a wide range of musical genres…[It] is different and a refreshing distraction from most local music, [which] cannot seem to break away from the seasonal Carnival music staple,” says Rolando Tobias, who is a judge, co-ordinator and host of calypso and road march shows, as well as hosting a local music programme for more than 20 years.

He’s impressed by ShadowMan’s drive and determination. “I have seen him struggle, and at times wanting to throw in the towel, as a result of the frustrations of a local artiste trying to break through in a society that doesn’t truly appreciate local talent.

“But at the same time, I have also seen the ShadowMan who would spend his last dime to go the extra mile in trying to realise his dream. These are the qualities that success stories are built on – and ShadowMan is poised to be one of St Maarten’s biggest success stories in music.”

E-mail: rasshadow@hotmail.com