Shaggy shocks fans by speaking in 'real voice,' shares origin behind signature accent

(U.S. Marine Corps/Getty Images)

"Mr. Boombastic" surprised fans on TikTok after he revealed the story behind his signature voice.

Shaggy, born Orville Richard Burrell, and known for hits such as "Angel" and "It Wasn’t Me," admitted he has played up his Jamaican accent throughout his music career. In the video, fans can hear Shaggy effortlessly switching between his American and Jamaican accents. 

While the Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter was born in Jamaica, he moved to Brooklyn, New York with his mother when he was 18. A short time later, he joined the U.S. Marines

"I got this voice by mocking drill instructions in the military," he explained. "And I would mock them as a form of joking because it motivated your platoon." 

The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed he enlisted in the Marines as an artilleryman in 1988 and was based at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Burrell and his regiment were deployed to the Middle East from December 1990 to April 1991 for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. 

Marine Corps Pvt. Orville Richard Burrell, aka "Shaggy," at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C. in 1988. (Marine Corps)

During his time in the military, authorities said he achieved the highest rank of lance corporal and was discharged from the Marines Corps in 1992. 

The following year, he gained traction in the music industry with the release of his first single "Oh Carolina" when he decided to keep up the accent to remain consistent in his sound. 

"I just sang that song in that voice because it sounded cool and all of a sudden ‘Oh Carolina’ blew up and I’m faced with this situation that I’m going to have to sing every song like that." 

Shaggy won his first Grammy in 1996 for Best Reggae Album for "Boombastic," and won his second in the same category for the album "44/876."

The 55-year-old continues to perform at concerts worldwide.