Sugar Shane - an exclusive interview

12 December 2023
Tall white male wearing a black t-shirt and black shorts standing on a stage with a mic in his hand.

Meet Sugar Shane, the first Romany Rapper at Glastonbury 2023, the largest greenfield music and performance arts festival in the world.

My name is Shane Eastwood, aka, Sugar Shane. I am 30 years old from London, Feltham. Music first came into my life when I was younger, around 13, when I used to go over to Epsom site to see my Granny. On the site my cousins would play rave CDs and MCs Rapping on the Mix CDs and I took a liking to it. I would pester for CDs and they would tell me how good it was to go raving up North in the clubs, and that’s when I thought I would love to be a MC one day and host a crowd on a mic livening up the raves, thinking what a buzz that would be.

A white male, Sugar Shane, is on a stage facing his audience. The dark crowd is lit by LED lights, blue, yellow, and red

That’s when I would start rapping a few silly little rhymes, and people used to laugh at me in school making fun of me. As the years went by I used to keep doing it for fun thinking I could MC. I carried on listening to other MCs/rappers music, and on the weekend I’d go to Staines on a Sunday and have a MC battle for a laugh with the boys in the car park for a bit of fun. They would always know me as Sugar Shane, as that was the nickname I got from my old boxing coach Johnny Edwards in Guildford years ago.

I got married in 2011, still trying to spit a few rhymes. I would bump into my other Gypsy mates and they would say to me, ‘surely Shane your still not MCing, you’re a married man now’ – basically trying to tell me to grow up!

A white male, Sugar Shane, rapping into a mic and pointing with his finger. He is standing on a sheltered stage, it is night time.

Few years went by again and that’s when my career started in 2014. I met a DJ who is a friend and he took me on a pirate music station and he saw potential in me. He would tell me how to write to music and that’s when I started writing over garage and house beats. I would travel with him playing in clubs when he was booked.

I kept a low profile in the garage/house scene because I thought some people don’t like Gypsies and thought letting them know that I’m a Gypsy wouldn’t do me any favours for my music career.

Me and my wife went to Spain in 2019 and we made friends with the famous Facebook stars, The Bald Builders. I spoke to one of The Bald Builders, Brad, and I told him I was a Traveller and do music. He asked me, ‘do you ever class yourself as a Gypsy MC when you rap?’ I said no, because I thought it would affect my music career. He told me to not worry about the people and be myself. That’s when I came right out of my shell as the real Sugar Shane.

The row of young adults at the front of a crowd wearing festival clothes. The Romani Flag flies in the background

A year later I was doing Gypsy rap Freestyle in the car park hitting over 1.5 million views on Youtube. After that, I left the rave scene and started a music career as a rapper being myself, representing my Gypsy background and I now get more love and respect for being myself in life.

Now I have built up a fan base for Gypsies and Gorgers, who support me and show so much love for my music. They motivate me to make more music so that’s what keeps me going. It means everything to me representing my background and am very proud person to say I’m the first Gypsy rapper to hit Glastonbury. What a big achievement that was for me and the crowd was unbelievable!

A white male, Sugar Shane, stands on the edge of a stage performing to an unseen crowd. A red and yellow lit ferris wheel is in the background.

I have lots more music releases to come and look forward to releasing them. I aspire to be hitting bigger stages, concerts and more festivals and to bring more success in music to provide for my wife and two sons, giving them the best and making lots of memories spending loads of family time together.

God bless everyone, I wish you all the luck in the world. Go and chase your dreams and don’t let anyone stop you.

A night picture from the crowd watching a white male, Sugar Shane, performing on a stage. There are two blue overlapping stage lights.

Check out Sugar Shane's music on Youtube, Spotify and Apple Music.


Interview by Liza Mortimer

Photos from Sugar Shane's performance at The Unfairground at Glastonbury 2023 © Bela Varadi