Shavarsh “Shavo” Odadjian is an Armenian-American songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, music producer, and director and editor of music videos who was born in the Soviet Union. He rose to fame as the bassist, singer, and songwriter for the Grammy-winning metal band System of a Down. The group has released five studio albums to far, three of which debuted at the top of the Billboard 200. In addition, he and RZA, the leader of the Wu-Tang Clan, created the side project AcHoZeN. The ensemble provided a handful of songs for the film “Babylon A.D,” for which Shavo, RZA, and Hans Zimmer also did the musical scoring. In addition to participating in prominent events like the Rock/DJ Explosion in Hollywood, Shavo is a well-known DJ in Los Angeles. Additionally, he oversees production for the band Onesidezero. He has used cutting-edge filmmaking techniques to direct System of a Down and Taproot music videos. Additionally, Shavo Odadjian is an enthusiastic painter whose works have appeared in numerous music videos and live performances by his band. His paintings are abstract in form and use vibrant, strong colors that blend together.
Early Childhood & Life
On April 22, 1974, in Yerevan, Armenia (then a part of the Soviet Union), Shavarsh Odadjian was born. He was reared by his grandmother after moving to Los Angeles when he was a small child.
He went to Alex Pilibos Elementary School in Los Angeles, a parochial Armenian school. Daron Malakian and Serj Tankian, two future bandmates, attended the same university as him. He majored in psychology in college.
He spent most of his adolescence skateboarding and listening to heavy metal and punk rock music. He attributes his musical growth and career to Dead Kennedys, KISS, Slayer, The Beatles, and Black Sabbath.
Shavo Odadijan’s Career
Shavo Odadjian joined the band Soil in 1993 as the manager while still a college student and worked part-time in a bank. He had met the band’s members Daron Malakian and Serj Tankian at a studio, and they had asked him to help them.
As the group’s bassist in 1994, he changed the name of the group to System of a Down in honor of a poem by Daron. They also employed Velvet Hammer Music to do managerial duties.
Shavo performs live backing vocals in addition to playing bass in the group. His songwriting credits for the band include “Toxicity,” “Sugar,” “Jet Pilot,” “Bounce,” “Mind,” “Dreaming,” and “U-Fig.” In addition to designing the stage and lighting for the band’s live concerts, he has directed the majority of their music videos.
The band’s debut album, “System of a Down,” was released in June 1998 and was only moderately successful. In November, the group received credit for writing the music for the South Park song “Will They Die 4 You?” on the album “Chef Aid.” The band’s song “Snowblind” was included on the Black Sabbath tribute album “Nativity in Black 2” in 2000.
On September 4, 2001, the band issued their second studio album, “Toxicity,” which had elements of folk, progressive metal, progressive rock, jazz, Middle Eastern music, and Greek music.
Their third album, “Mezmerize,” which was both critically and commercially successful, was released on May 17, 2005. Sales soared to over 800,000 copies worldwide in the first week. On November 22, 2005, they released their fourth album, “Hypnotize,” which was likewise successful. Between 2006 and 2010, System of a Down took a break from music to work on secondary projects.
Shavo Odadjian, RZA, the leader of the Wu-Tang Clan, and Kinetic 9, a member of Killarmy, formed the musical group AcHoZeN in May 2006. Despite the fact that the band’s debut album has been finished for a while, it hasn’t yet been published because of Shavo’s obligations to System of a Down, who reunited in November 2010 and began touring for the following three years.
AcHoZeN published a digital album of eight tracks that were recorded over the previous few years in July 2015. Two singles from the group—”Deuces” and “Salute/Sacrifice”—have been made available. The action/sci-fi blockbuster movie “Babylon A.D.” used “Deuces.”
Shavo’s Other Initiatives
Shavo Odadjian launched Ursession in 2008 with the intention of uniting musicians from diverse genres and styles from around the world on one platform. Our session kicked things off by announcing “The 100K Battle,” an online competition in which the musician receiving the most community votes would also win various prizes in addition to a round-trip flight to Los Angeles to perform on Power 106’s The World-Famous Wake-Up Show.
He has performed on occasions like Rock/DJ Explosion at The Roxy in Hollywood in 2001. He is a well-known DJ in Los Angeles. He joined Clinton for a live guitar performance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in September 2008. He also made an appearance on George Clinton and His Gangsters of Love, an album released in 2008.
Shavo’s Bigger Works
Over 40 million albums have been sold by the group System of a Down, and their tracks “Aerials” and “Hypnotize” peaked at number one on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart. From their debut album, the singles “Sugar” and “Spiders,” as well as the accompanying music videos, quickly rose to the top of the radio charts.
Their second album, “Toxicity,” debuted at the top of the charts in the US and Canada and eventually received three times the platinum certification. Over 12 million copies have been sold worldwide. On MTV, the second song, “Toxicity,” was often aired. The song “Toxicity” was ranked number 14 on VH1’s list of the 40 Greatest Metal Songs in May 2006.
Mesmerize, their third album, debuted at number one in numerous nations, including the US, Canada, Australia, and others. B.Y.O.B., a song that challenges the legitimacy of military recruitment in America, peaked at number one on the Billboard Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock charts. The music video for the tune “Question!” was co-directed by Shavo.
System of a Down joined The Beatles, Guns N’ Roses, rappers 2Pac and DMX, and others who have had two studio albums debut at number one in the same year when their album, “Hypnotize,” also debuted at number one in the US.
Recognition & Achievements
System of a Down, Shavo Odadjian’s band, has received multiple Grammy Award nominations. Its song “Chop Suey,” it received a Grammy Award nomination in 2002 for Best Metal Performance. The next year, “Aerials” received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance.
The group received the Europe Music Award for Best Alternative Act in 2005. The song “B.Y.O.B.” finally received the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2006. The song “Question!” won the MTV Good Woodie Award the same year.
System of a Down’s song “Lonely Day” received another Grammy Award nomination in 2007 for Best Hard Rock Performance.
For his remarkable work as a role model for young Armenian-Americans, Odadjian was given the AGBU’s GenNEXT Community Hero Award in February 2009.
In 2009, Shavo Odadjian wed a woman by the name of Sonia.
He is also a human rights activist who has demonstrated against crimes against humanity. He actively participates in charitable activities to fund research for children with cancer and mentors young people.
He plays Warwick basses, Music Man StingRays, Ibanez BTB bass guitars, Gibson Thunderbird basses, and Fender Jazz Basses.
Estimated Net Worth
Shavo Odadjian is a $20 million-dollar-rich American-Armenian songwriter, musician, music video director, music producer, and artist. In April 1974, Shavo Odadjian was born in Yerevan, Armenia, Soviet Union.
He is primarily recognized for his work as System of a Down’s bassist and backup singer. Three of System of a Down’s five albums debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart after the group’s 1994 formation.