When it comes to certain aspects of life, many of us will settle. But for Canadian artist Tyler Shaw, this isn’t an option. Dropping his third studio album last week, the artist reveals every part of himself across a backdrop of emotional-driven productions and upbeat dance-worthy bops. Signaling the start of a new era on the project, the artist put his lyrical prowess at the forefront of the album as he intimately connects with his listeners of various singles. Offering his support to listeners in the form of music, Shaw continues to offer security through his warming lyricism and tones, while still developing and evolving his sound.
“I think the album, sonically, lyrically and creatively reflects all of the different facets of me and where I am in my life right now,” Shaw revealed. “I felt completely liberated in the studio mixing pop, dance, and rock elements and feel that these are the best songs I have ever written. They are the ones that took the most self-reflection and are the absolute best representation of me and my growth as a songwriter.
Working with the likes of Nate Ferrero, Jon Levine and Mike Sonier for the project, we see an 11-track collection that puts out the most authentic version of Shaw yet, and he’s not stopping there. Catching up with us digitally, the artist talks us through his ongoing journey of self-discovery, tapping into raw emotions and why this album feels like it’s his debut.
Check out the album and interview below now…
Hey Tyler, how are you? How has this past year been for you?
I’ve been doing really well, remaining cautiously optimistic. This past year has been a rollercoaster of emotions. Everyone has faced their share of challenges over the past year or two, and for me I am super grateful for my family, friends, and team for keeping me afloat and focused. Before the pandemic emerged, I had already begun working on my new album. As things unfolded, I grew a bit worried as I watched the world shut down. I had to adjust to finding inspiration working from my basement home studio and doing virtual writing sessions with perfect strangers. I think the silver lining was that most of us creatives were in the same boat and it opened up some new opportunities to me with writers and producers I had really wanted to work with on this project who otherwise may have been busy and booked.
With everything that happened last year, was your creativity affected?
I think at first it was really difficult to adjust to because I feed off of creative energy and chemistry with other writers, producers and creatives in the studio. I’ve never had any issue writing songs on my own, but I generally write in small teams or duos so executing that virtually felt like a bit of a hump to get over. Working from home, with family at home at the same time, can be a challenge because creatively I mentally and physically go to a different space and now I was juggling home life with work life all in the same square footage. I eventually caught a stride and I think a lot of that can be accredited to my daughter who was born late last year. That was the inspiration and kept me, in some way, disciplined to finish this new album.
How did you first get into music, what sparked the interest?
My mom was a piano teacher when I was growing up in Vancouver. Music was all around me, as were sports and extracurricular activities. My family was always active or doing something. We didn’t sit around and watch TV much, we were outside doing things or inside learning new things. I naturally gravitated towards the guitar and started writing songs in my room after school. In hindsight they were awful, but you have to start somewhere, and it became a passion of mine. Once I hit high school and started falling in love, lyrics and song ideas came to me a little more naturally. I learned that my voice and a guitar could really impress girls, so whenever I wasn’t playing soccer, I was playing in a band with my older brother Matt and a few of our friends.
You’re from Canada, which has a huge music scene, where are you from, and do you think your area impacted your sound?
I feel like Canadians really take pride in the successes of Canadian artists; I know I do. I always thought it was so cool to know artists like Michael Bublé or Nelly Furtado were from BC, where I was from. It made things feel a little more achievable. Michael (Bublé) in particular was an inspiration for me in high school. I was impressed and maybe even a little infatuated with his crooner style and how smooth he was, and I wanted to be like that. I always felt like there were such unique voices and artists coming out of Canada and that impacted my artistry and sound to a degree. It was all about finding my own voice and following through with that.
And now you’ve just dropped your third album, going into it, what was your mindset?
Elevate. That is always the goal with a new project but particularly with this third album. On my debut album, I was still “green” and fairly new to everything, so I was figuring out myself as an artist and as a person. I was young! On my sophomore album I came into myself a bit more and was a bit more confident in my decisions and in trusting my intuition (hence the album name). On this third album I really aimed to elevate my sound, my musicianship, the production and create something that was authentic, vulnerable but also had some international appeal and that could speak to people around the world. I’ve had great success in Canada, but I really want my music to continue breaking beyond the borders of my own backyard. I worked with some incredible songwriters and producers on this project and they all contributed to my vision.
It’s self-titled as well, why did you decide to do this?
In some ways, I’m treating this like my debut album and feel it’s time to introduce myself to the rest of the world. I think the album, sonically, lyrically and creatively reflects all of the different facets of me and where I am in my life right now. I felt completely liberated in the studio mixing pop, dance, and rock elements and feel that these are the best songs I have ever written. They are the ones that took the most self-reflection and are the absolute best representation of me and my growth as a songwriter. If I were to choose a song from the tracklisting and name my album that, I felt like people would really only focus on that particular song or the album’s singles.
You said you’re treating this like your first album, why is this?
I never like to settle. I’m always challenging myself personally, professionally and creatively. While I’m grateful for my success in Canada, this is really my first musical offering on an international or global scale. I was given the incredible opportunity of this career almost 10 years ago and only now am I the artist that I want to be and share with the world. You’ll see a lot of artists, especially in the pop genre, come and go because they have a big hit or two and then can never follow it up or try to make music that feels more authentically them after a commercial hit, and they lose their audience or support from media and labels for taking chances. It’s a tough business so I chose to take the slow and steady route with it. I’m in the marathon race, not the sprint. I carefully chose writers and producers who have in different ways inspired and challenged me during this process so that I could create an album with universal themes and subject matter.
Looking back on the project, what song means the most to you?
I always love that first week of an album being out when you get to see what songs people gravitate towards. It’s so interesting to read the comments and hear what a specific song might mean to them versus when I wrote it or what it meant to me. Once you press that proverbial “release” button your stories, your songs, your ideas and your art become everyone else’s. There’s a pop ballad on the new album that I think means the most, called ‘Worse For Me’. I think people know me as the pop ballad guy, but this song takes a bit of a different approach lyrically. I write a lot about being in love and that honeymoon phase of love, but this song is a bit of a different perspective. It’s the aftermath of a breakup and a self-reflexive moment of “how did we get here?”. I’ve noticed many of my fans are already connecting with that one and I would say that one is really special to me.
What do you want people to take away from your music?
Ultimately, I just want people to feel something, whether that be happiness or sadness or anything between. Even if it’s hatred (laughs), my music is meant to not only be heard or seen but felt. It’s an experience. I like to describe the album as one of those front to back records you can put on and take a musical journey of emotion – a spectrum of feelings. That’s life, and that’s what I write about.
Who are your inspirations?
Musically, I would say I have 3 key influences: John Mayer, Justin Timberlake and Michael Bublé. John Mayer is an incredible musician and I love seeing him captivate audiences with just his guitar skills. He taught me guitar, because I listened to her records endlessly. I think Justin Timberlake is one of the most extraordinary talents and entertainers. I fell in love with his solo music when I was in high school. I was more of a BSB fan (laughs) but Justin’s solo work is amazing and I really appreciate his songwriting. I look to his old performances for inspiration for my own live set when I get too comfortable standing behind an acoustic guitar in my show for too long. Justin really helped boost my confidence as an artist on stage without any instruments and just a vocal mic. Finally, Michael Bublé has that smooth, charismatic personality both on and off stage that I try to emulate. I would love to have a career like his. He’s a star and will continue to be for years to come.
What’s next for you? What are you most excited for?
Next is working on more music – always. I am most excited about creating a live show and finally going on tour when it’s safe to do so. More specifically, I cannot wait to tour across Europe, Asia, Australia and the USA. Everywhere, really. I feel bottled up and am about to burst with music and performance. I’ve had a lot of time to think about the type of show I want to share, the musicians, the colors, the outfits, the set. It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve toured and I need to get out and connect with fans, perform, entertain and bask in that energy!