10 Questions with ... Shawn Hook
January 19, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
When was the time you heard the sound of your heart beating? For newly signed Hollywood Records recording artist, SHAWN HOOK, it's literally happened millions of times already. With the U.S. release of his hit single, "Sound of Your Heart," Hook has already gone Platinum in his native Canada and garnered over 2 million (and counting) online views of the video for the video.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Shawn started his musical journey as an emotive, soulful singer. With an innate talent for music, he picked up piano, guitar, bass and trombone as well. Shawn's music showcases his heartfelt sensibility for writing songs that reveal the poignant complexities of heartbreak and relationships. His live performances are equally as impressive, showing his impressive depth and vocal range ... so impressive that Hook was nominated for a Juno Award as a Breakthrough Artist.
1) What's on the agenda today besides our interview?
I'm doing great. I'm currently being domestic. I just moved into a new spot in L.A. on New Year's Day and I've been trying to get settled in between sessions and promo dates. After our interview, I'm going to Venice to write with Ammar Malik for my upcoming album.
2) For those who are not familiar with you and your music, how did you get your start? Who or what was the catalyst for you to want to live the life of a musical gypsy?
I was lucky enough to get into music at a young age. My parents put me into piano lessons when I was four. I continued playing piano throughout high school and joined various bands (jazz band, concert band, cover bands etc.). Music was always a passion, but I never thought I'd be fortunate enough to pursue it as a career. I actually went to college for Geological Engineering. In those two years at school, my passion for music overshadowed anything else in my life and I eventually left school to pursue music full-time. I had a lot of great mentors who helped me along the way and I'm very thankful for their support and encouragement.
3) A big congrats are in order as your new single, "Sound Of Your Heart," recently broke 10 million streams (and counting) on Spotify and has already gone Platinum in your native Canada! That's awesome! How did that song come about? What was the inspiration there?
Thank you so much! I was very excited when "Sound Of Your Heart" was certified Gold in Canada! At that point, that was my biggest achievement. When it went Platinum, I couldn't believe it! I was equally impressed with breaking 10 million streams on Spotify. The song itself is about losing someone and wanting to make it right, even though the chances are slim.
4) Who have been your inspirations growing up who also inspire you today?
I grew up listening to a lot of classics. The Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Elton John, Elvis Presley, Prince, Queen and U2. Radiohead was a big inspiration for me when I was in college. Coldplay, Bryan Adams, John Mayer, Eminem and Michael Jackson were also big inspirations and most of these artists continue to inspire me.
5) Your music showcases a heartfelt sensibility for writing songs that reveal the poignant complexities of heartbreak and relationships. What is your songwriting process like? How do you capture inspiration as it comes to you?
When I first started playing piano, I was learning other peoples music; mostly classical. I discovered early on that I preferred to improvise music rather than try and interpret someone else. I liked improvising so much because it allowed me to get my emotions out.
I'll sit at a piano for half-hour to an hour just playing and improvising. A lot of times I'll get little musical ideas from these extended jams. Once I have a musical vibe, I'll get into melodies and start singing jibberish. The fibers of the song are usually somewhere in the jibberish. After that, writing becomes deciphering the jibberish code and putting the pieces together with proper song structure. Lyrics usually come last for me. I need to feel the musical tone before I'm able to produce a lyric.
6) What was the first album you bought for yourself?
My first album that I bought, that I probably asked my mom to buy ... was Bad by Michael Jackson. I remember hearing a Michael Jackson song in kindergarten and I was hooked. I had a Sony Walkman. At the time, most kids were jealous of my tape collection. Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer, C + C Music Factory and The New Kids on the Block were in heavy rotation!
7) What was the first song you fell in love with and why?
This is a tough question. I'm trying to recall the first. The very first? It was probably "You are My Sunshine." The live version, sung by my late grandfather. He would always play guitar for us when we were kids and that was the most requested, hands down.
8) Who would you love to collaborate with in the future? (Songwriter, fellow musician, producer etc.)
I have a big list of writers and producers I'd love to write with including: Sia Fuller, Eminem, Max Martin, Jeff Bhasker, Greg Kursten, Adele, Ryan Tedder, Shellback, Benny Blanco, Cirkit, Dr. Luke, Skrillex and Zedd.
9) Who is on your current playlist? What artists or bands are in current rotation for you?
- BORNS "Electric Love"
- Rudimental ft Ed Sheeran "Lay It All On Me"
- Labrynith "Let It Be"
- Big Grams "Goldmine Junkie"
- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis "Growing Up"
- James Bay "Let It Go"
- DJ Snake "Middle" ft. Bipolar Sunshine
- Sevdaliza "That Other Girl"
- RAC " Let Go"
- Big Data "Dangerous" (Oliver Remix)
- Years & Years "Desire"
10) What's on tap next? What are you most excited about for this year?
I'm really excited to get my dining table set put together. (laughs) Besides that, I can't wait to hit the road and introduce my music to America and the rest of the world in 2016.
For the first part of the year, I'm looking forward to some great writing and recording sessions for my next album. At the end of January I'll be performing on Live with Kelly and Michael. It'll be my first national television performance. I hope the momentum continues so I can perform on some bigger stages and tour the world. For now, I'm just focusing on my career one day at a time.
Special thanks to All Access' Nicole DeRosa who conducted the interview with Shawn Hook.