Interview: Tyler Shaw


Canadian singer and songwriter Tyler Shaw, 27, never considered music as a fruitful career. Wanting to pursue football professionally, he never saw himself as a pop star. Almost accidentally, he decided to abandon the ball and hold the microphone. “I felt passionate about creating music for others, and I decided that I loved it too much to not give it a good shot,” he says. 

Tyler started writing music when he was 13 years old. Not knowing that he could make a professional career out of it, he played and wrote music as an escape from reality. “If I was falling in love or I went through a hard time I was able to just pour all my feelings and frustrations into music,” he says. “Whenever I played music, I went into this different world and it is all about the feeling.”

The possibility of becoming a professional singer began to take shape when he first competed in a national music competition. “I ended up submitting a few songs into the contest and out of 300,000 people here in Canada I ended up winning the whole thing,” Tyler says. He then got the opportunity to sign a contract with Sony Music.  

His first ever single ‘Kissed Goodnight’ ended up Platinum shortly after its release. It was 2012, and it was just the beginning of a promising musical career. “I released two albums since then and I got the third one coming up this summer. I feel very fortunate,” says Tyler. 

Getting into the industry almost by luck, Tyler found it hard to keep up with the pressure. “The industry it is extremely tough to always push and prove yourself. Everyone expects you to release a song or album that is always better than the previous one,” he says. In a constantly changing industry, to be on the same wave as the world and staying true to one’s music can be difficult. 

“You could think that you wrote the best song in your entire life, but you have to pay attention to the industry and the public because they might not have that same impression and feel the same way,” he says. “But when it comes to writing music the way I approach it is just creating an honest relatable space. Chances are that if it is relatable to you, someone else is going to feel the same way,” Tyler says. 

Growing up, Tyler was nurtured by different musical influences creating the musical palette he presents today. Passing through different musical stages from rock with RATM to John Mayer or Michael Bublé’s acoustic guitar, he has become incredibly versatile. “I like to blend all of this different stuff to create my major inspiration,” he says. 

Tyler focuses on the empathy behind his songs and the connection he can achieve thanks to the purity of the feeling he represents. “My music is raw and honest, a story to relate to. But it is also fun to listen to,” he says. “The stable of my music is my voice and I feel like I have a very unique voice, and none sounds like an I do.”

His success with his fans has led him to tour with international pop stars like Selena Gomez. “That was a really fun time. It was cool to be with someone who had the experience that I lacked,” he says. “The biggest thing I learned from her was that you are nothing without your fans, playing it simple. They make you who you are. You wouldn’t be here today without people loving your music and listening to it.”

Tyler Shaw uses social media almost as a direct bridge to his fans’ hearts. Not only does he share his musical work but also little pieces of his personal life. “It is important to make your fans feel closer to you. I am pretty open with musicality and home life because that’s basically who I am, a normal guy who loves music,” he says. 

Those virtual connections have been especially important during the lockdown and like many other artists, Tyler has had to mentally and physically adjust to the new normal. “The way I did it was just taking time for myself. Taking time to breathe and be in tune with me and my wife and it was such a beautiful thing to blossom from just being at home,” he says. 

But the pandemic has also been a reason for artists to come together for the first time in years and give the virtual audience great collaborations. Tyler Shaw has been praised for collaborating with artists such as Justin Bieber, Avril Lavigne, Michael Bublé or Brian Adams to cover ‘Lean on Me’. “I was putting vocal stands from people around the world and Avril Lavigne produced the track. It was a great thing to be a part of,” he says. “The beautiful thing about this song is that all the profits go directly to Canada Red Cross for their Covid-relief project.” 

The recently launched single ‘North Star’ has also received great acclaim from his fans. In contrast with Tyler’s previous ballad songs, it is an energetic almost running song that resonates with everyone. “‘North Star’ is grown up, it is probably the most mature music I have done,” he says. “I am very proud of it. It is about always having someone you can depend on metaphorically speaking.”

Tyler Shaw looks forward to performing life again and touch one more time the hearts of hundreds of fans. Meanwhile, his songs continue to conquer the hearts of many. “I want my new fans to know that I am here for them in a musical way whatever you are going through your life. If you are going through the catalogue of my songs, you will find a song that will help you through it,” he says.

Interview conducted by Salma Ouaguira

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