For Tyler Shaw, the success of a song is measured by how readily his growing audience can find their own experiences reflected in it. “I want to make music that’s relatable; the kind of songs that make you say ‘that’s exactly what I’m feeling right now.’ If people can make that personal connection, immediately, I’ve done my job.”
It’s fair to say the 22-year-old, Toronto-based singer/songwriter is off to a great start. Thanks to the strength of his 2012 debut single “Kiss Goodnight,” Shaw’s become a rising star in the Canadian pop scene. Co-written with Stephen Kozmeniuk (Madonna, Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj) and Todd Clark (Phillip Phillips, Tim Hicks), the song garnered some major accolades in the music industry. The catchy pop track received a MMVA nomination in 2013 in the key category of Video of the Year. “Kiss Goodnight,” saw great traction with radio as well, spending 22 weeks in the Top 10 at AC Radio and peaking at #5 on that chart. The following year, Tyler really broke on to the scene with an impressive JUNO Award nomination for Breakthrough Artist of the Year. All this off the strength of his debut single.
Following the award nominations and the great radio success, Tyler released, “By My Side,” “It Happens All the Time” and “House of Cards.” The happy up-tempo, “By My Side” cracked the Top 10 AC charts and proved Tyler a forceful songwriter. His third single “It Happens All the Time” followed Tyler on his musical journey and gave a more introspective look into his life and personal relationships at the time. This track continues to be a fan favourite. His next single “House of Cards,” had an epic rise up the Canadian radio charts and the song quickly reached Gold certification status.
Although honoured by the attention his signature brand of rock-tinged pop has received, what’s most important for Shaw is that it inspire in listeners the same positive attitude he brings to his own life and music. “As far back as I remember I’ve always focused on the good things that can come out of any situation. My motto is simply: Never give up.”
Through his teens Shaw always dabbled in music, eventually posted recordings on YouTube and played open mic nights in his hometown of Coquitlam, BC, but still didn’t consider taking up music professionally. Instead, he aimed for a career as a professional soccer player and earned an athletic scholarship from the University of PEI.
After entering a national talent competition in 2012 and taking the top spot out of 13,000 people, Shaw suddenly found numerous doors opening for him musically, and relocated to Toronto. Shortly thereafter, he inked a deal with Sony Music Entertainment Canada and found himself working and recording with a variety of co-writers, who, he says, have been integral to his ongoing development as a songwriter.
“By Fall 2012 I’d gone from performing for small crowds at the campus pub to playing in front of 20,000 people on the Canadian We Day tour, but I wasn’t nervous, just excited.” His growing profile also led to an opportunity to travel to Kenya in July 2013 with Free the Children, which really put life into perspective for him: “When I landed, it was immediate culture shock. The people I met had so little, but they were some of the happiest people I’ve ever met. As a songwriter, the more life experience you gather, the better,” Shaw continues. “Kenya definitely touched me, and experiencing it for myself brought my awareness of the struggles so many people face to a whole new level.”
“Kiss Goodnight” was ultimately certified as a Platinum selling single, and Tyler soon released his debut album, Yesterday, on September 4, 2015. Shaw’s latest single “Wicked” is racing up the charts with a new video dropping April 2016. With all that success Shaw then landed opening slots on select Canadian shows with artists including Shawn Mendes, Kelly Clarkson, Francesco Yates and Pitbull. This spring, Tyler is joining Selena Gomez on select dates of her Canadian leg of the ‘Revival World Tour.’
While Tyler Shaw has been thrust into the national spotlight, his focus remains the same as it did when he first started out. To write from his heart and inspire listeners to make the very best of their own lives, and to make a conscious effort to improve the lives of those around them in equal measure.