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Tyler Shaw is going through a renaissance. After exploding onto the scene and the charts in 2012 with his hit single “Kiss Goodnight” and a wildly successful debut album that followed, it’s hard to imagine what the Canadian pop singer could possibly need to reinvent. But after two years of writing and exploring, Shaw has taken the reigns on developing a new album and a new sound that’s better in tune with his growth as an artist.
Just before the release of his new single “With You”, Georgie caught up with Shaw over the phone to talk about his upcoming album, mental health, and the feelings he’s harnessed into a musical renewal.
G— What were some of the biggest differences for you between making the upcoming album and making Yesterday?
TS—Yesterday was more so “I’m a new artist, I don’t really know what I want to do. This sounds cool on my voice, so does this.” With this album on the other hand, I know what I want. I know what melodies I want to go to and what I want to talk about. [Yesterday] came out in 2015, and ever since then, I mean, you go through life experiences and you go through different things and grow as a person and grow as an artist. I feel like because of all of the things that have happened in the past two years there’s been a lot of growth in my writing and producing, and storytelling.
G—Are there any growing experiences you can put your finger on?
TS—There are a bunch of things. My family dynamic is very interesting and depressing at the same time. A lot of things were coming out in my family [at that time] that I didn’t know about, and that was a darker place for me. But at the same time I’m madly in love—I recently got engaged. My new single “With You” is a story about how I met my fiancé. The album as a whole is literally just everything that’s happened in the past two years.
G— You’ve released three tracks off the upcoming album already, and particularly “Anybody out There” deals with some more contemplative subject matter. Did you explore some deeper themes on this record?
TS—Yeah, there are definitely songs like that. For instance, there’s a song called “Help Me” on the album that’s about my little brother who was going through some hard times. There’s a lot of dynamic on the album.
G— I saw some of your tweets for #BellLetsTalk, and you mention how you’ve written about some of your own experiences with mental health for the upcoming album. Was that a new experience for you?
TS—This was very new. Like I said, the creation of Yesterday was exciting, I just didn’t know myself. As cliché as that sounds, I didn’t know who I was, I didn’t know what I was doing in a sense. I knew when I would walk into sessions it was just all exciting, but this new album means a lot more to me. There’s more depth and it’s more personal.
G—I’ve heard a lot of people say that about the second album.
TS—For an artist it does take time, because when you first come out, you don’t really know what you’re doing. There’s a lucky handful who do, but there’s a lot who don’t. And the experience from the first album definitely made me think more about this album.
G— Having had a ton of success with your debut, Yesterday, and also with your own involvement co-writing and co-producing the upcoming album, do you feel like you were able to take some risks this time that maybe you couldn’t with the debut?
TS— I think because of how well the first album did I had the luxury to do the exploring and really just focus on what I wanted to portray in this album. So I mean, maybe some people would say it was a risk when they hear the album, but for me it was literally what I was feeling that day. This guitar lick feels right, that lyric feels right, this melody feels right. That’s how all the songs really came together—whatever felt right. And to some that may be too far out of the zone or whatever, but for me, this is my art and my creation and everything from my heart and soul put into song.
G—Was your goal with the album to create something genuinely “Tyler Shaw” or was that just a happy result?
TS—I guess a bit of both. We did so much exploring, and unfortunately in the music industry there’s a battle between what the industry wants and what you want to do as an artist. And I think artists now are stepping out and being like no, it’s an art, we as artists need to create our art, and if you want it cool, if you don’t, it’ll find a home somewhere. Literally this whole album was a feeling that I put into music, and it’s a sweet, sweet feeling.
When asked to describe herself in three words, Nina Nesbitt didn’t hesitate. “Introverted, creative, and driven”. While you wouldn’t guess the former from her edgy, empowering tracks—her latest single “Loyal To Me” is a girl-power anthem, rallying women to ditch their unfaithful partners—the latter two can’t be questioned. In the six years since she was discovered in an unplanned encounter with Ed Sheeran, Nesbitt has released three EPs and one full length album; toured with Sheeran, Justin Bieber, and U.K rapper Example; and carved her way into the alt-pop scene with a harmonious blend of groove and grit. Earlier this year, the Edinborough-native was one of three emerging female artists chosen to partake in Spotify’s “Louder Together” initiative, recording the first collaborative Spotify single (“Psychopath”) with Sasha Sloan and Charlotte Lawrence, and showcasing her signature style of thoughtful messages pulsating atop hook-driven melodies. With her sophomore album ready to drop, Georgie spoke with Nesbitt about her experience being thrust into the spotlight and maintaining her creative independence throughout it all. G—You’ve been touring a lot this year, specifically in North America. How have your North American audiences been receiving your shows? Is it different than performing for UK audiences?
Named for the Toronto area they grew up in, The Beaches are a far cry from a placid day on the lake. Led by singer/bassist Jordan Miller—with her sister and guitarist Kylie Miller, guitarist/keyboardist Leandra Earl and drummer Eliza Enman-McDaniel—the Canadian four-piece burst out of Toronto with their 2018 debut, Late Show, and have since built up an aura of dissident swagger. Taking home this year’s Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year, the all-fem rock quartet is bringing grunge, gloss, and 70s glamour to a predominantly male genre. Georgie caught up with Leandra to talk about the band’s latest music video, taking charge of their music, and three simple ways to keep women in the industry. G—Did you grow up together in Toronto? LE—Yeah, I met the girls in high school. Jordan and Kylie are sisters, so they’ve known each other a bit longer, but they grew up with Eliza in Toronto’s Beaches area. G—What kind of music were you listening to at that time? LE—We grew up listening to all of the music our parents listened to. That definitely influenced us while writing our debut album since we drew from a lot of the 70’s music that our
A few years ago, Danielle McTaggart was ready to throw in the towel on her music career. Now she and her husband, Drew, make up the powerhouse duo known as Dear Rouge and have two full-length albums and a Juno to their name. Known for their hook-driven tracks—and being “the nicest couple in Canadian music”—Dear Rouge just dropped their sophomore LP, Phases. The record recounts a season of emotional extremes for the couple, including winning the 2016 Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year, and losing a loved one. We caught up with Danielle over the phone to talk about finding joy in music again, and the personal and public significance of Phases. G—On your website, you describe your style as “sinewy, hook-driven indie rock”. Where did that particular style evolve from? DM—I was always very into hook-y music with beautiful melodies. I grew up listening to The Carpenters and they have beautiful melodic parts, but I also always loved harder music and really rock-driven music. Bands like Metric or Yeah Yeah Yeahs or St. Vincent were hugely motivating for me, and I loved that these frontwomen were powerhouses. They’re very confident and trying to push the boundaries while