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You Belong: Shawn Austin Interview

By Phjoshua @thereviewsarein
Belong: Shawn Austin Interview

We caught up with Shawn Austin at the SiriusXM Canada offices in Toronto on a busy media day for the Vancouver singer and sat down to talk about his career and his music.

With his debut EP released at the end of September, and the lead single, You Belong, making its way to radio and picking up steam on streaming services, things are busy for Austin. But he likes it that way. We saw Shawn during Canadian Country Music Association Awards weekend in Hamilton and asked him about the experience as we hung out on Monday. He told us that this was his second CCMA Awards experience, which helped him feel a little more comfortable and connected during the hectic weekend.

On Saturday night, Austin played a post-awards gala showcase at the Fan Village, and throughout the weekend he bounced from spot to spot for events and to catch up with industry family. As we talked, the subject of the Canadian Country Music family came up, something that we've talked about with many artists. And Shawn Austin echoed the sentiments of many before him as he talked about enjoying the opportunity to catch a drink or something to eat with people that he counts as friends, peers, and more.

From CCMA talk, we shifted to the British Columbia Country Music Association and their upcoming awards show. Shawn told us that this will also be his second year attending the awards after he missed 2017's event while on the road with Dallas Smith's Side Effects Tour. The same friends and family feeling is there at the BCCMAs, with the added reality that Shawn truly has known some of these people since high school or earlier. The faces and names are so familiar that it's almost surreal to know that there will be times when he is front and centre and in the spotlight.

Those spotlight moments will come on Sunday at the Molson Canadian Theatre when his name is announced as a nominee three times during the awards show.

We asked Shawn if he has thought about what it will feel like to hear his name called as a nominee in the Single of the Year ( Get Me There), Ray McAuley Horizon Award, and Male Artist of the Year categories as he sits in that room full of people he knows and that know him so well. It was in this moment that the modesty and humble nature of Austin shone through. He told us that he looks at himself as an emerging artist, someone that hasn't done enough to be considered a star or a finalist for awards like Male Artist of the Year. He even said as we sat and talked that he didn't know how he got to a place where he had those nominations. The answer, of course, is that a hit single will do that for you.

Note: Shawn also pointed out that Default will be on stage in Vancouver on Sunday night, so he's trying to figure out the logistics of making the 25-minute drive after the awards show to The Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver to see Dallas and the boys.

For all the talk CCMAs and BCCMAs, we needed to ask Shawn about his debut EP. We asked him about the collection of songs presented together in this package. He told us that they went through a lot of songs, with the idea that they wanted to put together something that was a complete idea, but also with an eye on trying something a bit different than what they had done on Paradise Found and Get Me There. They didn't want to break the mould, but they wanted to push things a little.

Related: Shawn Austin, Album Review

Shawn also told us that You Belong wasn't the original plan as the first single. In fact, it wasn't even planned to be on the EP. In a story that we've heard many times before, the song came late in the process and was so strong they decided to fit it in. So strong that it bumped out the song that had been picked as the lead single. So strong that it is already pushing 300,000 spins on Spotify.

You Belong: Shawn Austin Interview

He added that it was also the most challenging song on the EP to record and perform. But from that challenge and effort has come another song that country music fans are loving, radio is adding to rotations, and Shawn Austin can't wait to add to his live show.

When Shawn mentioned adding You Belong to his live set there was a natural segue to his touring schedule. Right now, there's nothing to report. But, Shawn did tell us that he's looking forward to spring and summer 2019 and that we can expect to see him back in the Toronto area.

Before that happens though, there could be even more music from the Vancouver native. He told us that work is already in progress on the follow-up to his self-titled debut EP, and that he anticipates a release sooner than later in 2019.

It might seem like a really quick turn around, but with plans for the second single from his current album tentatively in place, the team is looking ahead again to what would come next, and what gets Shawn Austin ready for his touring season next year. Another release would bolster his library for live shows, giving fans more songs they know in each set. It would also allow Shawn to play longer sets, featuring Paradise Found, Get Me There, Nashville, You Belong, to go with the rest of his arsenal.

Here's what we know. Shawn Austin is prepared to keep working hard to make a name for himself and earn his dues in country music. He's appreciative for every opportunity that has come to him so far, and we know he's ready to take advantage of whatever opportunities come next.

And when it's time for Shawn to take that next step with (more) new music, live shows, and more, we'll be ready for him!

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