I feel like this story is a little longer than usual, but Shawn’s stories were so entertaining I had difficulty leaving the details out. For starters, Shawn had what you might call an unconventional introduction to music. When Shawn was little he had limited access to popular music as he lived in China where contact with media from other countries was restricted. However, his Aunt procured a bootlegged copy of Michael Jackson’s music videos which she shared with him. These videos became a source of entertainment for Shawn, who unembarrassedly admits he spent hours trying to imitate Michael Jackson.
Eventually Shawn and his family moved to Canada where he grew up being more involved with music. However, he didn’t become really serious about music until he moved to a small town in BC because, as he puts it, he literally had nothing else to do.
Shawn began to desire constructive criticism for his music, but this was impossible to attain where he was living. This resulted in Shawn deciding to start a YouTube channel back when YouTube was still in its infancy and offered a smaller platform for emerging artists. It gave him the freedom to play whatever he wanted in his videos and helped him build a community with other YouTube members. YouTube exposed Shawn to several opportunities which he, of course, plays off as no big deal. However, being flown to Australia to play in a music festival and then to Shanghai to play for a Chinese New Year Festival sounds pretty impressive to me.
Shawn eventually discovered his current lifestyle was no longer making him happy. He had started a degree in business, but after working as an intern at The Brick headquarters he realized office work wasn’t a good fit for him. Another lifestyle change he decided needed to occur was his relationship with his YouTube channel. Despite a strong YouTube following, he felt he needed to return to making music for the love of music itself, instead of for the views.
Although it might appear like Shawn was a little lost, don’t worry dear reader, he figured things out quickly. His entire life he has had two constant interests; music and video games, so why not combine the two? Since then Shawn has obtained a diploma in composition from Grant MacEwan and is currently studying music at the U of A with hopes of composing for video games in the future. He has also recently worked on other kinds of projects he has greatly enjoyed, such as the composition and sound design for the theatrical production of “Cafe Daughter.”
Lastly, because Shawn isn’t already busy enough between being a full time student, taking on compositional side projects and making content for his YouTube channel (yes he did keep his channel going), he also started his own orchestra. This ensemble is currently made up of about 30 students who entertain crowds with popular melodies like the Game of Thrones theme song. So, if this unique ensemble sparks your interest, you should definitely check out their performance at K-Days this summer!
Also, you can check out his YouTube channel here! He plays an impressive number of instruments that I highly recommend you take a look.