Although he’s been performing across the country for about seven years, it wasn’t until one day last May that Tyler Shaw felt at home on the stage.
The Coquitlam-born singer-songwriter said with the help of movement coaches and other experts on the art of engaging an audience during a concert, he said he feels “I know what I’m actually doing on stage.
“I feel way more confident, way more comfortable. I’ve been able to grow into that. There’s a lot more to [performing] than you think.”
His journey to that comfortable spot has been long.
Shaw said his mom insisted he take piano lessons as a child — she taught the instrument but never had him as a student. He said it’s probably because “I hated it.”
By the time he was in middle school, his older brother Matt was playing drums, so he took it up too, “because I wanted to be cool like him.”
And then, he picked up a guitar at age 13 and, although he may not have known it yet, his career path was set. He started writing songs, perfecting his talent, playing in bands (including one with Matt on the drums), singing where he could.
His first public gig, Shaw said, was likely when Matt was hosting improv nights at a local cafe and had baby brother up on stage during breaks.
An avid and talented soccer player — he played goalkeeper — Shaw was awarded a scholarship to the University of Prince Edward Island in 2012 to continue playing at the varsity level while studying sociology. It was there a friend, hearing him perform, suggested he enter the Coca-Cola MuchMusic Covers Contest. He was one of 13,000 who entered, submitting a video of him covering Invincible by Hedley. That led to Shaw joining 14 others as finalists.
A cover of Rolling in the Deep by Adele got him to the Top 10 and his version of I Wanna Go by Britney Spears landed him in the Top 3 and, eventually, No. 1.
His set list has no covers.
“Which is funny since I won a cover competition six years ago,” he said.
His first single Kiss Goodnight went platinum with sales of more than one million. His debut studio album, Yesterday, came out in 2015 and his next one will be released on Sept. 28.
It has two singles in radio rotation now — With You and Cautious.
Shaw said although he’s been performing a lot in the past several years, he has yet to do shows in B.C. He’s doing his first one in Vancouver on Sept. 18, followed by a trip up the Coquihalla Highway to Kamloops for one on Sept. 19 at The Blue Grotto, 319 Victoria St.
Tickets are $20 and available at kamtix.ca.