His glorious man-bun is only the surface element of what makes Shaun Colwill (SC) so alluring. The singer songwriter from Essex has been combining sounds of indie pop, soul, and funk, bringing positive and creative energy to his sessions. Local Wolves’ Kaela Malozewski got to talking about his fans, performing live, and life in England.
You are a very talented artist! Can you describe your sound in three words?
SC – Such a nice way to start the interview (laughs). Groovy, melodic and soulful.
At what age were you drawn to music and how did you begin?
SC – I had always sung from as young as I can remember. My parents wanted to support my love for singing so they put me into a performing arts school at the age of 4. I left there when I was 13 because I moved abroad for 2 and half years. When I moved back to the UK, I taught myself guitar because I just wanted to pursue singing. Then as time passed and I got better at playing guitar, I started songwriting.
Who are some of your musical inspirations and how do they inspire you?
SC – Stevie Wonder, Ed Sheeran and The 1975. I love the funky melodies and songs of Stevie Wonder. His voice is so unique and intriguing. Ed Sheeran has taught me so much as an upcoming artist and he was the one who made me want to play guitar. I watched loads of videos of him playing live and interviews and took inspiration in how I can get in contact with people and play gigs and network and just to be open to anything and everything. I admire his work ethic so much. His songwriting is also hugely inspiring and his soulful tone. The 1975 have such a unique sound that I can never describe them with just a few words. Their atmospheric vibes and especially their pop/funk guitar riffs are what really grab me! I love their whole image and the way they portray themselves I think is just incredible.
You have awesome hair! What made you decide to rock long locks?
SC – Thanks! I just wanted a change and I always had said before that I wanted to grow my hair but I would end up cutting it during the awful stages, however I stuck with the decision two and a half years ago and now, it’s kind of become a big part of my image.
I noticed on your Instagram that you had two Danish fans fly to come see you play and presented you with gifts and a wonderful card. As a new emerging artist, how does it feel to have loyal fans like those two women?
SC – It felt so amazing and surreal. I don’t think I could ever process that or not be blown away by such a huge gesture! Incredible girls and the love and support from them is just amazing.
Do you have a favorite venue to play at in Essex or in London?
SC – I played at the Borderline in Soho as a support act in 2014 and I would really love to headline that venue one day. Of course the bigger venues are on my bucket list but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. I think the reason this venue holds something special for me is because it’s where I saw my first ever gig back in 2012 and it was an amazing fellow singer-songwriter, Lewis Watson.
What do you love most about performing live?
SC – The energy from the crowd and the vibe with my band that back me up!
Do you have any pre-performance rituals to help with the jitters?
SC – I always get nervous however it’s a mixture of excitement and nerves. I think if I didn’t get nervous then I’d be worried because the nerves remind me of how much each show means to me. No pre-show rituals (laughs)!
Tell us about your band mates! How did you meet and what is it like working together?
SC – Over the last two years I’ve been lucky enough to have many different talented musicians play with me. However at the moment we have Ant (Anthony) on Bass and backing vocals, Youness on Keys and lead electric guitar and Ben on drums. Ant has been with me since the beginning and we have grown a really strong friendship from music, we’re best mates! We met at college. It’s funny cause the day Ant was suggested to me by a friend I had another bassist auditioning but Ant and I clicked so well right from the start. I can also solemnly say that Ant is the nicest person I have ever met, without a doubt! We also song write together and working with him is always a pleasure. Youness— is a very talented chap and brings the funky vibes to the set. He’s a very dedicated musician who is a perfectionist! He’s also a talented producer which is meant to be a secret but it needs to be known! I met Youness through Ben last year. A friend recommended Ben last year and ever since our first jam he just fit right in. Although he’s 18 and the youngest member, he is also the dad of the group and is the one always most concerned and responsible. This is a big help though and probably without him a lot of things would have gone wrong. Ben is the most dedicated drummer I have met who practices non stop and is determined to perfect his craft and find new methods. He’s also a talented photographer and videographer! It’s always a pleasure gigging with these guys and I feel lost without them. Really happy and very lucky to have such a solid band!
Do you plan on establishing yourself in England or are you hoping to move to another part of the world?
SC – I love travelling so I hope to be all over the world!
If you could collaborate with any musician, who would it be and why?
SC – Ed Sheeran. I just admire his melodies and songwriting too much. Also Justin Bieber as his new album I think is incredible so I’d be interested to see how he writes and if we could work well together.
Do you write a lot of your own material and what is that process like?
SC – Most of my material is all my own however over the last year I have been doing a lot of co-write sessions. I find this really teaches me more about the ways of songwriting and it’s always a pleasure working with such amazing songwriters and producers.
How has YouTube helped you find success and fans?
SC – I wouldn’t exactly say I’ve succeeded yet, but it’s definitely helped me get my voice and music out there in a way I couldn’t have done without it!
Do you ever receive negative comments online and how do you deal with them?
SC – I’m actually very lucky and received none. I have in the past however they don’t bother me at all. I don’t want to be perfect, a negative comment humbles me and is just a subtle reminder that not everyone will like everything always.
Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?
SC – Doing everything I am now but bigger. Hopefully working on my second album. Travelling all over the world and working with my idols. I hope I still have the same amount of passion and hunger for success as I do now as an upcoming artist.