Ahead of his new EP, Shawn Hook stopped by HollywoodLife.com to tell us how he brought Vanessa Hudgens out of hiding, what it was like to go from trombone playing in a cover band to international pop stardom, and a crazy story about Shawn Mendes doing him a solid once.
What is it about Canada and talented people named Shawn? Shawn Hook has a few ideas. “The cool thing about Canadian artists is that there’s this huge sense of community,” he tells us. “We have each other’s backs.” When the “Sound of Your Heart” singer stopped by to talk about his new track “Reminding Me” with Vanessa Hudgens, you can bet we got him to go into detail and explain exactly what he means by that. After you check out our interview below, be sure to click through the gallery to see pics of our exclusive photo shoot!
First, what how did “Reminding Me” with Vanessa Hudgens come about?
I posted an ad on Craigslist: “Singer Seeking Superstar Female For A Feature,” and she responded!
[Laughs] No, I’m kidding. We have mutual friends in LA, and I was looking for a female feature and it got to Vanessa. She loved it, so we met for coffee and talked it out and went from there.
What’s the meaning behind the song?
The song is about moving on from a longterm relationship and using a new relationship to get over it, and realizing it’s the wrong move and you need some time to get over it the right way.
The video is very sexy! What was your involvement in that process?
Usually when I shoot a music video, I like to see what the director is thinking and how the song inspires them visually. With this one, I had guidelines. I wanted it to be cinematic, classy, sexy, edgy. But not over-the-top.
And it was filmed in the iconic Goldstein House, which is in The Big Lebowski.
We were originally supposed to shoot at the Chateau Marmont Hotel, and it was going to be so epic, but then it wasn’t available, and we had a strict timeline. We had to improvise and find something else…and we found one of the most iconic houses in Los Angeles!
Not a bad second choice.
Things happen for a reason!
It was great! Vanessa and I rehearsed, and there were little things we were messing up on, but everything came together for the performance.
Did she say anything to you ahead of the show, because it was her first live performance in a really long time?
Right before we walked on, she was like, “Shawn, I’m pretty nervous right now,” and I said “That’s good, because when you’re not nervous, that’s when things go wrong.” When I’m not nervous before a performance, I’m not prepared.
Let’s talk about your EP, coming this summer.
Last year, a lot of producers and writers knew about my song “Sound Of Your Heart.” So I had a chance to collaborate with people I look up to, big pop writers that I really respect, and we worked on the EP.
That’s awesome. What’s the story you want to tell with the record?
A lot of the songs are about relationships and the struggles that come with being in longterm and long distance relationships. The title of the record is “My Side of Your Story,” and they’re songs that I really admire. The four songs came out of about 80 songs — I was writing my butt off! I’m excited about them.
Same. Now, you did a bunch of dates in Canada surrounding the release of “Remember Me” — do you want to do more dates, or a U.S. tour?
I definitely want to come tour in the US — that’s goal #1. I don’t know what will come through yet, but that’s priority!
What’s the weirdest or most unique venue you’ve played?
Back early on, I got booked to play an inaugural country fair in a farm town in B.C., and it was pouring rain. The generator behind the R.V. where the stage was set up was louder than the output from the PA system! There was barely anybody at the fair; it was such a fail.
I also want to address your trombone-playing past, but I’m not quite sure how to segue.
It’s funny. It was a love-hate relationship with the trombone. Do you have time?
Yes, walk us through it.
I grew up in a small town, and when you get to 7th grade, you have to choose an instrument. So I wrote down three I wanted to play: drums, saxophone and I was like, I’ll put down the trombone, whatever.
I feel like you did not get assigned the drums…
I was assigned the trombone! I took it home and couldn’t make any noise — I was devastated, crying. But I learned how to play it and I loved jazz music, so I joined jazz band and we’d tour and do festivals. Then after high school, I joined a disco cover band, and honestly, that was one of the biggest eye-openers for me in terms of live music. We sold out clubs all the time, and it was so much fun. I don’t play anymore, but it’s [a part of me.]
Love it. Who are some of your favorite fellow Canadian artists?
I’m a fan of Shawn Mendes. Last year we were both playing the JUNO Awards, and during soundcheck — let me back up. I had a full week of promo before the awards, and was running on no sleep. I got to the JUNOs and got laryngitis! So I couldn’t make any noise. Then I’m at lunch, and I get a tap on my shoulder, and Shawn Mendes is like, “Hey, man, I heard your voice is gone. Take these sprays and my number, if you need a humidifier, I’ve got one…” He was so nice!
Wait. So Shawn Mendes was your doctor.
Pretty much! [Laughs] I was like, “Thank you so much.” I had every remedy under the sun.
Canadians are awesome. Tegan and Sara are my favorite band.
They’re sweethearts. I want to collaborate with them. We were on a show together a few years ago.
And Ria Mae.
I love Ria! I’ve got some funny Ria stories. We were on a radio show in Canada a while ago, and our singles had just come out, so none of us were that big, and we all signed a cymbal and said, we have to come back every year and visit this cymbal!
Who is the most unlikely celebrity fan you’ve encountered?
Last May, Katy Perry came up to me [at an event] and was like, “I’m seeing your face everywhere! I really love your new song, your video is sexy.”
That’s a collaboration I’d want to hear.
I’d love to, too. She’s hilarious and a lot of fun. But I was kind of surprised!
If someone hasn’t heard you before, what song should they listen to first?
The acoustic version of “Reminding Me.”
Getting the EP done and hopefully tour!