Shawn Desman is back and better than ever. With a career spanning over 20 years, Desman has cemented himself as an iconic figure in the music industry.
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Shawn Desman
Returns to
Music with
Electric new
single "Maniac"

You took a hiatus in 2015 from music and now you're back with your incredible single "Maniac". Tell me about your return to music and how this all came about.

Shawn: Drake contacted my friend to personally invite me to perform at his OVO Fest weekend show at History in Toronto. Of course I agreed, and I practiced and rehearsed extensively as I wanted to blow the roof off of the venue. During the performance the crowd went crazy and Drake was banging on the wall going wild, I'm surprised he didn't bruise his hand [laughs]. After the show, he pulled me aside and said, "Did you hear those people? They love you, man! Those songs, even the ones from 20 years ago, live on - they're timeless. You're different. Shawn Desman needs to make music again.” The next day I was flooded with emails and texts from fans and industry heads asking if new music was coming. To get that response after so long of not doing anything was very special.

Tell me about your new single, "Maniac".

Shawn: After OVO Fest I started working on new music and was at soccer practice with my son when I remembered I had written a version of "Maniac" in 2014. I sent it to Jamie Appleby at Wax Records and he said it was a smash. We worked on "Maniac", recorded it, and released it a couple of weeks later. So far, the response has been incredible.

I even got a message from Drake on the day of release; he said he was happy I listened to him that night [OVO Fest] and was proud of me and now here we are!

What has it meant for you to get that kind of praise and encouragement from not only Drake, but fans and the industry?

Shawn: To just have been invited to perform during OVO weekend was enough; but to receive further praise and encouragement from Drake has been so humbling and frankly, life-changing. The night I showed up to History before my performance, I said to Drake, "Man, thank you so much for inviting me.” He said, "Shawn Desman, thank me? Thank you, bro. For everything you did before any of us," and I never thought of it like that. I was just a 20 year old kid making music because I loved it. I didn’t think that these songs would become core memories for people and it made me feel like I had unintentionally made an impact with my music. Last year was 20 years since my first album and I'm thankful to still be here making music and having a song on the radio. It's mind-blowing to me that I'm still here 20 years later and I'm so grateful for the blessings that have come my way.

Tell us about what upcoming projects you have in the works.

Shawn: I have a bunch of exciting shows lined up for the summertime and I'm currently planning a fall tour which I very much look forward to. In addition, I'm hard at work in my studio recording new music. I have a few other projects in the works that I'm excited about as well. For the past 15 years, I've also been running a dance competition [MOVE Dance Competition] that starts in March and runs until the Victoria Day long weekend.

It's a passion project of mine as I grew up dancing and competing myself, and I love inspiring this new generation of kids and watching them dance.

Are there any artists you would like to collaborate with in the future?

Shawn: There are definitely artists that I would love to work with. I mean, Drake, I would love to collaborate with. It's funny because I jokingly told him that at OVO, and he's like, "I'm here, bro. I'm here.” He’s only one of the biggest rappers in the world, so of course it would have to be the right time and song, but you never know. I'd also love to collaborate with Nelly Furtado or this new artist LU KALA. But we'll see, whatever is meant to happen will happen. I'll leave it in the hands of the Universe.

You have been very vocal about advocating for mental health. Why is it important for you to use your platform to speak about mental health?

Shawn: In 2015 when I stepped away from music, I found myself in an unhappy place. I was depressed, which caused issues in my marriage and my ability to be a great father. After my wife urged me to seek help, I decided to talk to a therapist, which was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Talking to a therapist once a week and expressing my emotions helped me immensely. I learned that fear was holding me back and I had to let go. I now use my platform to advocate for mental health and I'm proud to show people that it's okay to express their feelings – especially men. Growing up, I wasn't raised in a household where we talked about our feelings, but I've learned that expressing your feelings is necessary and is something no one should ever feel embarrassed about.

What advice would you give to artists struggling to find their place in the industry?

Shawn: The process is completely different from when I started in the music industry compared to new artists starting today; however, I advise new artists to find their niche, see what makes them unique, and build a fan base. Consistency is key – put a song out every week and post Instagram reels and TikTok videos. Labels are now looking for artists who already have a following before they step in. Perfect your craft, learn production or recording and do what feels right for you. Protecting your creativity and not being influenced by others is also important. Listen to your gut feeling and have people around you who keep you grounded. That way, you can stay focused and not get caught up in the hype.

Desman's story is a testament to the timelessness of music. His passion and dedication to his craft are sure to inspire others. Check out his newest single, "Maniac," which is now available on all streaming platforms.

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