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Shawn Desman Opens Up About His Career Comeback, New Music, and a Possible Collaboration with Drake!

TORONTO – He made some of the best dance tracks to come out of our city in the early 2000s, and the electric Shawn Desman is back and better than ever after a short hiatus. The Toronto-born Portuguese pop star dropped fire track after fire track for what felt like forever, but then he disappeared! We caught up with Desman to discuss what he’s been up to, and how it feels to be back in the industry that never sleeps.

Desman has been making music for most of his life, believe it or not. While he found mainstream success on English airwaves in the 2000s, the popstar had already released five entire albums. The catch? They were all in Portuguese!

Desman explained that by the time he was 16 he felt as though he had reached his peak in the Portuguese music scene and he was craving more. 

“How do you take it to the next level? I’ve got to sing in English,” he explained. 

Desman’s father created a music studio in his son’s bedroom in the late 1990s, allowing teenage Desman to start working on and producing his own music. The teenage musician even recorded his tracks onto cassette tapes to send out to record labels, saying this predated burning your work onto CDs. He then got a call that would change his life. 

“Finally I got a phone call from BMG Music Canada,” Desman shared. 

“I hung up the phone because I thought it was one of my friends playing a joke,” Desman laughed, adding that the representative called back and asked him to come into their office the next day. 

The following day the record label offered him a contract, and for the next two years Desman and his team plugged away at creating his first English album. 

“Get Ready” for Shawn Desman

After two years of grinding away, Desman released his first English single “Get Ready” and braced for reaction.

“You never know right? Here’s this new guy, white kid doing urban music. Baggy clothes, diamond chain, and people embraced it!” he shared, explaining that he knew Get Ready would be a hit, but his next single Shook blew it out of the water.

“With Get Ready we didn’t really get Quebec, Quebec is its own world if everybody knows. Shook comes out and we get Quebec on top of the rest of Canada,” Desman explained, reminiscing on when he first knew that he would be a nationwide success.

But despite being a household name across Canada, Desman is humble. He shared that he feels blessed to be able to create music that people resonate with.

“I’ve honestly been blessed to just make music that a lot of people like,” Desman shared, adding that he never thinks of himself as an icon. 

“I think we need stuff in our lives to make us feel good,” Desman told Brandon, continuing to say he believes it’s what makes his music popular. 

Shawn on Hiatus

For what felt like forever, Shawn Desman was killing the game. Starting in 2002, Desman dropped hit after hit for over a decade, giving us tracks like Electric, Shook, and Nobody Does it Like You. But after a successful run spanning over a decade, in 2015, the artist says things took a turn for the worse. 

“I let people influence what I was doing, musically,” he explained, adding that he was being pushed to be more “edgy”, but he didn’t really know what that meant.

Desman shared that the plan then backfired, and led to his record label dropping him. 

“The record label is like, ‘we’re going in a different direction, we’re not going to do another record with you,’” the singer shared, adding that he realized he should have ignored outside influences and went with his gut. 

“But you live and you learn, you live and you learn,” he continued. 

All-Canadian North Star

Fast forward to the spring of 2022, when Desman got a call to perform in Drake’s All-Canadian North Stars show during OVOfest. Shawn explained that he decided he was going to use the opportunity to remind people what he is capable of. 

“I kept telling people ‘I’m going to blow the roof off that place, they have no idea’. Not saying this to be conceded, to be ignorant, that’s not me. I made it my mission, I manifested that I was going to kill it that night,” the artist laughed.

“What’s great is that I got to share that with my kids, with my wife,” he explained. 

Desman and his family met Drake before the show began, but once Desman was onstage, doing his thing, he shared that he could see Drizzy dancing along to his music on the balcony. Following the show, Desman met up with the rapper in the hallway.

“He pulls me to the corner and he’s like ‘Yo bro, you’re different eh Shawn Desman?” Desman said of Drake. 

He explained that Drake went on to give him his flowers for his performance during OVOfest. When Drizzy pressed Shawn, asking him why he had stopped making music, he shared that he had lost his passion for his art. 

“Drake’s like ‘scrap that, squash all that, Shawn Desman needs to make music again, now,’ so when one of the biggest artists if not the biggest artist in the world tells you that, you may need to think about it. Because I was coming to terms with [the fact that] I may never make music again,” he explained. 

Desman explained that he lost his passion after struggling to find success being “edgy”. He shared that he feels the music industry chews you up and spits you out. 

“I felt like the music business let me down,” he continued. 

Shawn shared some special stories, including the time he got kicked out of Yorkdale Mall for causing a scene, the meaning behind some of his biggest hits, and how his life has changed since he first broke onto the scene on this episode of The Brandon Gonez Show! Let us know in the comments, what’s your favourite Shawn Desman track.

*This episode was supported by Ontario Creates



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