If getting a solid musical education, finding a purpose in life and building relationships with professional colleagues are the hallmarks of success, Hook does it with ease and grace.
Early exposure to music
Studying piano since the age of four helped Hook form interest in music. Playing trombone in high school developed into playing live gigs to sell-out crowds with a band called Shag. That propelled Shawn’s interest in writing.
Mastering the meaning of words
Because Hook excelled in poetry in high-school English, that naturally lead to lyrics for songs. “I remember having a few big high school crushes and when I saw them fall for other guys, it really upset me. My natural instinct was to sit at the piano and play what I felt. I’d play piano for hours on end until I felt better,” Shawn tells Onesheet.com in a recent interview.
Read about the importance of mastering the meaning of words, spelling and grammar in “Launching a career in music: keys to success.”
Hook attended engineering school at the urging of his parents. After two years, Shawn made up his mind to transfer to a private college, The Art Institute in Vancouver, to study Professional Recording Arts.
Shawn’s first album was in 2002 thanks to his vocal teacher, who offered to produce it. His second album in 2006 was also independent. It was a collection of the best of about 50 songs Shawn had written to date. More importantly, it laid the groundwork for a new socially conscious approach to entertainment. Forming a charity with a friend and performing at regional high schools to collect items for food banks gave Shawn a broader purpose. His powerful piano ballad “Soldier” connected with military families and schools.
“Soldier” attracted the attention of many in the industry, especially ABC Studios where Shawn composed many songs for film and television in a brief stint from 2007 through 2008. Signing with a new manager in 2008 got Shawn showcased with record companies but most importantly introduced Hook to others in his profession, with whom he was able to co-write several songs that appeared in his next album. Released May 2012 on the EMI Music label, Cosmonaut and the Girl, is with a rich electronic sound enhancing his natural singer-song writer style.
Read about developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time in “Launching a career in music: keys to success.”
Hook’s album, Cosmonaut and the Girl, was produced by Jon Levine. Shawn says, “Jon had a vision for this electronic vibe and I went with it. I trusted him and it inspired me. Working in Los Angeles, you can work with so many different people, but to find an identity or a sound is really rare. I was there for three for four years working with as many people as I could and I didn’t find it. Jon came along and this is it!”
Similar to Jeff Beck's propensity to perfection, Shawn says, “I realize that it’s so important not to settle for anything. Back in the day, I was writing songs just to get them done. This experience taught me to not stop working on a song until it’s right. You feel that in your gut. You just know.
Visit Shawn Hook’s website.
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