Most musicians wouldnt describe themselves as entrepreneurs, but Shawn Meehan wouldnt consider himself anything else. Since throwing his hat into the ring over 10 years ago, the singer/guitarist has made success in the music biz his own personal grail. While writing and performing is where his heart is at, the 27-year-old knows above all else that creating music only just the beginning.
This industry really is a business. You can be creative and brilliant, write songs better than anything on the radio today, but if you dont do the marketing if you dont work your ass off to get noticed no one is going to hear you, says Meehan, who studied contemporary music and jazz at the Toronto-area Humber College for three years.
Point in case, Meehans former 90s project Deadline, went through several regional Band Warz, ultimately winning the national competition and walking away with the goods in more ways than one. That night we were approached by the most powerful agency in the country, and they have stuck by me through thick and thin, says Meehan, referring to
SL Feldman & Associates Agency. And as a result of winning that contest, we ended up recording and releasing an independent CD that received a serious amount of airplay in Canada given the fact that we were unsigned.
The band actually remained in heavy rotation at Vancouvers CFOX for 13 weeks, and went on to hit #60 on the cross-country Top 100.
How that transpired was thanks to Meehans seemingly insane work ethic and strong business acumen. I tried the traditional routes first, of course, he says. But that was like beating my head against a brick wall. I was barricaded at every turn no one wanted to hear from just another street-level rock band with a record even if it was a great record.
So Meehan did what most young bands find unthinkable he sank money, made from gigging, into marketing the project. More specifically, he bought advertising on radio.
Pretty soon they were not only taking my calls, I had sales agents walking me into the offices of program directors and making introductions. It wasnt exactly payola, jokes Meehan, but I was able to get their attention and win a few minutes with some of the more influential program directors in the game.
The latest album Speed (on Vancouvers indie label Wyzdom Records, which released Get It Outta My Head featuring the tracks All Or Nothing and Mary in 2000), was a labour of love completed over the course of two years with producer Ted Moore who has spent time working through the creative process along side such renowned producers and artists as Bob Rock, Steve Brown (Elton John, George Michael, The Cult), Tina Turner, Bryan Adams, and Lionel Richie.
The title track a powerful pop/rock number that clocks in at 2:34 has a bit of a double entendre. The metaphor for Speed was drawn from personal experience when one of Shawns loved ones confided he was struggling with addiction. However, on the lighter side, the song and video celebrates one of Meehans own great affections hot rods and race car driving.
I decided when I was a teenager that I would dedicate myself to making music as a career. If I had to I would make no money for years and years until something gave. And if you look at that well, Ive been successful! laughs Meehan, who has shared bills with Nickelback, Headstones, Edwin, 54-40, Jeff Healy Band and Big Sugar. I dont like to be involved in anything where I can see the end, I want no part of that. Im a risk taker, a gambler and Ive got aspirations. Im not going to quit this game until Ive won.
I love coming up with an idea late at night in a hotel room somewhere and then making it a song out of it, something that will turn someone else on musically. I cant think of anything more challenging and rewarding at the same time. Its a grind everyday and I love it.
Yes we play live all year round. This year we foccused on Canada and next year we plan to tour the US and Europe.