Most musicians wouldn’t describe themselves as entrepreneurs, but Shawn Meehan wouldn’t 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 don’t do the marketing – if you don’t 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, Meehan’s 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 Vancouver’s CFOX for 13 weeks, and went on to hit #60 on the cross-country Top 100. How that transpired was thanks to Meehan’s 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 wasn’t 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 Vancouver’s 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 Shawn’s loved ones confided he was struggling with addiction. However, on the lighter side, the song and video celebrates one of Meehan’s 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, I’ve been successful!” laughs Meehan, who has shared bills with Nickelback, Headstones, Edwin, 54-40, Jeff Healy Band and Big Sugar. “I don’t like to be involved in anything where I can see the end, I want no part of that. I’m a risk taker, a gambler – and I’ve got aspirations. I’m not going to quit this game until I’ve 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 can’t think of anything more challenging and rewarding at the same time. It’s a grind everyday – and I love it.”
Have you performed in front of an audience?
Yes we play live all year round. This year we foccused on Canada and next year we plan to tour the US and Europe.