INTERVIEW: Shawn Austin Discusses Tour Life, Being a First-Time Dad and His Brand-New EP, Words

Calling Vancouver, BC home is country singer-songwriter, Shawn Austin.

For those unfamiliar with the Local Hay Records’ flagship artist, he has amassed a collective 30M+ global streams and earned himself a gold-certified hit with “Tailgate To Heaven (feat. Chris Lane)” — which held the title of the No. most played country song for 5 weeks in a row. Also known for his high-energy performances, he’s toured with notable country acts such as Dallas Smith and Old Dominion.

On April 5th, the rising country star released his latest 6-track EP, Words. Sharing more about the EP as a whole and how it introduces this next chapter of his artistry, he explains,

“Artists say this all the time and I know it’s going to sound cliche, but this is my best work– It’s true in this case. There are a bunch of tracks on the EP that showcase my evolution as an artist. I was out for a little bit, but the response from fans on this one has been great”. Adding, “I wanted to push the envelope with this EP- do something out of the box. But there’s still a couple of tracks that are what fans have come to expect from ‘Shawn Austin’ songs”(Austin).

The EP features a star-studded lineup of artists/songwriters including HARDY, Tyler Hubbard, Brian Kelley, Ashley Gorley and Hillary Lindsay. Speaking more about the opportunity he had to collaborate with them by recording the tracks for the EP, he shares,

“When the label merged, it opened so many doors-“Tailgate To Heaven (feat. Chris Lane)” being one. It’s a privledge, and one hell of a compliment to collaborate with them – It’s evidence that I’m still going in the right direction. They are the pillars of our industry. Still wild to think about.” (Austin).

As for future collaborations with the artists/songwriters, Shawn states, “You never know” (Austin). Fans will just have to wait and see what the artist has in store.

Featured: Official cover art for Shawn Austin's latest EP, Words. Courtesy of Local Hay / Big Loud Records.

The EP also includes “Day After Day,” a track that features a collaboration with 3x CCMA Entertainer of the Year Dallas Smith– who heads the Local Hay imprint (a JV with Big Loud Records) with producer, Scott Cooke. Speaking about the collaboration and what his label’s support has meant to him (especially on this track), Shawn shares,

“Dallas has been my champion for so long. I’ve been a fan of his since the default days. I met him as a friend/fan. I actually didn’t want to say I was a musician at first, because I didn’t want him to think I was in it for the wrong reasons–I kept that to myself for a really long time. He continues, “With Local Hay, Dallas showed me the ropes. Now that I have a track with him that came to fruition on this EP, it’s an awesome full-circle moment”. Adding, “Dallas Smith is as authentic as they come.” (Austin).

Switching gears, Shawn recently became a first-time dad. Sharing what that’s been like so far, Shawn states,

“It’s been gamechanging in so many ways. Leaving home and touring is harder. He’s already growing like crazy! I’m missing out on some early stuff– that’s been hard” (Austin).

Being a family man and father now, Shawn’s perspective has shifted. Speaking to that and how it will influence the stories he shares via his music in the future, he explains,

“I don’t go into a room with a particular thought/idea in mind. Co-writes are like a pseudo therapy session. In future writing rooms, I think being a dad now will weigh quite heavily in my world. Everything switches to be for him (his son)- I do my best for him. I also can’t wait to get him out on the road with me” (Austin).

With multiple award nominations, a gold-certified hit song with “Tailgate To Heaven (feat. Chris Lane)” and 30M+ collective global streams to his name, Shawn shares his reflections on his career accomplishments thus far and what they have meant to him.

“They’re milestones. Little beacons that tell you along the way that you’re going in the right direction”. He continues, “It’s great to have that peer recognition from the country family that we got– that’s what it is, really. A family. To know that I’ve got their support and that I’m worth supporting, it’s an honour– it really is. It’s a symbol that I am part of this family. Adding, “I’m an ex-finance guy, so I love numbers– but they just mean connection” (Austin).

Shawn recently wrapped up a national tour with the multiple award-winning group, Old Dominion. Speaking more about the experience and what it was like collaborating with the group, he shares,

“That was wild- I was over the moon for being offered that experience. I was covering their songs in restaurants and bars before this. Now to have done things at this level– just wild.” He continues, “They’re great guys, no egos. I’ve made fast friends out of them. If you listen to them on the radio, you’ll know them– the guys you hear in the songs are who they are. Adding, “[The tour] felt short, would love to do something again with them” (Austin).

Shawn is currently delivering his high-energy performances nationwide alongside the “Pillow Talkin'” singer, Tyler Joe Miller and the 2022 CCMA ‘Rising Star’ award-winner, Andrew Hyatt as part of the Country Mixtape Tour. Speaking about what life’s been like on the road so far and what fans can expect from the tour shows, Shawn shares,

“Its been fun. All tours have been fun. Andrew and I go back to Dallas Smith’s Sideways Tour. It’s been a bit of a party on this bus so far! All 3 of us are on stage at any given time. With the power of social media and everything else, people know what to expect– even a weekday show feels like a Friday. It’s been a whirlwind tour” (Austin).

The tour has also provided Shawn with the opportunity to share the tracks off of Words with a live audience. Speaking about what the fans’ reception of the tracks has been like so far on tour, he continues,

“The tour’s been a chance to play the new stuff- It’s really a litmus test on your thoughts of a song. The audience may or may not like it. On tour, fans singing back the words to ‘All the Money In The World’ already- It gives me the confidence to come back stronger every night” (Austin).

On May 1st, Shawn will be taking to the Le Studio TD stage–a milestone event for the artist who will be performing in Montreal for the first time. As he shares with enthousiasm, 

“My mom’s born and raised in Montreal. This will be my first time playing here and this tour’s the best way to check that off — it’s so high energy”. Further adding, “I’ve been to Montreal tons and tons of times! So I’m familiar with the concert scene and crowds” (Austin). 

Fans can grab their tickets and find out more information HERE. The trio also has a show in Ottawa on May 2nd, which fans can secure tickets to HERE.

WORDS OFFICIAL TRACKLIST

  1. “All The Money In The World” (Zach Abend, Michael Hardy, Hillary Lindsey) *
  2. “Words” (Corey Crowder, Michael Hardy, Tyler Hubbard, Brian Kelley) *
  3. “Hate About This Town” (Styles Haury, Lance Miller, David Turnbull) *
  4. “By Tomorrow” (Ashley Gorley, Michael Hardy, Ben Johnson) *
  5. “Day After Day” with Dallas Smith (Preston Brust, John Byron, Chris Lucas, Blake Pendergrass) +
  6. “Get ‘Em Together” (Dallas Davidson, Ben Hayslip, Mark Holman, Justin Wilson) *
 

* Produced by Scott Cooke

+ Produced by Joey Moi

Listen to the Words EP Now:

 

Stay up to Date with Shawn Austin:

Works Cited

Austin, Shawn. Interview. Conducted by Kyla Pearson, Apr 25 2024.

Unknown. “Featured: Country singer-songwriter, Shawn Austin.” Courtesy of PR team. Accessed Apr 24 2024.

Unknown. “Featured: Official cover art for Shawn Austin’s latest EP, Words. Courtesy of Local Hay / Big Loud Records.” Graphic courtesy of Local Hay / Big Loud Records. Accessed Apr 24 2024.

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