Shawn Brady – from Bono act to bonafide act
Normally I would never make a ‘Bono’ reference in one of my stories, but this one stems from the fact that Toronto’s Shawn Brady made his way in music through the eyes of Bono, spending 12 years touring the world has a successful U2 cover act.
After pushing all the possible boundaries with his tribute work, he was pushed by fans and friends to pursue a solo venture – one of personal reflection and creativity. That was about five years ago.
“In terms of me breaking out and doing my own thing, it’s an interesting story,” said Brady. “Over the years people have always told me I should write my own songs. I just never really had the drive to do it.”
Sometimes all it takes is a little push in the right direction from a trusted friend.
“One of the first songs I ever wrote, called “Orange” is actually about that particular friend, who unfortunately passed away in an accident in 2009 shortly after we talked about my music.”
That song was a tribute to his friend, which he sang for him at his memorial with friends and loved ones.
“This was really my stepping stone to writing more songs, it got the ball rolling for me.”
He released his first solo effort in 2011 entitled Electric Blood that was produced by Juno-nominated Cory Tetford and was played North America wide in large capacity.
“I’m trying to write great songs, keep up the work. It’s definitely more rewarding to play your own material live. Especially if people connect to them on some level, and gaining a fan base along the way, it’s the greatest.”
He has now dropped his second solo album Broken Traffic Lights – an album that he feels better defines his sound, his musical talents, and his experience in the music business. Especially what he’s learned from one album over to the next – especially considering his first was independently produced and the newest offering being a professional production.
“Electric Blood was a high-energy album, lots of vibes going off. It’s very positive and uplifting, reflective of how I was feeling at the time,” explains Brady. “I’m obviously still that person, but I wanted to explore a variety of themes and characters on this record.”
The album features an eclectic variety of tunes and melodies. Some more rock, some more roll, and a few of just pure soul, this album has a little bit of fun for the whole family. Brady speaks of his inspiration as completely random – some songs are drawn from real life experience, and some purely fiction.
“Rather than have every song come from a personal place, I wanted to try to get in the head space of a heroin addict or even Walter White – one of the songs is called “Breaking Bad.” The characters in that show were fascinating.”
Today, Brady, a husband, father, and Hospital Director of geriatrics in a Scarborough, Ont., facility, he’s a busy and multifaceted guy. He tries to make as much time as he can for his music, and touring, but it’s difficult with his work load and having his hands full at home.
With several shows in the last couple of months, Brady has been able to spread his music further than usual, but with his personal schedule causing time constraints, he doesn’t have the time that most young acts do to travel and tour as much.
“I think I’m pretty homebound and happy to be so. Touring is something I need to continue doing here and there, but I can’t be touring for months at a time. I have a wife and a young daughter, and I wouldn’t want to be away from them.”