David Shaw is no stranger to success. In his role as lead vocalist for The Revivalists, Shaw contributed to the band’s four chart-topping albums, millions of streams and the platinum single “Wish I Knew You.” Now, armed and poised for another breakthrough, David Shaw is launching his solo career with the recent releases of the two singles “Shaken” and “Promised Land.”
Videos by American Songwriter
“Shaken” illustrates Shaw’s inner dialogue about embracing the unique pieces of himself despite the ingrained insecurities of being different. This appeal to humanity’s universal desire to be accepted for who you are reverberates in phenomenal rock and soul sounds. Shaw’s especially haunting lyric, “I’m still standing here,” echos in your head as you become completely immersed in the entrancing sound of “Shaken.”
In an exclusive conversation with American Songwriter, Shaw described how he penned the relatable lyrics and corresponding chords in “Shaken.”
“Often times when I sit down to write a song I have no idea what I actually want to write about. This may sound a bit counterintuitive but I think it’s helped my art and heart stay open to letting something else guide the way. This process has evolved over the years but mostly it‘s me just sitting down with an acoustic guitar and scatting a melody or just saying whatever comes to mind at the time. The hope here is that I’ll tap into another part of myself that’s normally unreachable and use the music as a conduit to get out whatever’s inside. That’s exactly what happened the day that I sat down and wrote what would be the seeds for ‘Shaken,’ although something was different this time,” Shaw said.
“What started out as an exercise in self–love and care, grew into a song about standing up and confronting your own fears and insecurities even when that’s the last thing you want to do. Through trial and error I learned that the by-product of this confrontation is bigger love, higher spirit energy and more compassion for all living things. For me now, this is the way. It is my mantra. I’m grateful that I caught this firefly that day. I hope you get as much out of it as I did and still do.”
In addition to “Shaken”’s more personal message, Shaw’s communication with listeners in “Promised Land” strikes a different cord. The dark beat and Shaw’s soulful howl underline our world’s current climate of inequality.
“I really enjoy writing from the perspective of the underdog, whoever that may be. It’s a subject that resonates with me and one that I feel confident in speaking on. I think we all feel like the underdog in some way, shape, or form from time to time in our lives. ‘Promised Land’ took on another life to me though as social media began to shine a spotlight on the racial inequities and injustices that have been so insidiously woven into the fabric of our society,” Shaw said.
“In many ways, black and brown people are the ultimate underdog in this country and that needs to change now. I stand with the Black Lives Matter movement and am actively working on ways to further facilitate meaningful change in my community. Hopefully, this song can be an amplifier for that voice. The voice of change. The voice of justice. The voice of the people.”
Clearly, David Shaw isn’t afraid to make his voice heard. After “Shaken” and “Promised Land” we can’t wait to see what Shaw will do next.
Find out more about David Shaw here, and check out Shaw’s pants from the 2017 Okeechobee festival, now displayed in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, below. (They’re featured alongside items from Beyonce, The Weeknd, and Harry Styles!)
Cover Photo Credit: Alysse Gafkjen