A former American Idol contestant has found his voice, won the Ultimate Exposure contest and is now inspiring students around the country to “Live for Music.” Shaun Canon, who was known as Shaun Barrowes when he was on American Idol, says that his style has changed dramatically since the show.
Canon is grateful to the Idol experience, as he said he learned confidence there. “. “Up until that point I had only gotten validation as a songwriter. American Idol made me think I can do it myself.” One of the criticisms he heard from the Idol judges was he sounded too much like Michael Buble. Canon said he had to stop listening to Buble, and he doesn’t get compared to any artist anymore.
Canon was born into a musical family. He started performing when I was 3. His mom was a singer and performs off-Broadway. He said he was influenced early in his life by people like Billy Joel and Sting. More recently, he has gotten into Coldplay. He said he’s always admired the passion of Michael Jackson, Duke Ellington, Danny Elfman, Thomass Neumann and others. “Some of my newer songs definitely reflects my Danny Elfman influence,” said Canon.
Since Canon was on Idol with a different name, he said people don’t remember his name, but do recall his voice after hearing him perform.
Canon recalls he entered the Ultimate Exposure contest, which was sponsored by CJC Music, after seeing a listing on Reverbnation. He said winning the contest connected him with a really good studio and Christa and Eric have been a huge help to him.
One opportunity that opened up as a result of the contest was the video he made for the song, “America The Beautiful.” Now, Canon has another music video for his song, “Live For Music.”
The days of playing for small audiences seem to be a thing of the past for Canon. He said because of Twitter, he can go to the Philippines to do a show and get a really good crowd. Now, he’s hoping to get millions of views on the videos. Although it’s a lofty goal, he’s already off to a good start.
Canon’s fans call themselves Canonites. He communicates with fans personally through social networks.
Canon is currently in his “Live For Music” tour. The tour isn’t geared toward arenas or stadiums, though. It’s geared to give back where help, inspiration and money are needed – schools.
He said the tour raises money for schools. He goes to high schools all around the country and put on a show that includes the school’s drum line. There’s no charge for the schools to bring Canon in. “We actually give them money,” he said. According to Canon, they donate 50 percent of what they make from the show back to the school, which usually comes to about $5,000-$10,000 per show.
Canon knows how important it is for students to have the opportunity. That’s where he was inspired. “I had teachers to inspire me to make first album.” Canon recorded that album at age 16. He said his choir teacher announced it and people started buying my CDs right in the choir. “It also creates a social atmosphere.”
Christa Coir, of CJC Music Associates, said there were a lot of good submissions, but Canon was ultimately selected due to the song. “We felt this song would capture people around the world because music is the universal language,” she said. Coir said she was sold by the lyrics of the song.
Eric Galletta, of Park Hill Music, said the song stuck out from all the others. “We resonated with it in the music industry because we live for music,” Galletta said. He’s working with Canon now and he called Cannon a “talented artist, very creative.”