(By: Angela McLean)
Meet 23-year-old singer/producer/DJ extraordinaire, Shaun Frank. You may recognize him from one of his many collaborations with artists like Oliver Heldens, KSHMR and Borgeous, or from one of his many festival sets at the likes of VELD, Paradiso, Escapade and Bestival Toronto. His latest single, “La La Land,” with DVBBS and Delaney Jane is on the fast track to becoming one of the summer’s hottest dance tracks. Take a la la listen for yourself and you will see why Frank is being dubbed one of Toronto’s most promising up-and-coming EDM artists.
RUtv News met up with Shaun Frank backstage at Bestival Toronto and we chatted about his early beginnings in the industry, performing for 50,000 people and his long list of upcoming records.
We’re here at Bestival Toronto! What, or who, are you most excited for?
I’m most excited to play to my hometown crowd. I did Bestival Toronto last year and it was amazing and this year the electronic lineup is so dope. I’ve never played with Madeon and Porter Robinson before and they’re some of the artists that really got me into this music so getting to play right before them is awesome.
What were some of the first festivals you went to and how were those experiences?
When I was 14, I went to my first festival, which was Warped Tour. Then, I was in a band, The Envy, and I actually got to be on the Warped Tour! That was really cool because it’s a festival that travels so we did like 40 shows. Then, I started doing some festivals in Asia and those were crazy.
How did you transition from being the frontman of a band to being a DJ?
Right near the end of my touring days with The Envy, dance music was really getting big and I was having a lot of artists reach out to me to sing on their records. I went on tour singing with a couple of DJs and the whole excitement for dance music reminded me of when I discovered punk-rock music. There was moshing, tons of energy and a big family vibe. I felt that again when I started attending some of these dance music-centric festivals and I was like, this is where the vibe is and I want to be a part of this. I started putting together records and that’s how it happened.
Last year was a breakout year for you with the release of smash singles like “Shades of Grey” with Oliver Heldens and “Heaven” with KSHMR, and that success has continued into 2016. Have you had time to process it all?
It’s funny because I’ve been touring pretty consistently through 2015 and 2016, but what’s happening now, which is crazy, is that I’ve been playing these songs like “Heaven” and now my new one “La La Land” and the club is freaking out. When I first started, I would have my original stuff and I would have to find where it would fit in my sets because people wouldn’t know it. Now, the original music brings the biggest moments in the set and that’s the best feeling ever.
Was there a moment in all that when you truly realized, “Oh wow, things are changing?”
I jumped up on stage with the DVBBS guys at Ultra Music Festival this year with Delaney Jane and we played our new track “La La Land” and the whole crowd of like 50,000 people was singing it back. It had only come out a week before, so it was like, wow, this is reacting really quickly. It was so cool to see.
How did you and Delaney Jane meet?
She moved in next door to me and she was at my house playing piano and singing one day and I was like, “Holy, you have an incredible voice!” There was actually an artist from France that was looking for a vocal and I was going to sing but I said to Delaney, “Maybe you should sing it.” So, we wrote it together and she sang it and it got signed to Spinnin’ Records. Then, I was like, “For my next record, let’s do it together.” The rest is history! Now, she’s on four of my records.
Are there any artists you have on your radar for a possible collaboration?
I’ve always been a huge Tove Lo fan but I’m really looking for the ones that I haven’t heard of yet. I just wrote a couple of songs with this artist named Ashe who is from Nashville. Her voice is sick yet no one really knows who she is and I think it’s so cool to help another artist come to life.
You recently released a special live studio version of “La La Land” with Delaney and DVBBS. Can fans expect more of that stripped-down performance style?
I actually just did a new live version of “Heaven” as well. I want to do that with every record and I want to change it up every time. There’s some records coming up that have bigger moments in them and I actually kind of want to bring a live band in and do a full live performance of it.
What’s next for you?
I have a new record coming out called “Get Away with Murder” featuring Ashe. I feel like it has this really original vibe to it, so I can’t wait to get that out. I’ve got a bunch of other records coming out too. I’ve been working with Tiësto on a record, I have a record with Steve Aoki coming out, I wrote on the next Chainsmokers single and I also have a collab with them. I’m going to be singing on [more of] my own records as well. Lots to look out for!