Going For Gold In The Music Industry: What It’s Like To Be A Singer-Songwriter

Duane Poole, Andy Clark, Shaun Tobar and Jason Dudley

The musician won a gold medal in the Best International Male Album of the Year category for his acoustic record One for the Road at the event in Atlanta, USA.

Shaun, from Bilston, says he was “totally shocked” to receive the accolade, adding: “It shows that we in Black Country can compete in the music world with the best of them!”

His passion for music began when he played in brass bands from the age of 12.

Shaun with his prize

“I later progressed to piano and guitar after a serious car accident and a near-death experience that left me unable to work for a long time. Music was my salvation and my motivation during my recovery.

“Early in my musical career, I led several bands, but it wasn’t until I became Shaun Tobar as a singer-songwriter that I started to focus as an artist.

“I signed to Surgery Records where I released a number of songs which received international recognition. I was nominated 13 times at the Fair Play Music Awards (Holland), twice nominated at the Josiee Music Awards (USA ) and best man nominee at the Radio WigWam Awards (UK),” he told Weekend.

“I’ve played all over the country in my previous bands playing venues in Stoke on Trent, Leicestershire and Liverpool.

“Playing the Kerrang Clothes Show at the NEC in Birmingham was a highlight, as was playing a live session for BBC Radio.

“I’ve played excessively in the Midlands, particularly Birmingham, and have always enjoyed playing locally at Civic Hall in Wolverhampton.

“I recently went back to play Robin 2 in Bilston, which still feels like a homecoming, as it does in my hometown, as well as being a fantastic live venue.”

He describes his current sound as “a blend of blues road house, alternative country and classic rock”.

“I usually create music that can be stripped down and played on an acoustic guitar. The song is the most important thing and the music gives it the feel,” says Shaun, who plays with a band.

“The songs are stories based on experiences, bringing together emotions, meaning and understanding.

“So I invest a lot in the writing and production process by spending hours in the studio to get the most out of the songs.

“My dad and his brothers played in a band in the early 1960s, so music was a huge part of my childhood.

“I grew up listening to early Motown, 60s pop, 70s rock and a whole host of bands during my teenage years. This inevitably influenced my songwriting and the sound I seek.

“However, I love working with the band because it brings together other experiences and ideas as part of the collaborative creative process.”

He began co-writing his award-winning album One For The Road with his wife Tonia in 2021.

“One For The Road is a really laid back album of acoustic songs. The lyrics and melodies are very personal and mean a lot to me.

“The songs work just as well when I play them live with the full band, which goes to show that a good song can work in many ways.

Shaun and his band live

“What I love about a great acoustic song is that the sound has a timeless quality that I hope those who listen to One For The Road can enjoy for years to come,” says Shaun.

“What I love most about writing and performing songs is being in the moment, creating something and being able to express it in a way that connects with others. .

“I love the whole process of writing, recording, producing a song and then performing it live. As a band, we love winning over the audience and the buzz of creating music that has a meaningful to people and that they can appreciate.”

His band was formed 18 months ago and is a family affair with brother Duane Poole on drums, cousin Jason Dudley on bass and childhood friend Andy Clarke on guitar.

“Duane and I played together in Brit Pop band The Daniels in the late 90s, where we performed live on Sky TV’s The Red Room.

“Former Pergau Dam bassist Jason has worked with some of the UK’s finest producers, performing at many prestigious venues across the country.

“Andy on guitar, was trained by an icon and legendary jazz guitarist of the 1960s.

“It’s great to be able to write and perform new material with the band as well as work on my back catalog in the live set,” Shaun told Weekend.

With the band, he is gearing up for a number of local gigs, including the Codsall Beer Festival on October 1.

They are also supporting Terrorvision’s Tony Wright on November 8 at the Giffard Arms and the rescheduled SoundFest at the Newhampton Arts Center in March 2023 where they will raise money for local charity Base 25.

Shaun and the band are also working on new music and planning more gigs for next week.

“I recently stepped away from Surgery Records and in August released my first single with the band called Keep Your Eyes On The Money” which has made a number of international radio playlists and we hope to continue with a new one. single Feelings at the end of summer.

“We also have an EP in production which will be released towards the end of the year. We are now planning concert dates for next year and our ambition is to support more established artists and play at festivals as we are building a fan base in the UK Our dream would be to have one of our songs trending enough to hit the charts, an invitation to play on Jools Holland or the opportunity for a BBC Music Introducing – you can only dream !


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