Toronto Tuesdays: Shad

Hot off a tour, Shad has agreed to make another quick stop here, and I’m so grateful to him for that. I met Shad several years ago at our church. He has a powerful humanity-focused faith that has him speaking truth to power and love to people, both through his art and in his social interactions. He and I co-lead an Artist Collective in The Before Times where I loved to hear him share his thoughts on art and process, fear and faith, life and the human condition. I’m pleased to host him on the blog today.

Welcome Shad!

What’s your favourite creative medium? What draws you to expressing yourself this way?

Songs. Albums… I think I’ve always just been such a fan that I’ve kind of learned more and more about how the medium works and that’s allowed me to find a voice there. I like that there’s space in music for a lot of different feelings and ideas. Even simultaneously. 

What inspires you to create? 

It’s instinctual for me. One of the only activities I like in a pure kind of way. Ever since I was kid, I just liked making stuff up—stories, skits, parody songs, whatever—that might delight or touch people. 

What, or who, is your greatest creative influence?

Probably my faith at this point. I rely a lot on my spiritual practices to help put me in touch with my imagination and my best intentions. I also have to point to the artists that first kinda inspired me and are still in my artistic dna—Lauryn Hill, Common, Black Thought, Outkast, among others. 

What is your favourite time of day to create?

I’m a regular work hours kinda guy. 10-6. 

Which of your creations is your personal favourite, and why?

I like all my creative babies! But I made an album called A Short Story About A War that at this moment at least feels like my favourite I think because it contains some of my deepest ideas.

How do you deal with creative slumps?

I think I’ve come to learn that the magic isn’t always there but you need to show up as much as possible. I try to write as much as I can when I’m on a hot streak but also to keep grinding it out when I’m not because a) some of that material might still be good and b) the grind is how you get to the next hot streak.

Who are you beyond your art? Give us a few insider facts about you.

I’m a husband, a father, a brother, a son, a friend, a lot of things outside of what I make—as we all are. I’m also a big basketball fan, a big tv fan, and an enneagram 9 if that means anything to anyone!

What’s one of the best – or most memorable – questions you’ve ever been asked, and how did you answer it?

Most memorable questions is: “What’s the most important thing that you’ve changed your mind about?” I don’t know if I had an answer in the moment but I remembering thinking that was such a beautiful, revealing question. There’s a lot of issues that I’ve changed my mind about but I think the most important to me personally was when I realized that I don’t need to define myself as an artist. That I can just make the thing I want to make right now and not concern myself with what label hangs over my head. Changing my thinking about that liberated me to focus on the present and my work in the present and it still does. 

What’s something you’re excited about right now? 

I’m excited that I’m done touring! I love it but I’m just a personality that can never be sad when work is done.

Thanks, Shad! Rest up. I’m looking forward to what your next hot streak brings us!

Will you share some links where people can find you?

Folks can find me at:

Instagram: @shadkmusic 

Twitter: @shadkmusic

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