Shawn Owen flows. His lyrics, chords changes, and creative process all seem to go together in one smooth, fluid movement. His voice has the tonal quality of a classic rock singer, but even when he gets louder, Owen keeps it easy on the ears.
The Annapolis-based singer songwriter names Bob Marley, Sublime, and Jack Johnson as his biggest influences. And it shows in the way he maintains a relaxed (read: chill) demeanor throughout his songs.
But Owen offers more than a laid back “it’s all good” vibe. He puts feelings into his music.
“I try to show as much emotion as I can while performing, to try and get a similar emotional response from the audience,” he says. “I also like to use humor in a show. It’s cool to be all sensitive and emotional and everything, but sometimes people just want to smile and laugh, myself included.”
Owen’s interest in music was sparked early. His first live performance was singing a solo in a 4th grade Christmas play, and he has memories of trying to record himself singing along with the radio using a tape recorder at age eight.
“The first rock band I was in was in 10th grade,” he says. “I sang and played drums for 1s Period Instrumental with a few kids I was in first period instrumental class with. Not the cleverest band name, I know.”
After his post-high school band, Stolen Element, broke up, Owen started playing solo shows. In January, he formed the Shawn Owen Band (alternately known as the SOBs). They’re planning to enter the studio this fall to record his first full length LP.
True to form, the songs on that LP are sure to be a product of Owen’s calm demeanor. Although he describes his creative process as random, with songs coming in the middle of the night or early morning, it’s what works best.
“I struggle when I sit down and force myself to work on song ideas,” he says. “The better ones just seem to flow on their own time.”
Usually, Owen writes his melodies first, and adds the words to match. But he always knows where his songs are headed.
“Normally, I have an idea in mind for the lyrics while starting with the music to get a feel of how I want the song to flow,” he says. “It kind goes back and forth once it’s started.”
From here, Owen just wants to keep the ball rolling. He’s putting his all into his soon-to-be released album, and hopes to break through to the next level of regional and national touring.
“I’ve gotten to play some really cool shows and meet some really awesome people in the 32 years of my life,” he says. “I just want to keep that going as long as possible.”