Tyler Shaw and Coleman Hell on pre-show rituals, performing live, and staying motivated


By Jessica Robinson, Editor-in-Chief

On Sunday, September 4, the SGA hosted a 12-hour concert-and-carnival bash that featured major performances by Canadian talent Tyler Shaw and Coleman Hell.

In the spirit of Welcome Week, we first touched based with Rendezvous headliners Tyler Shaw and Coleman Hell by asking about their own experience at school.

Coleman Hell was quick to explain that he was very involved in school, but didn’t seem to think he was a very good student.

“I was a class clown,” he said. “I was very involved: I was class president, I would throw all these concerts. I would do things to avoid actually having to do real academic things, because I wasn’t the greatest at that part.”

The 27-year-old artist from Thunder Bay, ON (that’s right—even more north than us here in the 705) has always seen making music as being part of the plan. “In my head, I was always dreaming about it at least,” Coleman said. “That’s kind of what I’ve always been blowing off school to do.”

Meanwhile, BC-native Tyler Shaw saw himself as more of a dreamer than a schemer—and ending up in music was more of a happy accident.

“I did my work, but I didn’t put a limit on any kind of fun,” Tyler admit. “I think I had an extreme case of FOMO [Fear of Missing Out]. I would be like, “I have to study…but wait, something’s happening at my buddy’s house? Okay, studying can wait.” So, that kind of sucked. But I passed every course! Which counts for something.”

Shaw originally found himself at the University of Prince Edward Island on scholarship. “Music was just kind of a hobby. I got my scholarship for soccer; I wanted to be a professional soccer player. But then the music thing kind of happened, and I thought, “This is cool, too!” It’s something I’ve aways enjoyed.”

Both Canadian acts have a few things in common; singles with serious radio play, a love for live performing, and their own pre-show rituals.

“[Before a show], we just like to have fun,” Shaw said of his band’s pre-show habits. “You gotta love what you do, and we definitely do. It’s not very stressful. We have a moment right before we go on stage, but nothing crazy. We’ll do a couple push-ups, get the heart pumping.”

Meanwhile, Coleman Hell’s routine is a little more, well, particular.

“I always request a picture of Elaine Benes [from Seinfeld] in my rider, so I can look at her for inspiration,” he said seriously. “I do some vocal warm ups. Me and my band do this thing where we slap our inner thighs really hard before we go on; it just awakens the senses before you hit the stage. Those are my three things.”

Once they’re on stage though, it’s all love. “I love the rush of it,” Coleman nodded. “I like being able to turn my personality to 11 and just being this crazy person for an hour, and not caring about what people think or what’s normal or anything for that hour. It’s just liberating.”

For Shaw, his favourite part is “the people that I perform to. That’s the whole reason for a live performance; you seeing them having fun. You’re playing for yourself, but you’re also playing for other people, so you don’t really think about nerves. You just get excited and it’s like, ‘This is what I was born to do; this is why I’m doing it.’”

Neither seem to have trouble with staying motivated in such a competitive industry, either. “I think I just love doing it,” Coleman shrugged. “It’s something I wake up wanting to do; it’s the only thing I love doing. So it’s not necessarily a matter of being motivated.”

“I feel like the power of positive thinking has gotten me where I am today,” mused Shaw. “Work hard at it; never lose sight of the goal you have in mind. That seems to work for me.”

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Photos by Andrew Watt for the SGA