New York based artist My Friend Shawn is on his way to new musical endeavors, and his “filler arc” is just the beginning.
Stream: ‘filler arc.’ – My Friend Shawn
Hailing from Miami, FL, My Friend Shawn is Daeshawn “Shawn” Ureña.
Releasing singles and mixtapes since 2018, Ureña has not been afraid to explore different topics, sounds, and collaborators. With a wide array of influences, he has been able to make his own unique sound and is finding himself in the New York music scene.
With the topic of who he trusts when collaborating, Ureña says, “The first thing is friends first.” When approached to work on a project he is more interested in getting to know the potential partner before diving into the music. “Can we just grab pizza and like smoke a joint… ‘cuz then we don’t even have to think about the music. It just happens.”
Showing his desire for authenticity, he emphasizes that the meaning of his name is cemented by this ideal of truly being someone’s friend before collaborator. “If you’re gonna say My Friend Shawn, you want your friends to be honest with you… to be able to explain things in a way that you probably never thought of.”
One track that stands out on Ureña’s recently-released record filler arc. is the folk inspired song “recently.mp3,” which was brought to life one early morning when Ureña was staying in Miami.
“I wake up at 5 in the morning, my friend Pierre sends me an instrumental and it was titled ‘recently.mp3,’ and that’s why I called the song that. The guitar starts and then I don’t know what happened. It’s the only instrumental in my life to do this to me. As soon as the drums started, I started sobbing. He and I were on such a similar wavelength that summer.”
Talking about the live version of the track, Ureña mentions that it is him and his band’s favorite song to play in a live setting. When asked if he thinks about how his songs will translate in a live setting he says, “100%. As soon as I hear an instrumental, for example, I hear the entire finished song in my head. As soon as I start writing those lyrics, I hear the harmony stacks I heard, I hear the type of inflections my voice would do. ‘Cause I’ve literally heard my voice so many times and I can instantly just translate it. But then when I come to the live songs or when it comes to translating the hip-hop and the live songs, I’m definitely already thinking about what’s gonna do this, who’s gonna play that, how is this gonna sound, or how are we gonna adapt it.”
Following up the conversation of his live music, we start to talk about his energetic stage persona. When you first meet Ureña, he is a calm and down-to-earth guy. But once he gets on stage, it’s as if he flips a switch. He’s jumping around the stage, throwing his hands up, joining crowd mosh pits, and genuinely having a great time. Going more in depth with what ignites that change he said that he would rush through his schoolwork while in class, throw on his headphones and submerge himself in live performances. Citing performances such as Chance the Rapper at Lollapalooza 2014 and Tyler, the Creator at Camp Flog Gnaw 2018 as influences, he states that their enthusiasm was inspiring. “They love what they’re doing. They don’t even think about what’s gonna happen before, it just happens!”
With filler arc. being a compilation of tracks that Ureña has put out over the past year, we took a look back at My Friend Shawn’s discography and how conscious he was of the evolution. filler arc. has a certain level-headedness to it. Songs such as “take a step back from your phone//” or “if you wanna live, you gotta die!” both have a unique energy. A chill vibe instrumentally, but simultaneously engaging lyrically.
When asked about his sonic evolution throughout the years, Ureña says that he can still enjoy some of his work and see how it would all lead up to the path that he’s on now.
“I definitely feel like I could see the trajectory. I could hear it as soon as I hear “Hoopty” and I go and I listen to “SUMMER” and I listen to “dazed.” They’re all three different mixing styles but I think it’s fun if you look at how it went.”
Ureña mentions that while he is passionate about this project, this isn’t the end goal for him.
He says that My Friend Shawn is the beginning of “working up to the ultimate artist project. My Friend Shawn is the testing ground for an ultimate music endeavor.” He is currently working on his follow up release to filler arc., titled training arc.
From how he talks about it, it’s definitely something to look forward to.
Stream: “TRAILBLAZER” – My Friend Shawn
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© Lui (@luiifilms)
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