Interview: With “Be Like You,” Tyler Shaw Takes on Love from a Fresh, Raw Perspective

Tyler Shaw © Young Astronauts
Tyler Shaw © Young Astronauts
Radiant and raw, Tyler Shaw’s soaring pop anthem “Be Like You” captures love and longing in an intoxicatingly intimate upbeat upheaval.
 follow our Today’s Song(s) playlist

Atwood Magazine Today's Songs logo

Stream: “Be Like You” – Tyler Shaw




I wasn’t seeing a lot of people who looked like me or had a similar story or background as me on the same shows, tours or broadcasts. Pop was, and still is, heavily dominated by white artists.

Radiant and raw, Tyler Shaw’s latest single is an intoxicatingly intimate upbeat upheaval. Nostalgia and heartache come to life in “Be Like You,” a soaring pop anthem of love and longing. We often don’t fully appreciate who (and what) we have until it’s too late – and by then, all we can do is stand on the sidelines of our own memories, soaking in the embers of a faded, long lost intimacy.

Be Like You - Tyler Shaw
Be Like You – Tyler Shaw
I know I should have asked you to stay
Should’ve fought a little harder
When you said you need space
I know I, maybe I held you too close
And when we started to fade out
I fell in love with your ghost, yeah
Took some time, but I’m finally feeling alright
‘Til somebody said your name

Released May 14, 2021 via Aisle 13 Inc / Sony Music Canada, “Be Like You” is Tyler Shaw’s third single of the year and the latest release off his forthcoming third album, due out later this year. With 7 top ten singles in Canada and counting, the multi-platinum recording artist from Coquitlam, British Columbia has been an ever-present force in North America’s mainstream market for nearly a decade now; a multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter who writes and produces for himself and others, Shaw’s collaborative history includes Avril Lavigne, Nelly Furtado, Fefe Dobson, Ross Lynch, Ryland James and  Olivia Lunny – but his solo career speaks for itself. 2018’s sophomore album Intuition garnered millions of global streams and spawned the hits “With You” and “To the Man Who Let Her Go,” among others.

2020 saw Shaw creating and spearheading ArtistsCAN, a collective artist initiative raising funds for COVID-19 relief in Canada (the project garnered over 10 million streams globally and was the #1 most added single in Canada). Coming into 2021, Shaw has placed a renewed focus on his own art – and as he looks ahead toward his third full length release, he also finds himself looking back on a career full of special milestones and accomplishments.

“There are so many moments I’m proud of in the 8+ years I’ve been active in the music industry,” he reflects. “I would say I’m most proud that I broke through and stuck with my passion, because this isn’t an easy business and you have to tough your way through a lot of obstacles. I think some of the stand out moments for me would be performing at The JUNO Awards (the Canadian equivalent of the Grammys), to singing in front of dignitaries like Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. When I think back on where I’ve been, I can picture some incredible moments on tours when I see faces in the audiences crying and screaming my lyrics at the top of their lungs, reaching their arms out for my hand. That is such a powerful feeling and I cannot wait to get back out on the road and share my new music. It’s both an adrenaline rush and emotional experience.”

Tyler Shaw © Young Astronauts
Tyler Shaw © Young Astronauts

While he’s still proud of his first two records, Shaw says his forthcoming third album (release date TBD) takes things to the next level.

“This album is by far one of the most important bodies of work I’ve ever put out. Given the global situation we’re all in, I recorded the bulk of this project in a state of lockdown. I connected with a lot of new writers and producers virtually and it’s probably the most hands on I’ve been with an album because of the circumstances. I experimented with new sounds, and really pulled together an album I’m proud of from top to bottom. There was a lot to live up to following the success of my last album, but I pushed out all of that pressure and welcomed challenges and new perspectives. I’m eager to share it with the world and reach new places beyond my home country.”

“I would love to say I wrote a specific song about a specific moment, given all that has happened in the last year – and it has been a lot,” he adds. “But the fact is I pour my heart into my music from an introspective place.  I didn’t write any one about specific circumstances; as an artist my background and passions influence everything I do.”

And when you walked in the room
Hand in his hand
Only took a minute to bring it all back
I wish I could be like you
Falling for somebody new
I’m alone in my head, hole in my chest
Praying that you could love me instead
I wish I could be like you
Falling for somebody new

Shaw is arguably already an A-level artist in many respects, but 2021 has already felt like a new kind of breakout for him – artistically and commercially. Much of that has to do with the sheer intrinsic strength of his songs; the intimate, devoted ballad “When You’re Home” made an immediate impact in January, and the bouncy, driving “North Star” found Shaw firing on all cylinders in April.

“Be Like You” embraces a similar upbeat, dynamic, and invigorating stadium-sized pop aesthetic – but Shaw is quick to explain how his new collection incorporates a wealth of sounds and speeds. “I think of my album as a road trip soundtrack because it covers a little bit of every emotion and feeling from what I’ve experienced over the last few years since my sophomore album INTUITION in 2018,” he says. “I didn’t want to paint myself into a corner for only writing and performing acoustic love ballads. I found balance in my sound and I’m so proud of this new album. There’s tempo records and more heartfelt balladry throughout the project but it’s really my vocals and lyricism that binds everything together. I’m most interested in connecting with human emotions and my audience with this project.”

Tyler Shaw © Young Astronauts
Tyler Shaw © Young Astronauts



Shaw brings our innermost visceral emotions to life with stunning finesse in “Be Like You.”

He sings full of heart and soul, weaving listeners through a bittersweet, relatable story of desire and appreciation for someone who’s already come and gone from our lives.

I wish I, wish I could hate you so bad
But under the surface, you were the best that I had
And sometimes I wake up thinking you’re next to me
I keep on staring at the empty side where you used to be
Took some time, but I’m finally feeling alright
‘Til somebody said your name (Ooh)
And when you walked in the room
Hand in his hand
Only took a minute to bring it all back
I wish I could be like you
Falling for somebody new
I’m alone in my head, hole in my chest
Praying that you could love me instead
I wish I could be like you
Falling for somebody new

“I’m known for writing love songs and ballads, often from my own experiences,” Shaw tells Atwood Magazine. “Going into this writing session I wanted to write a song about love from a new perspective. I co-wrote the song with Sam Merrfield (Lewis Capaldi, Calum Scott) virtually last Fall. This is almost my version of “Somebody Like You” by Adele. It’s about seeing a relationship from a different lens, in that the couple has broken up and one of the people has moved on. The tempo and production really embodies that rush of emotion and adrenaline you feel when you run into an ex-partner and you have a flood of emotion. It’s not jealousy but more introspective, wishing you could move on too. I think a lot of people can relate to the lyrics and the feeling. I’m very excited to perform this one live on a future tour because there’s such an exciting energy about it.”

“Be Like You” is a standout anthem ready to blow out our speakers and fill our hearts full of feeling. Shaw has never sounded better – between his own vibrant vocal performance, his stunningly hot-on-the-mic instrumentals, and the track’s stellar in-your-face production, “Be Like You” truly shines.

And when you walked in the room
Hand in his hand
Only took a minute to bring it all back
I wish I could be like you
Falling for somebody new
I’m alone in my head, hole in my chest
Praying that you could love me instead
I wish I could be like you
Falling for somebody new
Tyler Shaw © The Young Astronauts
Tyler Shaw © The Young Astronauts

As this May has also marks an especially important Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Shaw – a proud Chinese-Canadian whose roots span Hong Kong and Eastern Europe – took a moment to speak up about representation and equality in the music industry. The artist recently featured in Atwood Magazine’s AAPI Heritage Month series, in which we dove deep into topics of culture, identity, and the industry at large.

“There is a lot of work to be done still,” he says outright. “While there have been some initial steps in the right direction, I think we’re only now seeing moments and blips of representation really reflected. Personally, for a long time, a lot of people in the industry didn’t know where to place me or where I fit other than this massive overarching genre of “pop”. I wasn’t seeing a lot of people who looked like me or had a similar story or background as me on the same shows, tours or broadcasts. Pop was, and still is, heavily dominated by white artists. I also think it’s important to address in 2021 that while genres help people understand where an artist fits, it’s just as important to recognize that artists defy boundaries. You can have a Black female artist doing rock and roll music or an Asian artist releasing a rap album. Music is our universal language, and I think our industry has to do a better job of catching up with the times and provide equal opportunity.”

Shaw remains vocal about #StopAsianHate and continues to speak out regularly through his social media channels.

Time will tell what more Shaw has in store for audiences as he gears up to release his third album, but for now, “Be Like You” is here to ignite our passions and keep that last flickering flame alive.

Music is our universal language, and I think our industry has to do a better job of catching up with the times and provide equal opportunity

— —

:: stream/purchase “Be Like You” here ::
Stream: “Be Like You” – Tyler Shaw



— — — —

Be Like You - Tyler Shaw

Connect to Tyler Shaw on
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
📸 © 2021


:: Today’s Song(s) ::

Atwood Magazine Today's Songs logo

 follow our daily playlist on Spotify



:: Stream Tyler Shaw ::


More from Mitch Mosk

Special, Unique, and Dynamic: A Conversation with COIN

Atwood Magazine caught up with COIN during their 2018 headline tour to discuss...
Read More