The Revivalists frontman David Shaw has recently released his first ever solo singles, titled “Shaken” and “Promised Land.” Both singles will appear from his forthcoming solo album, which is due out in 2021 via Yokoko Records/C3 Records.
“Shaken” itself is a rollicking lead single that speaks to those who have ever felt not good enough or different than others. “Shaken” was the first song that was born as Shaw began exploring this side of his artistry for the first time, and quickly became the song it is today, with a message of confronting your fears and insecurities. All of this is illustrated in the acoompanying music video, directed by Kevin Johnson of Hometown Crew. The video shows a young Shaw as he embraces all the parts of him that make him unique, and as Shaw told Substream via email, that concept didn’t quite come at first.
“I was racking my brain trying to come up with something that really spoke to me and was compelling enough to make into a video. That proved to be a pretty daunting task until BOOM. Lightning struck,” he says on the video for “Shaken.” “I originally thought that the video would just be a younger me getting picked on and coming home from school and going straight into the shower to get all my frustrations out to one of my favorite songs, but that idea quickly blossomed into something much bigger when I realized we had a real chance to help people who may have gone or are going through something similar. “Shaken” has got heart and a message and that’s what I really want people to feel when listening to any of my songs.”
Released alongside “Shaken,” “Promised Land” is a searing statement on the growing divide between the have and have-nots, reflecting on the United States’ current handling of racial and systemic injustice, all in the middle of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that further exposes in the inequities in health outcomes along racial and socioeconomic lines. It’s a song that Shaw wanted to write to remind everyone that freedom is only achieved when it can be shared by all — and unfortunately, it’s a song that is just as relevant now as it would have been many years ago.
“The thing about the song ‘Promised Land’ is that it could have been written today or 300 years ago,” Shaw tells us via email. “This is stuff that black and brown people have been going through for centuries and we’re only now just beginning to make bigger strides towards justice. It’s important for white America to realize the obligation we have to these people based on the fact that we are the ones with the privilege and ability to change it from the inside out. I’m just trying to be an amplifier for that voice to be heard. I’ve always believed that music has a unique ability to change someone’s heart, and if you change their heart, you change their mind.”
The two singles are a monumental step for Shaw, branching out from The Revivalists for the first time, and have already proven to be worthy of listening on repeat. While no due date has been announced for the new album — aside from the vague 2021 release announcement — Substream still asked what fans could expect from further music on his release. Shaw explained back, “The making of this album was all about self-exploration and the joy that comes from that. I told everyone from the beginning in the studio that the making of this album and these songs were going to be a special kind of medicine that they and anyone who listens could continuously come back to whenever they’re feeling like they need a pick-me-up. That’s what I needed it to do for me.”
“Some time ago I began to realize how much a certain kind of song, melody, or group of chords could affect my mood and began paying more and more attention to it. Now, I think this differs for a lot of people but if you’re like me, you’re not starting your day off with doom metal. For me, this album runs very deep but feels like it’s always there for you when it all gets to be too much. It’s a good friend to a friend in need.”
Additionally, if you’re in the Cleveland, Ohio area and head to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, you can find a little piece of Shaw there. Currently, a pair of his pants are displayed in the “Right Here, Right Now” exhibit next to items from Beyonce, The Weeknd, and Harry Styles. The pants are from The Revivalists’ appearance at Okeechobee festival in 2017 where Shaw hit his head against some lighting truss while climbing the rafters but still continued the show.