|Shawn Desman's albums and singles have been selling well ever since he began recording back in 2002.|
Born Shawn Bosco Fernandes, into a Portuguese-Canadian family, he grew up in the Vaughn municipality, northwest of Toronto proper. But as a young kid, music wasn't exactly a big part of the Fernandes household.
"Funny enough, my grandfather, my mom's father, was a wedding singer, so he used to do that stuff, but that's as far as it goes," he said. "I was really the first one after that, who really got into the business.
His brother Danny Fernandes and his cousin Tyler Medeiros are also singers.
"Now it seems like we're the musical family," he said. " It seems like we're the Jackson Five."Â
His inauspicious debut came when he performed a New Kids on the Block song in his Grade 2 talent show, and that's when, he said, something clicked - he knew he wanted to be a singer.
But that didn't quite happen overnight. He continued to pursue a singing career, taking part in more talent shows and working on his dance steps at the same time. He even went on to put out five albums in Portuguese.
It was with the release of his self-titled English debut in 2002, which promptly went gold in Canada, that he hit his stride.
Since then, he's built a platinum-selling career based around his energetic pop and R&B songs, most of which he pens himself. There's also a heavy dose of serious dancing thrown into his live shows, with Desman himself providing some of the choreography.
He is indeed one busy guy, especially these days.
He just released his fourth album, entitled ALIVE, earlier this month, complete with an accompanying film inspired by his music.
He's now on a tour that will bring him to the Kelowna Community Theatre on Sunday.
He also won a Juno award in 2006 for best R&B/Soul recording and the MuchMusic video of the year award in 2011 for the songs Electric/Night Like This.
Even after 10 years into a flourishing music career, he admitted on his website he still feels some apprehension about putting his songs out there.
"I'm always nervous when I release new music," he said. "You never know how people are going to accept it, or are they going to embrace it, or are they going to like it, or are they going to hate it.
"But I've learned throughout the years that you've got to roll with the punches."
He needn't have worried about ALIVE, however.
Desman's already scored hits with the singles Nobody Does It Like You and Dum Da Dum, and this tour should gain him new fans.
With a reputation as one of the nicest guys in the world of popular music, Desman has also lent his hand to the We Act movement, recently performing at its flagship events, the We Days that took place in several cities across Canada.
Designed to be inspirational for school-aged kids, the We Act and We Day concept fits perfectly with Desman's upbeat outlook on life.
A measure of his commitment to positive change, Desman is slated to play at another We Day in Saskatoon later this month, where he'll be joined by the likes of actors Martin Sheen and Mia Farrow, as well as fellow musicians Hedley, and We Day founders Craig and Marc Kielburger.
It's also a way for him to give something back.
"I've been so lucky to continue what I love to do and still be relevant, still be making music that people love after 10 years," said Desman.
"Not a lot of people can say that. There are a lot of pop artists, in this country especially, who have come and gone after a single or two, and I've been able to maintain a healthy track record.
"I might not have said this 10 years ago, but you want more, you want it to be more."
As for the film that goes along with ALIVE, it was a collaboration between Desman and video director RT!, who has worked with Desman before, including their MMVA award-winning effort for Electric/Night Like This.
It tells the story of Liv, a dancer who longs to escape the confines of her small Ontario town.
One day, she meets her idol, Desman, who encourages her to head to the big city to pursue her dreams, no matter the obstacles in the way.
But, while Desman said it's not exactly based on his life story, or his struggles as he worked to forge a career in music, he still wanted to make sure the message was there.
Just like he followed his dream after that Grade 2 talent show, he's hoping the message he's sending will propel others to do the same.
"It's a very inspiring, feel-good story; just like the album," he said. "The main message, which I've always said, is follow your dream, listen to your gut and follow your heart."
"Your gut never steers you wrong - at least mine doesn't."
Who: Shawn Desman live in concert
Where: The Kelowna Community Theatre, 1435 Water St.
When: Sunday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m.
Tickets: $34.50, available online at keynotetickets.com or by calling
More info: shawndesman.com