By Morgan James
Recording artist and Actor, Shawn Don, has paved his way into an early career in the music and television arenas, achieving incredible successes through hard work, a positive attitude, and a spirit of giving back to his Coachella Valley community. With several roles in shows on MTV and ABC Family over his teens and early twenties, Shawn continues to energetically push forward and create opportunities for himself, including a new album and development of his own television docuseries about his life and being a musician. Through his experiences in television and music, this entrepreneur has already collaborated with several big names including Snoop Dogg and John Legend and Don embraces each opportunity as a learning experience and as a stepping stone for what’s to come in his exciting career. A Coachella Valley native, Shawn looks to lift this valley up and into a world spotlight and give back by passionately supporting and mentoring other performing artists. With the support of a loving family and now an impressive, professional team behind Shawn Don, the ball keeps on rolling and it doesn’t seem that even the sky has a limit.
MJ: As a teenager you landed an opportunity with MTV. How did that come about and what have learned about acting on television from that experience and since?
SD: “There weren’t many opportunities in the desert, so I just started reaching out to any and every lead I could. MTV got wind of some of the moves I was making and wanted to build with me. They gave me the opportunity to do my first show and it took off from there. I got the chance to do 4 other shows on that network afterwards. So I’m grateful to MTV for giving me a start which would eventually lead to me starring on a TV series on ABC Family and more.”
“Nowadays, music and TV really go hand-in-hand so it’s been a natural move for a recording artist like myself to continue doing TV. I love television because it gives you a platform so you can project your message and brand on a bigger stage. I’ve learned to be careful with that platform because it’s a privilege and I don’t want to abuse it or waste it. I’ve also learned the importance of parlaying the success of one TV show into another so you can stay relevant. I think Coachella Valley native, recording artist Aubrey O’Day, has done an amazing job at this with all the TV shows she has done. That same concept of parlaying parallels into the business industry and I look up to another Coachella Valley native, entrepreneur Nachhattar Chandi, for his ability to parlay one successful business into another and another to now own a massive business conglomerate, Chandi Group USA. And lastly, another Coachella Valley native, boxer Timothy Bradley was able to parlay fight after fight into a huge one with Manny Pacquiao. It’s not that simple getting a fight with Pacquiao, let alone winning it. So props to all these locals who are out there winning and paving a way for the rest of us!”
MJ: With the television experience of almost 10 years under your belt, what projects are you currently working on?
SD: “The most recent show I did was on ABC Family and it was a full 12 episode season. We initially took “Pretty Little Liars” time slot and they had the biggest time slot on television for millennials, so we were pretty pumped about that. After the success of that show, I was just cast on another major network show that I can’t talk about yet but it will be out soon. And then we’ll finish up development on my show “Life of Shawn,” a docuseries about my life and being a musician.”
MJ: Was there a defining moment in your life when you decided to follow your passion for music? When did you realize that you had major potential for success?
SD: “I started pursuing music at the end of high school when my passion for it really grew. I starred on a TV show called “Making the Next Hit” with Lil’ Wayne and he chose me as a finalist even though I was up against some stiff competition. At that point, I felt like I had a shot if I could get recognized by Lil’ Wayne even though I was just a beginner. And I competed in that show against other would-be celebrity musicians like Tyga, so that really pushed me to step it up.”
MJ: Tell me about your latest album and also about your impressive new publicity and management team?
SD: “My new album is called Game 7 and features people like Snoop Dogg, DJ Mustard, Clyde Carson, Joe Moses, and more. My radio single off of it is called “Leave Your Mind” and specifically features Snoop. It was fun to work with people like DJ Mustard who is arguably the biggest producer in the game right now. I had just gotten off touring across the country at venues like The Venetian/Palazzo in Vegas and I wanted to get back out on tour, so I wanted new material to push and that’s when Game 7 was born. I wanted to put out some quick music for the tour and radios and I’m hoping to drop a few more tapes in 2017. ABC now handles my publicity and Nick Cannon’s team handles my management, so I’m excited about what my next music project and press will be like with this new team behind me.”
MJ: What has it been like collaborating with superstars like Snoop Dogg, John Legend, and Kurupt? Can you share what you have learned from these experienced performers?
SD: “It was a super humbling experience working with legends like Snoop Dogg, John Legend, and Kurupt. John Legend alone has nine Grammys. These guys are so talented and make me want to be better. The underlying themes amongst these three artists are hard work, talent, and consistency. These guys don’t have super powers; they’re just guys who put some hard work behind their talent. They don’t give up. You never know when your moment will come, so you gotta work like every moment IS your moment.”
MJ: Who inspires you and influences your life and career?
SD: “My parents, sister, and God have influenced me the most. They’ve been with me from the start and will be with me to the end. They give me reason to wake up every morning and go and get it. I do this for them. I also do this for my community. That’s why I’ve invested so much here and am still physically here. Michael Jordan makes Chicago dope. Drake makes Toronto dope. So let’s make the Coachella Valley dope ourselves. Let’s stop complaining it’s dead here, let’s stop moving away to bigger cities, and let’s put our community on the map for something other than being a retirement community. Our community is only as great as we are, so let’s make it happen together.”
MJ: What are your goals for the immediate future?
SD: “I’ve done appearances and performances everywhere across the country and this valley, but the one show I haven’t done yet is Coachella Fest, which is obviously the holy grail of shows. That would be an honor and a blessing to perform there in the immediate future, especially since I’m an artist from the Coachella Valley…..and I even got a song called “Coachella.” So hopefully Paul Tollett, Skip Paige, and Gopi Sangha read CV Weekly!”
MJ: How about long term career goals?
SD: “Continue doing TV and movies, putting out radio singles, growing the team, collaborating with other major artists, and try to get that major door open whether it’s a co-sign or a breakout single. More importantly, my overall long-term goal is to continue serving my family and this valley because legacy outlives fame.”
MJ: Where can our readers see you perform next? Where can we keep updated with all that you are achieving?
SD: “I’m the headlining performer at BB Ingle’s New Year’s Eve Masquerade Party at the Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs. You can buy tickets at www.PartyWithBB.com to come see me perform and have a good time! With or without me, BB’s parties are always lit so you’d be missing out if you’re in the desert and didn’t go. I heard tickets go up in price, so if you’re planning to go, you might as well buy early.”
“Please follow me on social media and check out my music available everywhere (i.e. YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, etc.). I got love and respect for everyone out here trying to make their dreams come true and I want to see us all win. Hit me on social media and let me know if there’s anything I can do to serve any of you in anyway. God bless.”