Meet the new kid on the block. Introducing Shawn Kyler, the multi-talented Vancouver urbanite who’s settled back in Manila to make it big.
Step into the big world of Shawn Kyler, the Canadian-raised wonderkid who has settled back into Manila with big dreams to boot. This young marvel dances, plays music, and has impeccable taste in rap.
The twenty-one year old newcomer lived most of his life in Pittmeadows, a quaint city in Southwest British Columbia. The quiet of his city edged Shawn towards the Metropolis: Vancouver, where he soaked up the urban culture as a barista. His time in Canada has allowed Shawn to hone his talents, and now he’s full to the brim with skills he plans to share.
Learning to play guitar at the age of seventeen, Shawn wants to take his affinity for music even further and produce hip-hop beats for the local scene. On top of that, he also dabbles in different kinds of dance, taking inspiration from the late and great Michael Jackson. With all these abilities, it seems like Shawn can do it all, and he’s ready for even more. Read on to find out how one of the city’s latest talents is getting acquainted with his new home.
Hey Shawn! You’re quite new to the city. When did you arrive, and what’s been keeping you busy lately?
I arrived May 14th! I’ve been hella busy reconnecting with family and old friends. Going out for drinks and eating. Lots of eating. I have to work twice as hard when I go to the gym now!
Tell us a little bit about Vancouver. How is it different, and how is it similar to Manila?
Vancouver is one of the most expensive places to live. I think it’s because of the fact that everything is so close. Beaches, mountains, malls, pubs, and clubs! In the morning, I can go swimming or boating in a beach, then drive up to the mountains to bike, hike, or snowboard. Then, I might shop a bit and finish the night off clubbing.
That’s what sets Vancouver apart, in my opinion. I thought I’d miss the amazing food in Vancouver but Manila is definitely up to par or, dare I say, even better when it comes to food — at a much lower cost . The party scene in Manila is pretty similar to Vancouver too, but Manila parties harder for sure, and longer. And as for the crowd, both Vancouver and Manila have amazing people. Super kind and openhearted people.
What are some of the changes you’ve had to make since moving?
Obviously, the heat was a huge change for me. From wearing jackets and hoodies (my favorite) to wearing t-shirts and shorts. I always have a handkerchief on me now. Always. Layering is huge in Vancouver. Now that I’m in Manila the idea of layering sounds insanely hot, and sweaty, and I don’t even wanna think about layering.
I’ve had to get used to riding tricycles and Ubers. Vancouver doesn’t have Uber yet. Uber is dope, and way cheaper than Vancouver taxis, so I love it.
How long have you been making music? Tell us how you got into the guitar.
I’ve been making music since I was 17, so around 4 years now. I originally started making hip-hop beats but that was super difficult. I decided that before I fully learn producing, I should learn how to play other instruments like the guitar/drums. I’m not too good with the guitar yet but we all start somewhere! And I always loved the idea of being able to just pick up a guitar and jam. Extra pogi points.
We love the playlist you shared with the Bench Blog! What to you is good music? What do you love about rap?
To me, good music is a balance of many things. For example, if the lyrics aren’t up to par, then the beat better go hard. If the beat isn’t good, the flow or delivery of the lyrics better be unique and strong. Rap is an amazing genre. So versatile and so much to dive into. There are so many genres within the rap genre itself. A rap song for every mood. Hip-hop songs for when I’m in my feels, when I wanna turn up, when I want to study, even when I want to sleep! What I think sounds good, someone might dislike, and vice-versa. So I try to respect all genres of music.
Tell us about your dancing. What kinds of dance are you into?
Dance is my first love, I saw Michael Jackson dance so beautifully in his live performance of Billie Jean on video. I ended up copying his moves and style. One day I performed in front of my school and that’s where I fell in love with dancing, and performing in general! After copying MJ, I really got into dubstep and popping, and then I moved over to hip-hop. Now I just love freestyling and doing whatever I feel is good. It’s not exactly hip-hop because I mix in a lot of random moves and gestures that I see from other styles.
From the stage to the dance floor, what’s your favorite thing to wear on a night out?
I love wearing simple with a bit of character. For example, plain t-shirts with the sleeves folded and black or blue jeans, ripped and pinrolled. I rip my own jeans sometimes when I can’t find ripped jeans in the color I want. For shoes, I’ve actually been leaning towards all velcro-strapped shoes or slip-ons. Dad caps are optional.
Follow Shawn on Instagram @shawnkyler