DUBAI: It’s been a good 18 months for Shaun Warner. The Dubai-based Irish music producer dropped his debut album “Shaun Warner & Friends” — which topped several regional iTunes charts — last January; has racked up hundreds of thousands of streams of his music online; and has seen a string of successive singles — starting with “Chasing,” the first from his second album “Stay,” released Friday, June 15 — crack the US Billboard charts (a first for a dance-music artist based in the GCC, he believes) and receive international airplay on radio and television.
“It’s been amazing,” Warner told Arab News. “If you’d told me 18 months ago that I’d have had three or four songs or remixes on the Billboard charts, I’d have laughed at you.”
Like his debut, Warner’s second LP is a set of collaborations with both regional and international artists. The title track features Dubai-based singer-songwriter and producer Hadi Sarieddine, and gets top billing, Warner said, because he enjoyed making it so much.
“I’d never really sat in a room and jammed before,” he told Arab News. “I’d always done my piece (at home), sent it to them to do their piece, and so on, like a see-saw. Whereas with this, I’d go over to his house, maybe take the piano, he’d pick up his guitar… It was my first time feeling like an artist, really. I’d leave the room on a high, like, ‘We created something!’”
The new record is more pop-y than the debut album. That record was written over five years, whereas “Stay” was completed over 12 months and, Warner stressed, “It was a good year. Life’s good. I’m happy.” That’s reflected in the upbeat, radio-friendly vibe.
“In the past, I think I’ve been guilty of trying to be a little bit cool,” Warner said. “Whereas I’m not bothered about that anymore. If I like it, I like it. It was a relief to take that pressure off my shoulders. A good pop song is hard to beat.”
Expectations have been raised considerably for “Stay.” “I set myself three targets for this year back in December: A million streams, a number one album, and make the Billboard charts,” Warner explained.
Six months in, he’s over halfway there on the streams (without even counting YouTube views), cracked the Billboard charts, and you wouldn’t bet against “Stay” hitting number one. Chances are he’s in for another year of writing pop songs.