Mat and Savanna Shaw
During the quarantine of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, father and daughter singing duo Mat and Savanna Shaw created a video that went viral.
The Deseret News shared the beginning of the Shaw’s journey:
- Mat Shaw was working in the backyard when his 15-year-old daughter surprised him with a question.
- “Can you sing ‘The Prayer’ with me?” Savanna Shaw asked her dad. “I don’t want to sing my first song alone.”
- The teenager had created an Instagram account — her first dive into the social media world — to keep in touch with her choir friends amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- For her first post, she was going to sing “The Prayer” — a hopeful song made famous by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli. She had loved “The Prayer” for as long as she could remember. But she was nervous and wanted her dad, who often sings around the house in Kaysville to join her.
- “She wanted me to freshen up,” said Mat Shaw, who at the time was wearing a Brigham Young University ball cap and an old family reunion T-shirt. “I was like, ‘Savanna, your choir friends aren’t going to care what I’m wearing. It’s not a big deal.’”
- So they forged ahead and recorded and posted their own rendition of “The Prayer.” Within a few days, after later posting the video to Facebook, Mat Shaw sent a screenshot to his daughter. He had circled the number of views: 2,700.
As of December 1, 2020, the views were well over 8 million.
Since February 2020, the Shaws have posted several duets on social media, hoping to uplift others during the time of isolation. Mat Shaw said, “The one thing more contagious than a virus is hope and so we’re just doing our small part in the world to spread some hope.”
Their recording studio was their walk-in closet. “A little mic, propped up by a pair of pajama pants, plugs into an iPad. The Shaws practice and record themselves singing in this closet space, away from the daily chaos of home learning. Then, at the kitchen table, they film a video singing along to that recording.”
Although Savanna could sing, she was a shy singer. Some of her good friends did not know how well she sang until they heard her recording. She is passionate about music and joined a youth choir at the Hale Centre Theatre. When choir rehearsals were cancelled because of the pandemic she decided to use social media to share her passion.
Savanna knew her dad could help her in her dream to share her music. He had loved singing as a child and had participated in musical theater and sang in choirs in high school. He attended Weber State University on a vocal performance scholarship, although his major was accounting and after graduating he pursued his real estate business and cared for his growing family. But he sang around the house.
The father and daughter discovered that their voices blended well together. “It’s this similar tone that really you can only get from genetics. … Performing with my daughter is like beyond my wildest dreams.”
The Shaws have been featured on national outlets such as “Good Morning America” and “The Kelly Clarkson Show.”
In May 2020, they caught the attention of Ken Davenport who is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s executive producer in North America. During an interview, the Shaws talked about their love of Broadway and how “The Phantom of the Opera” is a family favorite. Sierra Boggess, who is well known for her portrayal of Christine in the Phantom (and is one of Savanna’s idols), joined the interview. Boggess asked Savanna if she had any questions, and Savanna replied, “I can’t even think straight. I forgot English.” Davenport told her to save her questions for later because he was flying them to New York, putting them in a hotel, and giving them tickets to see “The Phantom of the Opera” when Broadway reopens.
- “You have put such love and such joy and such positivity in the world,” Davenport told the Shaws. “You’ve done obviously such good for so many millions … of people that this is just a little small something to say thank you from all of us on Broadway.”
In August 2020, the Shaw’s announced that they intended to take their music to the next level. According to the Deseret News, the Shaws turned to their fans for help by creating a new platform powered by Patreon called theshawfam.com. This enables fans to continue listening to their music and watching their videos. The Shaws also plan to produce albums and live shows.
On October 12, the Deseret News announced that the daddy-daughter duo had put together their first album, which includes 13 songs. “We’ve been thinking a lot about the direction that we want to take our music, and we are really excited to take this music maybe from like more of a hobby to something more of a career,” Mat Shaw told fans in a video Thursday night. “And it’s because of you guys that we’re able to even be having this discussion.”
The Shaws worked with a professional recording studio to put together their debut album, "Picture This," which was released on October 23, 2020.
They also appeared with the U.S. Army Field Band concert series on August 21 through a livestream concert. Mat Shaw served in the Army National Guard for eight years.
The Shaws are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and live in Kaysville, Utah.
Mat and Savanna Shaw’s Debut Album, Picture This, Has Released
Through the help of their many fans, whom they refer to as TheShawFam, Mat and Savanna have recorded and released their debut full-length album, 13-track album called Picture This. The album was released on most music platforms like Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Google Music, and Amazon Music on Friday, 23 October 2020.
Also on that day, the daddy-daughter duo released their first professional music video, which is the title track of the album. That video has already garnered more than 296,000 views. As a note of interest, "Picture This" is Mat and Savanna’s first original song. They co-wrote the song with their arranger, Stephen Nelson, who joins them on the song "Hallelujah," which is track #11 on the album.
Mat and Savanna, along with wife and mom, Brooke, and the other siblings, Easton, Eric, and Penny Jean, are enjoying the idea of everything being a family affair. In fact, the entire family, with the help of some other family members and friends, addressed and shipped around 10,000 copies of the new CD from their home to their fans around the world.
During a recent Facebook Live, which was held exclusively for their fans on Sunday, 25 October 2020, Mat Shaw announced that the album, Picture This, is the #3 album on iTunes and the #1 album on the Pop Charts. He also announced that He and Savanna will be appearing in concert for two socially distanced holiday shows with GENTRI for their Christmas show, “Tis the Season — A Christmas Concert with Gentri and Friends,” on 5 December 2020, at the Maverick Center in West Valley City, Utah.
Speaking of Christmas, Mat and Savanna also released a Christmas album, "Merry Little Christmas," which has seven songs that will be familiar to almost everyone but has a few twists and some new arrangements. On 28 November 2020, they headlined their first full virtual concert, “What the World Needs Now: An Evening of Music and Inspiration with Mat and Savanna Shaw,” which was directed by Sierra Boggess and produced by Kevin Davenport. They sang songs from the new album, Picture This, as well as songs from their new Christmas album, and their arranger, Stephen Nelson, joined in the fun.
Mat and Savanna also have a new logo and their official website launched on Sunday, 15 October 2020. And, if you would like to send the Shaw family fan mail, their new fan mail address is 285 N. Main St., Ste 654, Kaysville, Utah 84037.
Mat and Savanna Shaw Take the Music Industry by Storm
Mat and Savanna Shaw’s debut full-length album, Picture This, has literally skyrocketed in the music charts. As of Tuesday, 3 November 2020, Picture This is #1 on the Billboard Charts. and #14 on the Rolling Stones Charts. The amazing 13-track album is also climbing the International iTunes charts. The album is #3 in the United States, #7 in the United Kingdom, #6 in Australia, and #44 in Germany. Their Christmas album—their second album—hit no. 1 on the holiday charts and as of November 27, 2020, they had sold 12,000.
On Friday, 30 October 2020, the daddy-daughter duo released their second professional music video. In the music video, they perform a magnificent cover of the crossover country pop song, “I Hope You Dance,” written by Mark D. Sanders and Tia Sillers. The song is listed as the second track on their album.
The album, Picture This, can be purchased on iTunes, Amazon Music, or on the Mat and Savanna Shaw official website.
Mat Shaw previously told the Deseret News, "It means a lot just to be able to be in a position now — especially in the times that we’re experiencing with this pandemic — to be able to share these messages of hope and encouragement through music. Never in a million dreams would we have ever thought that our music would have this kind of impact. That’s been the best part."
One Year Later
One year after their initial viral debut, Mat and Savanna announced the release of their third album, Stand By Me. They also announced a live celebration of the album, a concert at Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City that will also be live-streamed. The Shaws say that the message of this album, and the live concert, is hope, "which has been their main focus ever since performing 'The Prayer' from their kitchen table more than a year ago."
The Shaws have been working with friend and composer/arranger/producer Stephen Nelson.