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 August 1, 2020, the views are well over 7 million.
Since February, 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, 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.
“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 have also worked with a professional recording studio to put together their debut album, which is expected to be released in the fall of 2020.
They will be appearing 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 Utah.