The singer and actor chatted to Emma Clarendon about his upcoming new album Strong Enough, set for release in July.

Hi Shaun, congratulations on the new album! What can we expect from it? The new album is very personal to me and it’s been a wonderful journey. I’ve gone a lot deeper into my own emotions and I’m allowing myself to be more real and vulnerable through my lyrics and melodies.
The album tackles every aspect of love, from the points of view of spirituality, friendship, and relationships.

You say the aim of the album was to help try and tackle stereotypes with regards to toxic masculinity why did you specifically want to concentrate on this particular issue? It wasn’t actually my intention to do that but, at the same time, I think the album does show that you can be rough and tough while still showing compassion and sensitivity.This album has taken about two and a half years to bring together and I look back and think I really have gone there emotionally. I’m not very good at speaking about my own emotions but when I put pen to paper, it becomes
about expressing myself musically. The sensitive side comes out and it’s such a good thing, almost like therapy for me. Because of this, I wanted to show this other side to masculinity.

Have you a track on the album that you are particularly proud of? I am so proud of this whole album. There are huge tracks on it and I just love it. I love River and Candle. Heath and Soldier are some of my favourites too.
They are big vocal songs and they just really getting to the crux of the matter. There is a real emotion behind the writing of those particular songs.

Given the fact that you are still performing in The Lion King – how on earth did you manage to create an album? It was extremely difficult. I’d get to the studio around 10:00 am and work until around 4:30pm
on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. I have two shows on Wednesday, two shows on Saturday and a matinee on Sunday so on those free days I’d work in the studio. There are times when I’d get to the theatre around 6:00pm and I’d be completely exhausted, but I had to do the show. I am very driven and extremely ambitious; I have goals and dreams and I think that is what kept me going. At the same time, I love what I’m doing. I love working in the theatre, I love writing songs and being able to make albums through my wonderful record label Decca and get my music out there. So, as much as it is hard work, I love doing it, so it’s not just work for me.

What would you say makes music such a powerful way to explore important topics? I think the thing with music is that there is a spiritual element to it. It is the only medium that you cannot stop from being absorbed by your being. For example, you can be walking through the supermarket listening to a song you actually don’t like and still leave the place with the song in your head. Music is one of those things you don’t
have control over when it comes to absorbing it. At the same time, it’s a way of expressing emotions that you can’t actually express yourself;
that’s why it’s so powerful. It’s emotive, it makes you feel certain things, it makes you remember certain feelings and it’s a tool to raise awareness.

By Emma Clarendon

The album Strong Enough is set to be released through Decca Records on the 3rd July.