Tuesday, October 19, 2010


13 year-old Actor/Singer Shaheen is onto something special.  Since stunning the world virally with his jaw-dropping audition on Britain's Got Talent before a skeptical and then impressed Simon Cowell, the spotlight has been on the brilliant boy from Wales.  Appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Oprah Winfrey and even a spot on the late Michael Jackson's ill-fated This Is It Tour have solidified the fact that the world is ready to embrace its next big international teen sensation. 

Now ready to unleash his eagerly-awaited debut album When I Come of Age from Island Records/Universal Music on November 22, 2010, the adorable Shaheen took a few moments out of his busy schedule to chat with Mr. Will-W.:Pop Maven readers.

Mr. Will-W.: Hi Shaheen, thanks for dropping by to chat with us as we're honoured to be one of the first outlets  in Canada (and first Canadian Blog) to feature you!  Now we're all excited to hear what's on When I Come of Age. What can you tell us about this first album and why have you decided to release two singles at the same time?
Shaheen: My album is important to me; it’s not like all the other albums that are coming out, its not very poppy and sounding the same as a lot of other tracks out there. It’s got kind of a Motown/contemporary feel to it. We decided to release Last Train Home/Hip Teens as a Double A-side because they show how versatile I can be. Last Train Home is a great ballad and Hip Teens is faster and a lot of fun. I hope everyone will get involved in my new competition to star in my video for Hip Teens. It’s for anyone who loves to dance. Check out my website for more details.

Mr. Will-W.: Many people don’t know that in addition to being a very talented singer, you also act. Both are very different. Describe how they are different for you. Do you prefer one over the other?
Shaheen: I prefer singing more but acting is something I’ve done and I wouldn’t mind doing again but right now I’ll concentrate on the album and what’s happening now and then possibly one day go into acting or something. I’d like to be in movies maybe. My favourite actors are Eddie Murphy and Jim Carrey.

Mr. Will-W.: Tell us about growing up in Wales. What is the music scene like there and what are your earliest memories of music and performing?
Shaheen: My earliest memories probably have to be when I was in stage school and every Christmas we’d be asked to get like a group of us together and go and sing in the local garden centre and I remember one year I got picked to do a solo and that was my earliest memory, growing up in Wales is just the same as growing up anywhere else, I’ve just always grown up with music because that’s just what I’ve always loved. My favourite Welsh singers are Tom Jones obviously, Katherine Jenkins and The Stereophonics.

Mr. Will-W.: I almost forgot that Tom Jones is Welsh also!  My Mom loves him.  What is your voice maintenance regime like? Are there any tricks you do to keep your voice in amazing shape?
Shaheen: I drink Manuka honey in hot water and extreme conditions I gargle salt water but don’t try it because it’s disgusting!

Mr. Will-W.: What was it like performing in front of a really brutal and honest panel of judges, including Simon Cowell, on Britain's Got Talent?
Shaheen: It was scary especially when you’ve gone from just not really performing in front of a lot of people to massive stage with the three biggest judges ever in front of you, it was scary but it was worth it obviously and I wouldn’t change anything that happened that day.

Mr. Will-W.: Pop Music has a few fresh faces right now like Justin Bieber and Grayson Chance. Although you are all unique, where do you see yourself in the big picture and do you feel your music targets a different audience than these idols?
Shaheen: I’d like to see myself just as big as them with as many fans hopefully, with the music on my album I try to appeal to everybody because there are some tracks that are quite Motown there are some that are quite contemporary, there’s a different feel on there it’s a bit of a mix.

Mr. Will-W.: You had the wonderful honour of performing at Michael Jackson’s televised memorial alongside Mariah Carey and Usher. What can you tell us about that experience?
Shaheen: It was a very, very overwhelming experience which meant a lot so much to me for me being able to go there and not only just watch the whole memorial but to actually perform there it was an absolutely surreal experience which I will remember for ever and ever.

Mr. Will-W.: How did it feel when you had been invited to join the This Is It Tour?
Shaheen: When I found out that he wanted me to sing with him on his tour I couldn’t believe it, I mean come on Michael Jackson, not just anybody, Michael Jackson wanted me to sing with him on his tour on his LAST ever tour, which sold out on the first day the tickets went on sale it was unbelievable that I was asked to do that.

Mr. Will-W.: How did you react when you were told?
Shaheen: I was shocked I just didn’t know how to feel to be honest it was an amazing feeling that he wanted me to but I was just completely in shock to think that I was good enough to do that!.

Mr. Will-W.: What did all your friends say?
Shaheen: They were shocked too I mean my friends are really supportive they’ve always been there throughout as someone to talk to.

Mr. Will-W.: With your career now taking much of your time do you ever feel homesick and is there anything you ever miss about being home?
Shaheen: Sometimes you feel homesick when you just want to go home and you just want to get into your own bed and stuff but the thing I miss most about home is like because I live in Swansea its not that big so just knowing that your family is only like 5 or 10 minutes away from yo can just go there whenever you want.

Mr. Will-W.: We’d love to see you perform in Canada. Are there any plans for you to visit us over here?
Shaheen: Not at the moment but hopefully if you want me to come then we’ll have to see what we could do!

Mr. Will-W.: Of course we do, Shaheen!  Tell us what’s on your iPod.
Shaheen: On my iPod I have a lot of Céline Dion, I have a lot of whatever is current at the moment so I just go to iTunes and like download the top five, I also have some musical soundtracks stuff like that. At the moment I really like Start Without You, Alexandra Burke’s new song and I don’t know if it’s in the charts at the moment but I like Billionaire (Travie McCoy ft. Bruno Mars).

Ah, Céline - a national treasure in Canada.  Amazing. Thanks Shaheen for taking the time to chat with us.  We wish you all the best with your debut album When I Come of Age and we will be sure to give it a listen next month.
In addition to some exciting Shaheen Giveaways to come on Mr. Will-W.:Pop Maven soon, he would like to give you all a chance to star in his first Music Video for Hip Teens.  To learn more details, visit here.  Check back for more details on Giveaways from Shaheen!

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