Award-Winning Musician Shawn Hook Takes Us Home

Shawn Hook is a celebrated singer-songwriter who comes from a long line of West Kootenay musicians – in fact, his grandfather’s guitar is on display at the Doukhobor Discovery Centre in Castlegar. Born Shawn Hlookoff in 1984, he started playing piano through the Royal Conservatory at age four and then in high school spent his time between minor hockey at the Castlegar Community Complex and playing in bands. He even won a battle of bands competition in Trail 2004.

After high school Shawn studied engineering at the Selkirk College in Castlegar and formed Shag, a popular disco band made up of music alumni, instructors, and students from the college. Eventually, though, he moved away to follow his dreams as a musician and now splits his time between Los Angeles and Vancouver. He’s currently working on his seventh album and expects to release a new single this Spring. We caught up with Shawn to ask him some questions as part of our monthly series that celebrates and showcases local artists.

Hey Shawn. Thanks for taking the time. What did you like best about growing up near Castlegar? ​

I grew up playing minor hockey in Castlegar. Some of my best memories were playing games at the complex and going on tournament road trips with teammates. I’m thankful for the life-long friendships I made and that I continue to maintain with friends in the area.

Have you always been musical?

Yes. My family was very musical. Particularly my uncle and my grandfather. In fact, my grandfather’s first guitar is currently on display at the Doukhobor museum in Ootischenia. My parents enrolled me in piano lessons at a young age and I never really stopped my musical journey.

How many albums have you released now? How would you describe the evolution of your sound?

I’m currently working on my 7th Album, including EPs. I think my sound has evolved a lot from my early days when I was trying to find my voice. A lot of that time was spent experimenting with sounds from bands and artists that I liked listening to, such as Coldplay, Jon Mayer and U2. Very early in my career I had a lot of rock influence in my music but that wasn’t really my forté as a songwriter and singer. I’ve always loved listening to big anthemic songs with dynamic production and a singalong-able melody. I feel like I’ve evolved into a mix of multiple genres from electronic and soul to pop and rock. To me though, my song writing has been rooted in songs that I can perform and sing on piano. You can dress up a song a million different ways, but the best songs work when they’re presented in their rawest form.

You’ve won, and been nominated for, multiple awards including a Juno for Breakthrough Artist of the Year. What do all these accolades mean to you?

Accolades from my fans and peers mean the most to me. I’ve been nominated for the Juno Fan choice award a few times as well and I’m proud of that. There are so many talented artists and songwriters in Canada and for me, growing up in a small town and to receive some recognition on our country’s biggest stage, makes me proud of where I’m from and gives me some affirmation for taking a leap at chasing my dream long before I had a career.

Your song and video for “Take Me Home” is both foot-stomping and tear-jerking at the same time. We love it. What was the inspiration?

I wrote that song in Nashville, Tennessee, previous to the 2020 pandemic. At the time, I was travelling a lot and had been working all over the globe on songs for my new EP. I was splitting my time between Vancouver and LA and only getting to see my family a few times a year and in that moment I was longing for being home. I’m so thankful I get to pursue my dream and follow my passion, but the trade off is it’s taken me away from the people I care about most. That song embodies the feeling of identifying with my roots and longing for being home. I was really proud of the music video that we shot all around the Kootenays in areas that hold a lot of sentimental value to me.

Shawn was one of dozens of Canadian musicians, actors and luminaries who took part in the ArtistsCAN “Lean On Me” project in which 100% of proceeds when to Canada’s Red Cross and their Covid relief efforts. You can first spot him at 3:11 in the above video, which also features Justin Bieber, Sarah McLachlan, and Geddy Lee.

When are we going to see you here in the Kootenays again?

Hopefully sooner than later. The pandemic has destroyed the live music industry in Canada. A lot of men and women have lost their jobs. and it’s going to take a while for the industry to bounce back. But when it does, the Kootenays might just be my first stop for a concert.

Where can people find more information about you and your music?

My website is and there you’ll find links to my music as well as videos, photos, and social media links.