Five Minutes With: Toronto-Based Indie Folk Artist Shawn William Clarke

Shawn William Clarke crafts heartfelt indie folk tunes, skillfully blending storytelling with inventive arrangements. With an extensive tour history that spans Canada, Europe, and his beloved destination, Iceland, Shawn has graced stages at renowned festivals like Melodica and Iceland Airwaves. During the pandemic, he delved into a unique mix of activities, from watching Italian horror films and knitting to releasing homemade music on cassette and exploring his Métis heritage. Currently, Shawn is immersed in the creation of his fourth full-length release, recorded at Curries Music in Gravenhurst, Ontario, with an anticipated release in early 2024.

Shawn William Clarke


Shawn William Clarke




Joined my first band at 16, released my first full-length album in 2010. Somewhere in between!

# of Albums:

3 full length with one more on the way, 3 EPs

Latest Album:

Upcoming Softer Scissors (April 2024)

Latest Single:

Tall Trees

Latest Video:

Favourite musician growing up:

Classic rock (Maybe Led Zeppelin?) until I heard Radiohead in high school.

Favourite musician now:

Tough to say, but Adrianne Lenker is always impressing me. The newest Big Thief songs are amazing

Guilty pleasure song:

The Monster Mash

Live show ritual:

I try to think about Leonard Cohen at the Isle of Wight festival. On stage at 4 am, facing a crowd that had torn down fences & jeered other acts like Kris Kristofferson. But from the moment he gets on stage he is in complete control.

Favourite local musician:

I mostly see local shows, so there are many to choose from. But my friend Jerry Leger just released a great record called “Donlands”, and his album release show was perfection. He’s a hard worker who deserves all the good things in life.

EP or LP?


Early bird or night owl?

Early bird

Road or studio?

Ideally both

Any shows or albums coming up?

The first single, Tall Trees, from my first full-length studio album in 7 years came out January 19th, and I’m really excited about it.

Where can we follow you?

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Bandcamp


Rapid Fire Local Questions:

What is your favourite local restaurant?

Aris Restaurant, on Roncesvalles. Simple breakfast at a reasonable price. Reminds me of being in my hometown of Orillia.

What is your favourite street in your city and why?

Roncesvalles. I’ve lived on this street for 17 years. I have so many favourite shops, restaurants, convenient stores, and on a walk, I almost always run into someone I know. It’s like a small town within the city.

What is your favourite park in your city and why?

High Park. It was integral to my mental health during the pandemic. I would go for long walks every morning, headphones in, listening to something that I’d maybe not given a chance in the past (Celine Dion, Slayer, Tracey Chapman for example). I wrote a song about it called “All is Lost, All is Fine” that you can hear when the album comes out!

What is your favourite music venue in your city?

Cameron House to see music, Burdock to play music.

What is your favourite music store in your city?

Toronto is blessed with lots of great music shops, it’s hard to choose, but I love popping into Tonality Records. They’ve been very supportive of my music and I’ve picked up a few gems there. Special shout out to Vinegar Syndrome, a new store on Roncey that mostly deals with film media, but also have a small curated record collection in the basement.


About Emilea Semancik 89 Articles
Emilea Semancik was born in North Vancouver. Emilea has always always wanted to freelance her own pieces and currently writes for the Vancouver Guardian. She is also a recipe author working towards publishing her own series of recipe books. You can find her recipes on Instagram. @ancestral.foods