Local father and daughter YouTube sensation duo Mat and Savanna Shaw plan virtual concert
What: “What the World Needs Now,” Mat and Savanna Shaw Virtual Concert
When: 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 28
Father and daughter vocal duo Mat and Savanna Shaw wowed Park City donors at a Younique Foundation fundraiser that was held Nov. 5 at the Kimball Terrace.
The duo, known for its video cover of Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli’s “The Prayer” that has garnered more than 7 million views on their YouTube channel, performed live for the event, which raised money to support survivors of sexual abuse.
Since the fundraiser was open to a small crowd due to COVID-19 protocols, only a handful of people were able to see the two in action. Now the Shaws are planning something bigger, and will perform “What the World Needs Now,” a virtual concert at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 28. Tickets for the event start at $35 and are available by visiting matandsavannamusic.com.
The Shaws are looking forward to the performance, which is directed by award-winning Broadway actress Sierra Boggess.
“It will feature showtunes, holiday favorites and pop tunes,” Mat said during a joint phone interview with Savanna. “And everyone gets a front-row seat in their living room.”
Much of the music will be from the Shaws’ debut album “Picture This,” and their follow-up EP, “Merry Little Christmas,” according to Mat.
Boggess, known for her work as Ariel in the original cast of “The Little Mermaid” on Broadway, helped the Shaws come up with a set list and an arc for the performance.
“We will share our favorite songs, and the show will have a few surprises,” he said.
Working with Boggess was a dream come true for Savanna, 16, who idolizes the singer.
“I love her, and I love her even more that I’ve been able to get to know her,” Savanna said. “She is so down to earth and nice.”
In addition to the Nov. 28 concert, the Shaws are also part of the lineup for a virtual celebration on Giving Tuesday hosted by the Younique Foundation on Dec. 1. The virtual concert will also feature performances from artists Lindsay Ell, Meg Myers, The National Parks and Alex Boyé.
All of these performances and YouTube hits wouldn’t have happened if Savanna hadn’t asked Mat to sing with her for a video during the first coronavirus quarantine in March.
Her goal wasn’t to get 537,000 subscribers for a YouTube channel, but to keep in contact with her friends in a children’s choir at the Hale Center Theater. So, she created an Instagram account and posted a video of her dad and herself singing “The Prayer.”
“This was her first social media account, and the song was her first post,” Mat said with a laugh.
Savanna invited Mat to sing with her because she didn’t want to sing alone.
“I was out doing yard work in an old family-reunion T-shirt and ball cap, and she pulled me in,” he said. “She asked if I wanted to change out of my yard work clothes, and I figured her choir friends wouldn’t mind what I was wearing.”
Apparently it didn’t matter what Mat was wearing, because the views streamed in and increased over the next few days.
“It was shocking to see the view number go up,” Savanna said. “One day, my dad sent me a screenshot when it was at 3,000 views. We were shocked people were actually watching it.”
Mat then uploaded the video onto Facebook so family and friends who didn’t have Instagram could see it.
“That’s when it exploded,” he said. “Then we started a YouTube channel, and things just kept growing from there.”
Even American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson gave a shout out to the Shaws for the video.
“It was super crazy to have Kelly Clarkson reach out to us like that,” Savanna said.
The Shaws felt the song, which was written by David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager, Alberto Testa and Tony Renis for the 1998 animated film “Quest for Camelot,” had a positive message for these unprecedented times.
“It was scary when the quarantine started,” Savanna said. “There was a lot of uncertainty, and that’s what inspired me to sing that song.”
The success of “The Prayer” led to the Shaws’ debut album “Picture This” that was released on Oct. 23. The album debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes Pop Chart, and reached No. 1 on the Billboard Emerging Artist list.
“The album really started after we wanted to do an original song where we could tell our story,” Mat said. “Then we thought why not do an album, because it has been a dream for us to do one with our names on it.”
The Shaws hooked up with arranger Stephen Nelson, and hopped into a studio, which was another new experience, Savanna said.
“We had been recording in our closet with a little plug-in microphone that was propped up by my dad’s old pajamas,” she said with a laugh.
The tracks on “Picture This” include a cover of The Beatles’ “Let It Be,” LeAnn Womack’s “I Hope You Dance” and “The Prayer.”
“The environment we are in got us thinking about the songs we wanted to include,” Mat said. “There is a lot of fear and negativity, and we just wanted to have a safe place for people to feel uplifting, inspiring songs, and a place where we could share hope and joy.”
The Shaws enjoyed recording “Picture This” so much, they decided to record a seven-song extended play, “Merry Little Christmas.”
“Merry Little Christmas,” which was released Nov. 20, features traditional holiday tunes as “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” and, of course, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
Both albums are available digitally through all streaming services, including Apple Music, iTunes and Spotify. CDs are available though the duo’s website.
“The feedback we have received from people who have been in very dark places means a lot to us, and that’s why we do this,” Savanna said. “You can communicate things through music that you can’t through words. It’s been so meaningful and rewarding to lift some heavy hearts and spread some hope.”
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