Traveling troubadour Tolan Shaw: “When a California guy goes to Mexico, it’s a can help you set up a tour.”
  • Traveling troubadour Tolan Shaw: “When a California guy goes to Mexico, it’s a can help you set up a tour.”
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Some artists use special effects in their videos, others convince a celebrity to make a cameo, and still others don costumes...or no clothes at all.

Last week Tolan Shaw released the video for his new single “Change the World.” It incorporates segments from Wandersong, a nine-segment travel-music video series that took four months and 28,000 miles to create.

The Encinitas-based singer/songwriter/guitarist used 13 modes of transportation to cover nine countries and 41 cities in Southeast Asia.


"Change the World" Tolan Shaw (official music video) Tolan Shaw (official music video)

The Wandersong series was released in segments while Shaw was traveling through Asia last winter. With his guitar and backpacked audio and video gear in tow, Shaw shot and edited the footage while he and wife Sarah were on the road in Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Nothing like a night in Bangkok to ward off writer’s block.

“It’s easy to get locked into routines,” Shaw says. “When you travel you are exposed to new opinions and new thoughts. International travel has always been my favorite thing. I just like to take off and meet new people. For me it’s just natural to use travel to get new angles for my material. On long trips the songwriting flows like crazy.”

Shaw produces his own music travelogues.

“I put it all together with my laptop and my GS Mini Taylor travel guitar. The cameras and the mounts were provided by GoPro....”

Like many of today’s artists, Shaw works “day jobs,” playing weddings and corporate events.

He says he got the travel bug from family trips and from USD’s Semester at Sea study-abroad program.

“For my first album I went to Central and South America for eight months. I came back with 30 songs.”

Shaw says being Anglo helped him get gigs and draw fans on a two-week tour of Mexico last year.

“When a California guy goes to Mexico, it’s a spectacle. If you research it right and promote it right, it can help you set up a tour.”

Past Event


  • Sunday, August 27, 2017, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Along Coast Highway 101, Leucadia
  • Free

While he says he is currently weighing an offer from a “private investor who wants to start a record label,” Shaw, 27, releases his own material and handles all his own business. He oversaw the licensing deals that got his music on the ABC Family network, MTV, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Verizon Wireless.

“I’ve learned that publishing and licensing can be as important as a record deal. Getting placed in a commercial is a quick way to gain a lot of fans.”

Tolan Shaw appears with his full band at 3 p.m. Sunday at the LeucadiART Walk.

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