Shawn Amos

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Shawn Ellis Amos
The Reverend Shawn Amos performing at Ramblin' Roots.jpg
Amos at the Ramblin' Roots festival in Utrecht
Background information
Also known asThe Reverend Shawn Amos
Born (1967-09-13) September 13, 1967 (age 52)
New York, New York, U.S.
GenresBlues, roots, Americana, folk
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, singer, writer, entrepreneur, record producer
InstrumentsVocals, harmonica, guitar
Years active1990s-present
LabelsRhino, Shout! Factory, Put Together Music
Associated actsMindi Abair, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Solomon Burke, Julie Miller, Matthew Sweet

Shawn Ellis Amos (born September 13, 1967) is an American songwriter, blues singer, record producer and digital marketing entrepreneur.

Amos is best known as blues singer and harmonica player,[1] “The Reverend Shawn Amos.” He has released multiple studio, live, single and extended-play titles under the moniker.

Personal background[edit]

Amos was born in New York, New York. He is the youngest son of Famous Amos chocolate chip cookie founder Wally Amos and the only son of Shirlee Ellis (professionally known as Shirl-ee May in the early 1960s). Throughout Amos' childhood and adulthood, his mother suffered from schizoaffective disorder and ultimately committed suicide in 2003. The trauma of the event and his subsequent discovery of her early singing career were the inspiration behind his 2005 album release Thank You Shirl-ee May.[2]

Like his father, Amos worked in the William Morris Agency mailroom. Amos attended New York University Tisch School of the Arts. He left in the middle of his senior year to pursue a “first-look” deal with A&M Films as a screenwriter. In 2011, The Huffington Post published a four-part series chronicling his childhood in 1970s Los Angeles.[3]

Amos married actress Marta Martin in 1999. The couple divorced in 2018. They have three children. Amos’ half-sister, Sarah Amos, is an executive at Marvel Entertainment.[4]

Musical career[edit]

Americana (1996-2001)[edit]

Amos was hired at Rhino Entertainment's A&R department 1997 by department head, Gary Stewart. While at the reissue label, Amos produced multiple compilations, including the Grammy-nominated historical box set Rhapsodies in Black: Music and Words from the Harlem Renaissance.[5] While employed at Rhino Entertainment, he began work on his first album, Harlem (album), which was first released by Unbreakable Records in 2000. The album was titled Harlem after being inspired by a museum exhibit dedicated to the Harlem Renaissance.

In 2001, Amos produced Quincy Jones' career overview Q: The Musical Biography of Quincy Jones. Jones subsequently asked Amos to run his Listen Up Foundation as Executive Director. The same year, he released his second original album, In Between, again on Unbreakable Records.

Compilation and Record Producer (2002 - 2006)[edit]

In 2003, Amos was recruited by Rhino co-founders Richard Foos, Garson Foos and Bob Emmer to oversee the A&R department of their newly formed entertainment company, Shout! Factory.[6]

During 2005-06, Amos conceived and co-produced a remake of the 1971 Marvin Gaye album What's Going On, performed by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band; conceived and executive produced a remix album of Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass' Whipped Cream and Other Delights. He joined with Alpert and Ozomatli for a performance of "Love Potion No. 9" on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in March 2006.

Amos oversaw Solomon Burke's last three studio albums, Make Do With What You Got, Nashville, and Like a Fire. He also oversaw the first two volumes of cover albums by Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoff, Under the Covers.

Thank You Shirl-ee May (2005 – 2007)[edit]

In 2005, Shout! Factory released his third studio album, Thank You Shirl-ee May. With this release, Amos chronicles the career of his mother, a club singer in the 1960s. Shawn discovered his mother's professional life as Shirl-ee May only after her suicide in July 2003.[7] Amos says album is a tender tribute to his mother, Shirlee Ellis Amos. Songs like " "New York City 1964" and "The Bottle Always Brings Me Down" explore the life of the singer known as Shir-lee May.[8]

In 2007, Amos performed on and produced the Solomon Burke & Friends: Live in Nashville televised concert. His song "Vicious Circle" from Harlem was sung by label mate Solomon Burke.

The Reverend Shawn Amos (2014 - present)[edit]

After a hiatus where he focused on ventures in digital marketing, Amos returned to roots music with the 2014 release of The Reverend Shawn Amos Tells It, released by the label Put Together Music. He followed this in 2015 with the release of his fifth album, The Reverend Shawn Amos Loves You, again released by Put Together.

Amos produced and starred in the YouTube series, Kitchen Table Blues which ran for 90 episodes from 2015-2016. Select song performances from the series were released as two EPs in 2019. In 2016, Amos played harmonica for the main title of the Seth Rogen-produced AMC series, Preacher (TV series). Amos was named Artistic Director for Herb Alpert's Los Angeles jazz club, Herb Alpert's Vibrato Grill & Jazz in 2017. He resigned from the position in 2018 to focus on touring activity.[9]

Amos has curated the jazz & blues series, blackbox, for the 2018–19 and 2019-20 seasons of the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, California.[10]

On September 4, 2019, Amos posted a video on his YouTube channel announcing the formation of a new band, The Brotherhood, with drummer, Brady Blade, bassist Christopher Thomas and longtime guitarist, Chris “Doctor” Roberts.

Professional career[edit]

Digital Marketing (2009 - present)[edit]

On November 4, 2009, Amos announced the formation of his own company, Amos Content Group, to develop content for digital media and traditional companies.[11] In August 2012, The New York Times announced that Amos Content Group was jointly acquired by public relations company FleishmanHillard and GMR Marketing and rebranded as Freshwire.[12]

In October 2012, Amos was named one of Forbes "Up and Comers."[13] Amos has moderated or spoken at several notable industry panels, including the Milken Institute,[14] the Thread Summit in Colorado,[15] Las Vegas' CES Convention,[16] TEDxEast,[17] and "OMD Predicts" in Dubai, an event for EMEA marketing leaders.[18]

In 2015, Freshwire officially became FleishmanHillard ContentWorks, and Amos was named Chief Content Innovation Officer of the Americas.

Amos left FleishmanHilard in 2016 and launched a new venture, Put Together Media.[19] In 2017, Amos merged Put Together Media with New York communications firm, Hudson Cutler.[20]

Production credits[edit]


  1. ^ "Reverend Shawn Amos". Seydel Harmonicas.
  2. ^ "A 'Thank You' Note from Shawn Amos". NPR. 2005-11-16.
  3. ^ "Cookies & Milk: Scenes From a '70s Hollywood Childhood". The Huffington Post. 2011-01-09.
  4. ^ "Hollywood's New Leaders: 2018 Digital". Variety. 2018-10-17.
  5. ^ Dave Steinfeld (2011-03-24). "Shawn Amos: The Harlem Renaissance". American Songwriter. Retrieved 2014-03-04.
  6. ^ "Shawn Amos". 2003-04-29. Retrieved 2014-03-04.
  7. ^ "Duet for mother and son". LA Times. LA TImes.
  8. ^ "A 'Thank You' Note from Shawn Amos". NPR. 2005-11-16.
  9. ^ "Shawn Amos Announced as Vibrato Artistic Director". Vibrato Jazz Club. 2017-01-22.
  10. ^ "Rev. Shawn Amos Comes to Blackbox @ The Edye At The Broad Stage, 9/7". Broadway World. 2019-08-08.
  11. ^ "Veteran Content Provider Launches New Venture". Black Vibes. 2009-11-09.
  12. ^ "Veteran Content Provider Launches New Venture". Black Vibes. 2009-11-09.
  13. ^ "Forbes Up And Comers: Matt Urmy, Charley Moore, and Shawn Amos". Forbes. 2012-10-18.
  14. ^ "Global Conference 2012 - Next-Generation Philanthropists and Social Entrepreneurs". Milken Institute. Retrieved 2014-03-04.
  15. ^ "The Thread Summit 2014 Guest Speakers". The Thread Summit. Retrieved 2015-07-06.
  16. ^ "CES 2015: All agencies are creative agencies". PR Week. 2015-01-07.
  17. ^ "Shawn Amos at TEDxEast". TEDx. 2014-09-10.
  18. ^ "OMD Predicts- Propeller". YouTube. 2014-11-11.
  20. ^ "Hudson Cutler Merges with Shawn Amos' Firm, Put Together Media". PR Week. 2017-09-19.

External links[edit]