Shannon Matthew Vanya – Saw It In Your Eyes: New Song

Shannon Matthew Vanya releases Saw It In Your Eyes, ‘a buoyant pop song about letting people down’.

Here’s the blurb with more:

Shannon Matthew Vanya is the musical project of Shannon Fowler (he/him), a musician, producer and songwriter based in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland). Shannon Matthew Vanya’s music conveys melodic cool, as he finely curates warm synths, snappy drums and funky bass into melancholic pop.

Shannon Matthew Vanya shares the new single Saw It In Your Eyes, a buoyant pop song about letting people down, not being somewhere when you need to, or doing what you said you would. Saw It In Your Eyes is the final single to be released from his new release Vanya II (out now).

Saw It In Your Eyes keeps the similar heartfelt but cheeky charm from his previous single It Gets Better, and adds wry introspection and slick guitar solos.

“I had ‘Saw It In Your Eyes’ on my hard drive but I’d sort of shelved it for a bit,” says Fowler. “I wasn’t sure where it was going or where to take it but had a nice verse, then one night I had a couple of drinks at an industry event where I met Samuel Flynn Scott (The Phoenix Foundation, Moniker) and extra confidently asked if he wanted to hang out and work on a tune sometime? He said ‘Yeah ok.’ We spent a while deconstructing songs from ‘McCartney 2’ then I showed him this old jam. He just free-styled a verse melody and chorus with that “Saw it in your eyes…” line, but we didn’t get to finish. About a year later I was working on a song with IVES and asked if she might want to sing some BV’s on it, then the song took on heaps of personality.”

The video for Saw It In Your Eyes (made with support from NZ On Air Music) sees Fowler return to working with Ezra Simmons. Shot on 35mm film, the video was inspired by a late night youtube viewing. “I was on a yacht rock bender one night, going deep into the Doobie Brothers catalogue when I came across the video for Michael McDonald’s ‘I Keep Forgetting.’ He’s sort of just lonely, playing piano in this super stylish hotel apartment, which served as inspiration. Working with Ezra was great, he’s excellent at developing a small idea into something that has energy levels. In the video, he really managed to capture the energy and spirit of making a great demo recording.

The release of Saw It In Your Eyes and SMV EP2 marks a sea change in Fowler’s creative output. “As I was finishing these songs it felt as though my attention was being drawn to make something else, more guitar based tracks, so while finishing up these songs I began working on a new TOM LARK album. It’s just being finished now and will be coming out later this year!”





Shannon Fowler’s first musical project was Tom Lark. From 2010 until 2015 he found success releasing sunburnt indie pop, with tracks finding a home on Aotearoa’s Student Radio Network and abroad on Triple J (where his tunes reached #1 Most Played at the station).

More recently Fowler has been making music as Shannon Matthew Vanya, and in 2020 he released his eponymous debut EP. When speaking with The Spinoff he said “I imposed more of a sense of discipline for myself – if I felt like I was being too clever I’d ask myself ‘how would it sound if I were to try and speak more simply?’ Before long I’d begun to set a course into a different pop universe, almost like the movie Easy Rider but with synthesisers and old drum machines.” The EP was well received locally, at the time Grant Smithies noted that “Vanya’s voice floats like candy floss”, while Sniffers praised Vanya for his “sweet pastel vocals.”  The Spinoff said that the EP rode the “careful line between Japanese city pop and smooth French neo-disco.”

In 2022 Fowler released the It Gets Better ft Lévyne, a song that conveys melodic cool, with finely curated warm synths, snappy drums and funky bass into melancholic pop. He saw the year out by supporting Western Australian producer Methyl Ethel.

Outside of Shannon Matthew Vanya, Fowler works from his recording space Okie Dokie Studio, situated just off Karangahape Road. There he has produced, co-written and engineered tracks with the likes of A. C. Freezy, Belladonna, The Fuzzy Robes, Georgia Lines, Merk, Randa, as well as the mysterious Rick Shrimp.