TORONTO — Saskatchewan singer-songwriter Andy Shauf has landed a spot on Barack Obama's coveted summer playlist.
The breezy track "Neon Skyline," from Shauf's newest album of the same name, joined a selection of songs from powerhouse acts that include Billie Holiday, Sheryl Crow, Billie Eilish and Beyonce.
Each summer, the former U.S. president unveils a selection of his favourite songs of the season.
Most of the artists are household names, but Obama often leaves room to showcase a few lesser-known acts, much to their surprise.
Shauf says he learned about his placement when a listener tagged him on Instagram shortly after Obama revealed the playlist on social media.
"It's cool to think that Obama, or the Obamas together, have listened to my music," he said.
"It's a really nice feeling to think my music has gone that far."
"Neon Skyline" is a particularly Canadian song choice because its story unravels inside the Skyline Restaurant, a real-life diner in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood, where two friends agree to meet for a beer shortly before one runs into his ex.
Shauf, who was born in Estevan, Sask. before later moving to Regina, said he frequented the Skyline when he uprooted his life and moved to Toronto several years back.
"It became a really friendly place to hang out and the setting for my record," he said.
Shauf has been a critical favourite in Canada for years. He was nominated for multiple Juno Awards, and "The Neon Skyline" landed on the long list of Polaris Prize contenders for this year's best album.
Fellow Canadian artists Drake and PartyNextDoor also showed up on Obama's list.
Both of them shared billing on Popcaan's track "Twist & Turn," while Drake was also featured for his part on Rihanna's megahit "Work."
PartyNextDoor, who is Mississauga, Ont.-raised rapper Jahron Brathwaite, made a second appearance for his solo effort "PGT," taken from his 2020 album, "Partymobile."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 18, 2020.
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David Friend, The Canadian Press
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version included the wrong birthplace for Andy Shauf.