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Saskatchewan native Andy Shauf on Barack Obama’s summer playlist

Andy Shauf performs at the 2016 Polaris Music Prize in Toronto on Sept. 19, 2016.
Andy Shauf performs at the 2016 Polaris Music Prize in Toronto on Sept. 19, 2016. Chris Young / The Canadian Press

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.

Read more: Saskatchewan musicians play on during COVID-19 uncertainty

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 said he learned about his placement when a listener tagged him on Instagram shortly after Obama revealed the playlist on social media.

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“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, said he frequented the Skyline when he moved to Toronto several years back.

“It became a really friendly place to hang out and the setting for my record,” he said.

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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.

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PartyNextDoor, who is Mississauga, Ont.-raised rapper Jahron Brathwaite, made a second appearance for his solo effort PGT, taken from his 2020 album, “Partymobile.”

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