John Matthew Shanks (born December 18, 1964) is an American writer of modern rock music and a Grammy Award-winning producer.
Early life and education:
Born in New York City on December 18, 1964, Shanks moved to Los Angeles when he was 17 years old.
Shanks began playing in Melissa Etheridge's band in 1988 and toured with her for several years. Shanks enjoyed his first writing success in the early 1990s by getting cuts with Bonnie Raitt, Joe Cocker and Tuck & Patti. He also landed his first publishing deal.
Shanks reunited with Etheridge in 1995 when he collaborated with her on songs for Your Little Secret. He worked with her for several years and co-produced her subsequent album, Breakdown, in 1999. Breakdown received four Grammy nominations, including Best Rock Song and Best Rock Album.
In 2001, Shanks produced several tracks for the Stevie Nicks album, Trouble in Shangri-La and penned the first single, Every Day.
In January 2001, Shanks began working with Michelle Branch. Together, they wrote four songs for the hit album The Spirit Room, including the first single, "Everywhere". He also produced the album. In the fall of the same year, Shanks co-wrote Sheryl Crow's single, "Steve McQueen".
Shanks started working with Take That in 2005, on their comeback album Beautiful World, and he also produced their next album The Circus in 2008.
Shanks has also produced or written for other projects with SHeDAISY, Carlos Santana, Celine Dion, Sting, The Corrs, Chris Isaak, Vertical Horizon, Hanson, Unwritten Law, Will Hoge, Stroke 9, Hilary Duff, Keith Urban, Alanis Morissette and Take That. He produced Ashlee Simpson's hit 2004 album Autobiography and is credited with co-writing ten of the album's 12 songs with Simpson. On seven of those, Kara DioGuardi is also credited. That same year Shanks produced three songs for Kelly Clarkson's hit album Breakaway, including the title track "Breakaway", and worked with Anastacia on two songs for her self-titled album, including the single "Welcome To My Truth".
Shanks won the Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical in 2005 for his work on Autobiography, the Kelly Clarkson song "Breakaway", Hilary Duff's "Fly", Robbie Robertson's "Shine Your Light" and Alanis Morissette's album So-Called Chaos.Clive Davis described Shanks as "the father of that guitar-driven kind of pop sound", as his work with Branch, Clarkson, Duff and Simpson employed many acoustic guitars in contrast to the synthesizer-heavy sound of the pop music of the period.
In 2005, Shanks regrouped with Ashlee Simpson, producing her second album, I Am Me, and co-writing all of its 11 songs with Simpson and DioGuardi. Shanks also worked on 2 major albums of 2005, the Backstreet Boys' Never Gone and Bon Jovi's Have a Nice Day.
In January 2011, Shanks stated that he began work with legendary rock band Van Halen on its first album with original lead singer David Lee Roth since the landmark LP 1984 (1984). Released in February 2012 to near universal praise, Van Halen's A Different Kind of Truth debuted at #2 in the United States, and in the Top 10 on 5 continents.