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Séan McCann

Addiction Survivor & Founding Member of Great Big Sea

Séan McCann, widely known as a member of the internationally renowned band, Great Big Sea, has spent the last 20 years travelling around the world enamouring audiences from Copenhagen to California. Today his mantra is ‘Help Your Self’, breaking the silence on his past addiction, abuse and using music to change his life for the better.

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


The Séan McCann Story
Séan offers his story of surviving abuse, becoming sober, leaving the band and trying to make a difference in the world – in the most inspirational way, filled with music, hope and lessons learned along the way.   We all carry some kind of denial in our lives that prevents us from moving forward. We have to find the courage to wake up and do the work and face our real problems. The truth is hard to see when we close our eyes. “I am Not a Victim. I am a Survivor…..and I am Not Alone” “Help Your Self and You Help the Whole World”

The Healing Power of Music
Séan is passionate about this often overlooked aspect of music and how it can help us find balance and meaning in our lives. “Music is the glue that binds us all. It brings peace and compassion and helps us make sense of our often volatile world. When I have my guitar in my hands, I am never alone” “Music is my Therapy.”


Entertainer of the Year | East Coast Music Awards (Great Big Sea)

  • As an Event Manager, I have had over 20 years of experience working with entertainers. Never have I worked with such a professional who was so kind, giving and cooperative over and above talented.
    From our very first contact until after the show, his passion for his music and his dedication to ensuring a successful evening were above reproach.

    - Manager, Events & Community Giving, Renascent
  • His honest, authentic and courageous storytelling approach along with his ability to weave his musical selections to reinforce his message was so incredibly powerful. I have heard from many of our delegates who were so moved by Séan's message. He is funny, humble, highly engaging, musically brilliant and so approachable. Séan McCann's musical gifts and his message about the healing power of music came together to provide us all with an unforgettable experience.

    - Administrator, Waterloo Region District School Board
  • Authentic, down to earth, genuine, caring, .... He was freaking fantastic and loved by 300 participants!! Not sure how you do it, but I thank you from the bottom of my heart. This one was a home run, right out of the park. Love love this guy, he was born to do what he is now doing. The combo of telling and singing his journey.... WOW!

    - Atlantic Psychiatric Conference
  • Séan was a captivating performer, all at once putting the audience at ease and drawing them into his performance through the perfect mix of song and storytelling. I thoroughly enjoyed his performance and look forward to seeing him perform again in the future.

    - Easter Seals
  • If anyone is looking for a speaker that combines music to their story of Recovery, Sean is the person you want. His honesty and openness to talk about his addiction was genuine. He was a pleasure to work with! He showed great courage today. His music, humour, presence, all heartwarming.

    - London Mission Services
  • Séan McCann is REAL, an honest presenter with a life story that will impact every audience. You won't find an easier person to work with than Séan McCann. He is accommodating, selfless and will go the extra mile to guarantee your event is a success.

    - Fund Development Manager, Easter Seals Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Sean’s engagement with the audience made the evening so much fun. Many of our guests made comments about his energy and enthusiasm as well as his talent. His story-telling through music was magical.

    - Manager, Events & Community Giving, Renascent
  • I would highly recommend you as a presenter. You connected to the participants with your genuineness, being so down to earth and approachability. You were a pleasure to work with for the conference.

    - Link 2015 Organizing Committee Chair

Summary Profile

After millions of albums sold, countless hit songs, and record-breaking tours around the world with Great Big Sea, Séan McCann realized that his 20 years with the band had to stop. Music is meant to connect, heal, and bring happiness. While Séan was giving that to thousands of people a night he was slowly losing his own way.

Instead of seeking truth he was hiding behind his music and his addiction. This was unfair to both himself and his fans so he left the band and started over. 

In 2014 he released his first album post-Great Big Sea. Produced by Joel Plaskett, the album “Help Your Self” is the sound of a man facing his demons and ultimately overcoming them. The songs helped him deal with his issues of addiction and abuse and showed him how to find strength in pain. He followed this up with the album “You Know I Love You”, a happy collection of songs sung by a man intent on sharing his joy directly with you.

Séan has also found himself using music as therapy, working with people who face physical, mental, and addiction challenges, and has become a sought after speaker trying to help others to help themselves find light through the darkness.