EP: What’s the Matthew Shepherd story?
MS: I’m a Singer-Songwriter from Essex. I started performing in choirs at Secondary School and bought a cheap acoustic guitar from Argos when I was around 16. I learnt a few chords, and 6 months down the line I started to write a few songs. I took music for A Levels where I continued with singing lessons and sang classical. After my A Levels I decided not to go to University and went out to work. In the evenings after work I played at Open Mics and always got a good response wherever I played, and quickly moved on to gigs and leaped out of playing just in Essex. I released my Debut Album ‘Top Of The Tree’ which went into the Top 100 iTunes Singer/Songwriter Album Chart after its first day, which I’m extremely proud of, and my first UK Tour followed. At the start of this year I started to put together a new stripped-back acoustic EP, ‘The Sea’, which was produced by Jack Longman and was released in July this year. I feel this new material is more true to who I am and so far the response has been really good.
As I’m writing this I’ve just got back from the last leg of my UK Summer Tour which included a stretch in the Isle of Wight and a very special gig at Ronnie Scott’s in London. AND…I think that brings you right up-to-date!
EP: Describe your style of music – how did you decide to make music in this style?
MS: I’ve always been into acoustic music, singer-songwriter etc. There was always music being played in my house when I was growing up. My Dad would always play The Corrs’ albums and I think that’s how I got into Folk music. When I was at school my friends would be listening to bands like Bowling for Soup and Paramore etc whilst I was listening to Tom Petty, Bryan Adams and all of the great acoustic singer/songwriters. All of these influences have inspired my own style. I suppose it’s very mellow…music for when you want to relax. I always try to write songs where even if it means something deeply to me, It can mean the same to someone else, or even something completely different.
EP: Who are your musical inspirations? What about your inspirations in life?
MS: I get asked this question a lot and I’m sure I answer it differently each time! One of the biggest inspirations musically is an American singer/songwriter Joshua Radin. He creates songs which are deeply personal to him as does Mike Rosenberg (Passenger) who I’m a big fan of! I mentioned that I was into folk music and I am hugely inspired by Kate Rusby. She self-releases all of her own music and her whole family run the record label. My dream is to be able to play every night, no matter how big or small. I’m not looking for sudden success like you see on X Factor and similar TV shows…I prefer the slow organic growth. After all, the longer it takes to build up, the longer it will take to tear down.
EP: If you could do it all over again, what, if anything, would you do differently, and why?
MS: I think there’s always going to be things that you wish you done differently in life, but honestly, I wouldn’t change anything. I’ve been very lucky with the opportunities that I’ve had and I know that there’s a lot of other budding songwriters out there who would have loved to have experienced some of things that I have done in the past few years. I don’t regret any of it.
EP: Where can we hear you perform and where can we find your music?
MS: I’m taking a little break over the next couple of months to recharge and write some new material and I’m planning a little Winter/Spring tour across some very intimate venues in the New Year (although that’s not to say I might not be popping up in a few venues before then!). You can keep up-to-date with upcoming gigs here. You would all be very welcome to come along!
And you can find me on all of the usual platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and my Official Website.
EP: What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does?
MS: Oh now that’s a tough one! I always say that I’m happy to answer anything. To be honest, I just love the fact that people would like to interview me! Even now it feels a little strange!
Listen to this preview of Matthew’s EP, ‘The Sea’, which also includes an interview with Matthew: