Have you heard of Sheppard yet? Chances are, it won’t be long until you have.
The sextet from Australia have been sweeping the world with their catchy hooks, primarily honed by siblings George, Amy and Emma Sheppard, who grew up in Papua New Guinea, surrounded by a rich musical culture.
“Bombs Away” was first launched in Australia last year, with lead track from the album, “Geronimo” selling 5 x platinum in that country. This led to Sheppard being awarded “Australian Band of the Year” at last year’s ARIAs. It’s clocked over 3 million streams on Spotify here in the UK, and the band is making waves in the US, with fans including Scooter Braun, who declared,
“Geronimo is a smash!”
“Bombs Away” covers a multitude of musical genres and styles, ranging from southern gothic (Halfway To Hell) and cool scandi-pop (This Electric Feeling), to introspective love songs (Something’s Missing).
Critics have described Sheppard as writing, “music for the underdog”, something which the band tend to agree with:
“Sheppard write songs for and about the downhearted. There is always that element of hope.” (Sheppard’s guitarist, Jay Bovino)
Sheppard originally started as a duo in 2009, after Amy, who was studying music at the time, asked George for help with an assignment.
“I had to write a song, and I really wanted to put in harmonies, but I’d left it to the last minute. George was the only one at home.”
Both siblings provided vocals, with George additionally playing piano. They were joined in 2011 by George’s friend from Sydney, Jay Bovino, as third songwriter and rhythm guitarist. The following year, sister Emma featured on bass and backing vocals, and the band also included Michael Butler on lead guitar, and Jared Tredly on drums. Jared left in 2013, and so Dean Gordon took his place.
The Sheppards’ parents played a crucial role in their initial success, with Greg Sheppard becoming their their talent manager and Linda their tour manager. They also funded the group’s early career and established their own record label, Empire of Song.
It was under this label in 2012 that Sheppard (distributed by MGM) launched their eponymous debut EP, which spawned debut single, “Let Me Down Easy”. By September 2012 the band had performed at festivals in South Africa, the UK and the US, and the EP peaked at number 18 on the Australian charts by July 2013. “Let Me Down Easy” was nominated for “Best Independent Release” at 2013’s ARIAs.
These days Sheppard are managed worldwide by Australian promotor Michael Chugg, with their UK agent the highly respected Steve Strange, known for his association with Eminem and Coldplay. The afore-mentioned Scooter Braun snapped them up for the US: It seems Sheppard are destined for big things.
Sheppard are launching “Bombs Away” in the UK on 23 March, at Soho’s The Borderline. Tickets are available here. The album will also be released on Decca Records the same day. If you can’t see them at The Borderline, they’ll be playing The Isle of Wight Festival in June, and later this year will be touring with Meghan Trainor in the US.