Sheppard at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in October 2014. From left to right: George, Amy and Emma Sheppard, Jason Bovino, Dean Gordon and Michael Butler.
|Origin||Brisbane, Queensland, Australia|
|Genres||Indie pop, indie rock|
|Past members||Jared Tredly|
Sheppard is an Australian indie pop band formed in Brisbane in 2009. Their debut studio album, Bombs Away, was released on 11 July 2014, and peaked at No. 2 on the ARIA Albums Chart and was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association, while their second single, "Geronimo", spent three weeks at No. 1 on the ARIA Singles Chart and was certified 5× platinum.
At the ARIA Music Awards of 2013, Sheppard were nominated for Best Independent Release for "Let Me Down Easy". At the 2014 ceremony, they were nominated for Album of the Year, Best Group, Best Independent Release, Best Pop Release, Song of the Year, Producer of the Year, and Best Video.
The Sheppard siblings grew up and attended an international primary school in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. (at the time known as the Sir Hubert Murray International School, now part of the Ela Murray International School or TEMIS group). Their father, Greg Sheppard, owns the business side of the band, is a partner in a law firm linked with significant political corruption and was a former director of the security firm operating the Manus Island detention centre. The family, except Greg, relocated to Brisbane where Amy attended Somerville House for secondary education and, by 2009, she was studying a music course at TAFE Queensland Brisbane. After attending Brisbane Boys College in 2004, George had shifted to Sydney where "he was toying with a career in acting" before returning to Brisbane six years later. Emma started learning to play bass while still enrolled at Somerville House, and would later join the band after graduating in 2011.
Early years and formation (2009–13)
In 2009, Sheppard were formed as a duo by George and Amy Sheppard. Amy had asked for help on a music 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". For the duo Amy provided vocals, while George was on lead vocals and piano. In 2011, Jay Bovino – George's friend from Sydney – joined as the third songwriter and rhythm guitarist. By 2012, their six-member line-up also included Emma on bass and backing vocals, Michael Butler on lead guitar, and Jared Tredly on drums. Greg was their talent manager and Linda their tour manager; the parents funded the group's early career and established their own record label, Empire of Song.
Sheppard released a five-track extended play of the same name on 17 August 2012, with recording label Empire of Song, which was distributed by MGM. By September that year, they had performed at festivals in South Africa, London and United States. The EP peaked at No. 18 on the ARIA Singles Chart in July of the following year. Its lead track, "Let Me Down Easy", was nominated for Best Independent Release at the ARIA Music Awards of 2013. Its second track, "Hold My Tongue", was issued as the group's debut single in August but it did not reach the top 50. All five tracks were produced by Stuart Stuart at Analog Heart Studios, and co-written by Amy, George & Bovino. Kat Hunter of The AU Review felt that the EP "serves up a delicious helping of pop goodness filled with danceable melodies, catchy sing-along lyrics in addition to light and perfectly whipped harmonies and group vocals". The group played at the Sonic Bang Festival in Bangkok on 24 August 2013, sharing the roster with Placebo, Pitbull, Far East Movement, Jason Mraz, and Owl City. The band appeared at Sullivan Hall in New York City on 18 October for the 2013 CMJ Music Marathon. On 1 December 2013, they performed and presented an award at that year's ARIA Music Awards. By that time, the band had enlisted Dean Gordon to replace Tredly on drums.
Bombs Away (2014–2015)
Sheppard's second single, "Geronimo", was issued in February 2014 on Empire of Song/Chugg Music. It was recorded and produced at Analog Heart Studios in Brisbane by Stuart Stuart and written by three of the band's members, George Sheppard, Amy Sheppard and Jay Bovino. Brendan Plowman of AdamNotEve noted that the "lyrics throughout the song suggest an idea of taking the plunge together. Risking it all in the hope of something bigger and better that lies ahead, even if it is 'through the curtain of a waterfall' and you don't know what's on the other side" while "the music and repetitive chorus are uplifting and exciting and everyone still can't get enough of it. But it appears this is no accident". George told Plowman how he wrote songs with Amy and Bovino: "We all have very different music tastes ... the important thing to remember when collaborating with two other writers is compromise ... you have to work together to find the common ground ... all of us being happy with it means it will have the widest appeal, if that makes sense". From late April to early May, "Geronimo" spent three weeks at No. 1 on the ARIA Singles Chart, knocking Pharrell Williams' single "Happy" from the top spot after its 12-week run. It is the first single, which had been recorded in Brisbane, to reach number one. Internationally the track reached the top 10 in Austria, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, and Poland. "Sheppard" was certified 5× platinum by ARIA, for shipments of over 350,000 units.
In March 2014, Sheppard became the first Australian band to sign with Decca Records for their international releases; within Australia, however, the band's material continued to be issued under the Empire of Song/Chugg Music label and distributed by MGM. By that time they were recording their debut album, Bombs Away, at Analog Heart with Stuart producing, again. It was released on 11 July 2014 and peaked at No. 2 on the ARIA Albums Chart. Toby Creswell of Rolling Stone (Australia) felt it had "beautiful and sweet songs dripping with emotion and more hooks than a tuna fleet" which contained "sturdy pieces that could have been made any time since the Brill Building opened its doors". In April, Sheppard opened for Michael Franti & Spearhead at The Metro Theatre in Sydney and the Prince of Wales Ballroom in Melbourne. The band was the support act for Australian appearances during Keith Urban's Light the Fuse Tour in June. The album's second single, "Something's Missing", was issued to coincide with that tour, which peaked at No. 35 on the ARIA Singles Chart. In October, for the ARIA Music Awards of 2014, Sheppard received seven nominations: Bombs Away for Album of the Year, Best Group, Best Independent Release, Best Pop Release and Producer of the Year (for Stuart's work); while "Geronimo" was nominated for Song of the Year, and Best Video (directed by Toby Morris). During the awards ceremony held on 26 November 2014, Sheppard won Best Group. The album's third single, "Smile", appeared in mid-October; they premiered the track on Seven Network's morning program, Sunrise.
In January 2015, "Let Me Down Easy" was released internationally with a new video premiering on 23 February 2015.
In April 2015, Sheppard were announced in the line-up for the biannual Rock in Rio festival, widely acknowledged as the world's largest live music event. The group also released "A Grade Playa" as a single from Bombs Away. The video premiered on 21 June 2015.
In May 2015 it was announced that Sheppard would perform their song "Geronimo" in the 13th episode of the second season of the television series Girl Meets World, called "Girl Meets Semi-Formal", which aired on the Disney Channel on August 14, 2015.
"Be More Barrio" and upcoming second studio album (2015–present)
On 6 November 2015, Sheppard released a new single called "Be More Barrio". The track was written exclusively for Pull&Bear and aims to be an anthem for the normality and familiarity that neighbourhoods represent in an increasingly global world. On 1 November 2016, "We Belong" was released.
- Bombs Away (2014)
Awards and nominations
Since 2006 the Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR) have run their annual AIR Awards.
|2014||Sheppard||Breakthrough Independent Artist||Won|
|"Geronimo"||Best Independent Single/EP||Nominated|
|2014||"Let Me Down Easy" (Jay Bovino, Amy Sheppard, George Sheppard) – Sheppard||Most Played Australian Work||Nominated|
|Pop Work of the Year||Nominated|
|2015||"Geronimo" (Jay Bovino, Amy Sheppard, George Sheppard) – Sheppard||Most Played Australian Work||Won|
|Pop Work of the Year||Won|
The ARIA Music Awards are presented annually from 1987 by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Sheppard have won one award from a total of eight nominations.
|2013||"Let Me Down Easy"||Best Independent Release||Nominated|
|2014||Bombs Away||Album of the Year||Nominated|
|Best Independent Release||Nominated|
|Best Pop Release||Nominated|
|Bombs Away – Stuart Stuart||Producer of the Year||Nominated|
|"Geronimo"||Song of the Year||Nominated|
|"Geronimo" – Toby Morris||Best Video||Nominated|
- Visentin, Lisa (13 June 2014). "Parents take a chance on Sheppard and fans flock". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- "Dirty Money: How corrupt PNG cash is reaching Australia". SBS. 25 June 2015. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
- "Sheppard Q&A". Kidzworld. 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- "Sheppard". Unearthed (Triple J). Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- Dunn, Matthew (28 February 2012). "Sheppard: The Good Sheppard". G & T Magazine. Gifted and Talented (Jonathan Garde). Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- "ARIA Member List" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). 25 October 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- Hung, Steffen. "Discography Sheppard". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- Hunter, Kat (11 September 2012). "Album Review: Sheppard – Sheppard (2012 EP)". The AU Review. Heath Media ( Larry Heath). Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- Sheppard at the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Awards website:
- Search results for "Sheppard": "ARIA Awards Search results for "Sheppard"". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- 2013 winners and nominees: "Winners by Year: 2013". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- 2014 nominees: "2014 ARIA Awards Connected by Telstra | Nominated artists revealed". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). 8 October 2014. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- "'Let Me Down Easy' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 16 October 2014. Note: User may have to click 'Search again' and provide details at 'Enter a title:' e.g Let Me Down Easy; or at 'Performer:' Sheppard
- Berst, Marie (2 September 2013). "Back from Bangkok's Sonic Bang: Sheppard". Music Weekly Asia. Singapore: Music Services Asia. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- Augello, Stephanie; Becker, Chris (22 October 2013). "Big Picture: Quiet Company, Sheppard, Maria Taylor, Sol Cat, NGHBRS @ Sullivan Hall: October 18, 2013". CMJ. Lisa Hresko. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- "Announcing the performers at the 2013 ARIAs!". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). 15 November 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- Kuch, Jesse (15 April 2014). "Cairns artists Dean Gordon from Sheppard and Dan Sultan top of the pops". The Cairns Post. News Limited. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- Byron, Tim (17 April 2014). "Number Ones: Sheppard 'Geronimo'". Vine Music. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
- Plowman, Brendan (22 April 2014). "Review Sheppard – 'Geronimo'". AdamNotEve. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- Hung, Steffen. "Sheppard – 'Geronimo'" (in German). Austrian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- Hung, Steffen. "Sheppard – 'Geronimo'" (in German). German Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- "Top Digital Download - Classifica settimamale WK 39 (dal 22-09-2014 al 28-09-2014)" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- Hung, Steffen. "Sheppard – 'Geronimo'". New Zealand Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video" (in Polish). Polish Airplay Top 20. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2014 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- Staff Writer (21 March 2014). "Exclusive: Sheppard Sign Worldwide Deal with the Legendary Decca Records". themusic.com.au. Street Press Australia Pty Ltd. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
- Kolle, David (12 June 2014). "Sheppard Release Debut Album Bombs Away". Muzic Magazine. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
- Creswell, Toby (7 July 2014). "Sheppard – Bombs Away". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- Newstead, Al (20 November 2013). "Michael Franti & Spearhead Australian Tour 2014 Announced". Tonedeaf. Archived from the original on 6 December 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- Staff Writer (22 April 2014). "Sheppard to support Keith Urban on National Tour". themusic.com.au. Street Press Australia Pty Ltd. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
- Zuel, Bernard (26 November 2014). "ARIAs 2014 winners: Sia, Chet Faker, Sheppard and 5SOS score big". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
- "Chart-topping band Sheppard". Sunrise. au.tv.yahoo.com. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- "Let Me Down Easy - Single". iTunes España. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- "Billboard 200 Chart Moves: Marvin Gaye Sales Up 246% After 'Blurred Lines' Trial". Billboard.com. 20 March 2015. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- "Sheppard Announced On Line-Up For World's Biggest Music Festival". themusic.com.au. 2 April 2015. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
- "Sheppard - A Grade Playa (Official Video Clip)". YouTube. 21 June 2015. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
- "Be More Barrio - Sheppard single". iTunes Australia. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
- "Be More Barrio - The Sheppard song". Pull&Bear. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
- "History". Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR). Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- Staff Writer (8 September 2014). "Violent Soho Lead Carlton Dry Award Nominations". themusic.com.au. Street Press Australia Pty Ltd. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "Most Played Australian Work". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "Pop Work of the Year". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "Most Played Australian Work". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
- "Pop Work of the Year". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2016.