Sheppard on Brisbane’s pandemic music scene

By Tanee Panagopoulos

Local pop phenomenon Sheppard are not slowing down for a pandemic.

The band has been busy working on new material to keep fans covered through the COVID crisis.

Lead singer George Sheppard described the band’s anthemic new single Symphony as “a joyous declaration of love”.

The song’s grand and uplifting sentiment translates to an unbelievably catchy track. Having grown up listening to major pop icons such as Elton John, Cat Stevens and the Bee Gees, the band’s larger-than-life inspirations certainly ring through on this song.

While Sheppard’s output has been non-stop during this time, the effect of COVID on the music industry hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“The whole industry is on pause,” George said. “No matter the size of the creator, this has hit everyone in the industry and also hit creatives harder than anyone.”

After attending a social-distancing enforced gig at the Tivoli, he said while the experience was not the same it was a vital way forward for the industry.

“The smaller gigs are still enjoyable even with the precautions and it’s important to keep supporting as this could be the new normal for a while,” he said.

Sheppard however are not allowing COVID to stagnate their aspirations.

They’ve performed regular livestreams, performed on the Gold Coast airport runway and released a new song in each month of the year, a trend they plan to follow throughout 2020.

However George said he missed being on stage.

“There’s just no substitute for being in a room full of people who are singing your music back to you and you’re all in it together; it’s the one part of our jobs that we can get to feel the impact our music is having on people,” he said.

His humble nature and dedication to forming a connection with fans is undeniable when he describes his standout moment from performing live as the support act for Justin Bieber at Suncorp Stadium.

“Nobody in the crowd cared about us at all,” he said with a laugh.

However he said the band was grateful to have the opportunity to reach so many people, making it a moment he will never forget.

After shooting into the spotlight in 2014 with their second single Geronimo, now at more than 300 million streams on Spotify, siblings George, Amy and Emma Sheppard and bandmates Jason and Dean have been playing in stadiums around the world alongside icons of the industry.

While their live performances may be on pause, there is much more to look forward to from Sheppard with seven songs already released and more releases planned.

Along with their upcoming singles, Symphony is available for streaming on Spotify now with the accompanying music video available on YouTube.