Guest Author - Shelia M. Goss
Shelia Goss: Where are you located?
Jeff Sheppard: Melbourne, Australia
Shelia: How long have you been singing?
Jeff: Singing for me has really been more of an extension of my songwriting. The first song I wrote was in 1990, so I guess you could say I have been shaping my vocal style for 16 years.
Shelia: Tell me about your CD.
Jeff: The concept I had for “Take it with you” or rather what it evolved into, was learning how to accept change. Our lives are shaped by everything we go through, good, bad and beautiful. I think to make the most out of your life you need to use all of these experiences to make you better. “Take it with you” captures how I want to grow as a person by using every experience to define who I am. It became the theme throughout the writing of this album and the perfect title.
Shelia: How long does it take you to compose a song?
Jeff: Some of my favorite songs have come in a few hours, and some of my most meaningful have come over many, many hours of writing and re working until they are just what I wish them to be. Some have been a work in progress over a few years because songwriting is more to me than just a capture of time or a way of expression. The words and music will be listened to and affect people more than we know so I always make sure I am thoughtful of this.
Shelia: What can listeners expect when they hear your music?
Jeff: I have been told my music is very relaxing yet thought provoking. One of my friends once told me it made her slow down while driving. I have since been told it has a calming effect. I hope that listeners can hear that I cherish life. I face what is happening in my life through my writing so you will hear honest emotional thoughts with positive messages. This is how I approach both the music and lyric in my songwriting. Surprisingly displaying this through the music is easier than through the lyric, because music is the best way to communicate emotions that can’t find words. It is New Soul with a difference.
Shelia: What makes your CD different than some of the others in your genre?
Jeff: I think we all have our unique touch in this world. I am, and will be the only one of me ever. I also think my approach to my writing is what makes me different. I take time to make sure that no matter what it is I am writing about, that it is positive. It might be sad or moving sometimes but my goal is to make a difference not just express what I have gone through. I want my words to help make the world a better place. I believe we all shape this world and I want my music to be where I can make a difference and make it a little bit better.
Shelia: When did you decide to pursue a music career?
Jeff: It has just always been a part of my being. Ever since I can remember I have had a desire to make music a part of my life. Every decision or choice is an extension of my love for music and these choices have shaped my path. It has been the foundation of learning all that I love in creating music from writing and producing, to learning to sing and play the piano. The career side was something I always knew would eventuate, it has been a long time coming. But it has only been this last year that I have made it my full time career. It has before then always been my absolute passion, but not my full time job.
Shelia: What advice do you give others interested in following your path?
Jeff: One of the things that helped get me to a point of releasing my music independently, was making sure I still had money coming in. While I was working towards making a living off music, I always kept working full time which allowed me to slowly build my studio. It was also great in helping me develop my songwriting skills until I felt ready to take new steps with my music.
This allowed me to have control over what I wanted to achieve and enjoy every step because they were steps I had chosen. My advice is to enjoy what you are doing, for each step in the journey is as important as the destination. And NEVER give up.
Shelia: How would you describe your sound?
Jeff: My musical description has best been put into these words: “Sounds like Seal with Maxwell's smooth vocals and a John Mayer feel to it.”
I love blending my favorite music styles together which is also why I have such a hard time trying to place it in any one genre. My love of soul music has definitely shaped my vocal and musical style. And my love for so many of the different musical instruments means I will use anything from orchestral tones (string sections etc) to Congas, electric or acoustic Guitars,
Piano or Synths. I like to keep my albums interesting. Almost like a compilation of artists, though still holding a strong link to the theme and sound I create. It all comes back to what each song needs.
Shelia: Besides singing, what's something you enjoy doing?
Jeff: There are so many things that I enjoy in life. Music is always what wins my time, but I love photography also. I have a passion for a lot of the arts.
Shelia: How can readers get a copy of your CD?
Jeff: My CDs are available through CDBaby
They are also available in digital format through itunes
All of these links can be found on www.myspace.com/jeffsheppard.