Following on from a whirlwind 12 months, packed with international shows, the Eurovision song competition, a #1 album and studio sessions across multiple continents, Australian hit-makers Sheppard have returned home with their latest single ‘Die Young’, a track that until recently, had the band questioning their creative direction.
In late February, the band took a brief break from performing as lead singer George Sheppard was diagnosed with a throat injury. Despite spending the next three months resting, by May it was clear that George required vocal surgery, which he underwent last month. The forced rest and songwriting sessions led him to consider what kind of artist he was outside of Sheppard, culminating in a two-week long silent retreat in the mountains.
At the same time as George’s introspection, Amy Sheppard was igniting an important conversation about body shaming and beauty standards with the global #kissmyfatass campaign.
The question hung in the air as to whether the individual pursuits of the members left a future for Sheppard.
“We began to ask what we wanted next, for ourselves individually, for the band and for our fans. We wrote “Die Young” as though it was a ‘final’ Sheppard song; a song about appreciating each day and living it as though it was your last,” said George Sheppard
In the midst of this introspection, the band’s core team of Amy, George and Jay Bovino came together again to record #kissmyfatass, a chance for the trio to reconnect creatively after many months.
“When Jay, Amy and I finally got back into the studio to record “Kiss My Fat Ass”, it was such a fun new sound for us and the three of us worked great together,” said George Sheppard. “It was clear each of us had been on our own individual journeys of reflection and growth. It reminded me of the early days of writing for the first album and how much fun it was to rediscover ourselves musically.”
Sheppard realised that far from being an artistic shackle, the band was a vehicle of creative energy and foundation for each of their individual pursuits. A place the members can express themselves as a collective that evolves alongside and supports the members’ personal journeys.
“Sheppard as we’ve come to know it has changed, we’ve grown as artists and humans over the course of the last 8 years of playing and writing together. I’m sure we’ll keep changing and growing as the years go on, but it was nice to be reminded that the core members of this band aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. At the end of the day I realised it wasn’t the end of Sheppard, it was just a shift. I’m not sure what happens next, but I’m the most excited to get back to making music than I’ve been for a long time!”