The Sheppard family already brought their collective musical dream to life in their native Australia.
The group—whose foundation includes siblings George, Amy, and Emma Sheppard—went from penning songs on their front porch to knocking Pharrell Williams’ mega-hit “Happy” off the top of the Australian charts with the international smash “Geronimo”. It’s just a precursor of what’s to come though as the Australian multi-platinum indie six-piece have officially launched their 2014 debut US EP, Geronimo.
Their story starts two and half thousand miles from Brisbane in the tropical Pacific paradise of Papua New Guinea, where the family moved with their lawyer father. Music was in the air from day one. Dad blasted Cat Stevens in the house to get the kids out of bed in the mornings, while mom sent them for lessons in piano and music theory.
George, Amy and Emma, the three siblings at the center of the band could not be more primed for career writing and performing music.
“I was singing in the shower one day,” laughs singer George Sheppard. “My sister Amy could hear me through the walls. Consequentially, she had to write a song with harmonies for a music course and she asked if I’d sing with her. It was the first time she had ever heard my voice! I never had solid aspirations to be a musician until then.”
The siblings quickly expanded their band to include guitarist and producer Jay Bovino, guitarist Dean Gordon, drummer Michael Butler and their younger sister Emma on bass guitar. After writing nearly 30 songs, and after much persistence, they were granted a meeting with Australian music industry legend, Michael Chugg, who would become their manager.
With Chugg’s experience on their side and their “DIY” spirit, the band continued to break the mold as radio stations in Australia began to embrace the group's first single "Let Me Down Easy,” without major label support. It even became most requested song for four weeks in a row on KNRK in Portland, giving the band their first taste of success in the States.
“Let Me Down Easy” was a breakthrough for Sheppard in Australia. The band secured their first major television appearance performing on the popular television show, Mornings, with host and radio DJ, David Campbell. After the performance, “Let Me Down Easy” became a national, double platinum selling sensation. Unprecedented success followed with the release of their history-making, quadruple-platinum 2014 single “Geronimo.” It quickly vaulted to #1 on Australia’s ARIA charts in only three weeks and held the top spot for another three weeks, making it the “longest-running independent #1 in Australian music history.” Sheppard released their first Australian full-length, Bombs Away, in the summer of 2014 and the album received gold certification shortly after.
As the buzz exploded internationally, Sheppard caught the attention of hit makers, Republic Records and powerhouse manager, Scooter Braun. They then inked a deal with Republic and Braun's own School Boy Records—part of Universal Music Group. In August of 2014, the band released their Geronimo EP in North America.
Their unique influences can be heard in their musical DNA, merging a sun-drenched island vibe combined and a knack for pop hooks. The EP features four songs including “Geronimo.”
George explains that “Geronimo” is about “taking leaps of faith and doing something everybody else totally thinks is going to fail but you have the courage to see it through and get through it. You’re making a jump of defiance.”
Appropriately enough, the way in which the companion video for “Geronimo” was brought to life captures the essence of that theme, as the band was adamant about conceptualizing its inventive and cinematic quality with video director Toby Morris, as opposed to accepting suggested treatments.
Elsewhere on theEP, “Smile” exudes a strong sense of sonic bliss, while “Something’s Missing” shows another side of the band. “It’s got a bit of a funky undercurrent,” George adds. The combination of euphoric melodies and emotional content make for a sound that is instantly inspirational.
Ultimately, Sheppard spreads a little light through each song. “Even though some of the subject matter can be dark, we make light of it,” George concludes. “It’s about laughing through tragedy and making sad things happy. This is music for the underdog. I hope it offers up some fun, laughter and happiness.”