Known for her enchanting voice, groove-driven melodies, her lyricism and virtuosic piano playing, Elizabeth Shepherd is above all a playful spirit, looking to share her take on the world. Shepherd's parents were Salvation Army ministers, which lead the family on a nomadic 15 year journey across Canada and all over France. It also provided her with a solid musical base - playing tenor horn in the bands, singing in the choirs, and hitting the road from age 10 on, to perform musicals directed by her father. Her conservatory classical piano studies were never fully left behind, though an early love-affair with hip-hop and soul music inevitably lead her to jazz. After a 3 year foray into French poetry, she wound up studying jazz and classical piano at McGill University.
Initially thinking she would pursue music therapy, a family tragedy in 2003 caused her to think long and hard on pursuing that nagging dream that had faded but had never been extinguished. Upon realizing it was fear holding her back, she felt that wasn't a good enough reason to move through this life, only to possibly wake up one day with the bitter regret of never having tried her hand at what she wanted most: to write and perform her own music.
A move to Toronto in 2004, in order to be closer to her family, was what provided her with the clean slate to begin pursuing that dream. And it payed off; Toronto has indeed been good to her.
Her multiple accolades since her debut release in 2006 include 2 Juno nominations for "Start to Move" (2007) and "Parkdale" (2009), BBC Top 3 jazz albums of the year nomination, a CMW award, a national jazz nomination for best vocalist, and a long-list Polaris Prize nomination for her ground-breaking album, "Heavy Falls the Night" (2010). She has toured Europe, Japan, the U.S. and Canada, with shows at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, Tokyo’s Cotton Club and the Northseas Festival. Fans and critics have drawn comparisons to the likes of Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, and Rickie Lee Jones. What these names all share is their accessibility and distinctness which transcend genre and age.
Shepherd draws upon her roots, weaving together singer-songwriter lyricism, sassy pop, infectious grooves, and the sophistication of jazz. Her tunes are always a departure from convention, yet when performing live, one never has the sense of leaving the home she weaves on stage and invites her audience to be part of. As Shepherd’s fans well know, they will leave a show marked as much by her transparency and soul as by her tremendous musicality.
Her newest album, "Rewind", to be released in April 2012, is yet another departure for Elizabeth. She has taken eleven songs from her past, covering everything from French chansonnier classics to 1930s show-tunes and in a style entirely unique to her, reinterprets them with soul, style and sophistication. She will be touring "Rewind" starting April, 2012.
"Whether you're a hipster, a purist or a Diana Krall-loving softie, she will win you over" ~The Gazette (Montreal)
"An insightful singer/songwriter of evident talent and originality" ~London Evening Standard (UK)
"Righteous grooves" ~EXCLAIM (Canada)
"A promising new star on the global stage" ~NOW (Toronto)
“Subtle and captivating” ~The Mirror (Montreal)
"She continues to impress" ~Edmonton Journal
"Cool, smart and sexy" ~The Globe and Mail (Canada)
"Will be in heavy rotation..." ~Earshot Magazine
"Mesmerizing" ~All About Jazz