Some describe music as a calling, but for Melody Sheppard, it goes much deeper. It’s the reason she breathes. From years of learning the ropes on stage, as a child from recording artists well before her time, Melody Sheppard emerged on the Nashville music scene as an independent artist at the age of fifteen.
After collaborating with 2 x Grammy Award-winning producer and songwriter Shannon Sanders in 2018, the dynamic collaboration of the two led to Melody Sheppard releasing a single titled, “TRY.” As she dips into authentic themes of challenging her audience to tackle obstacles in their way, she reiterates the prevailing message to pull through while never giving up.
Two years later, Melody Sheppard is fresh off the launch of her own acoustic elucidation of, “TRY.” As Melody Sheppard taps into ethereal territories that this single has yet to see, she embraces the dominant tones radiated in her lush vocal performance as she cascades her essence on this ameliorated creation. Accompanying the tantalizing production of, “TRY,” with an enticing music video sure to draw in listeners, Melody Sheppard uses this moment to pay tribute to the cluster of deadly tornadoes that impacted Tennessee in 2020. With this stripped-down version of, “TRY,” breaking through the soundwaves, we admire the impactful spirit of the message to shine through each carefully crafted word penned.
The unique take on the visual aspect shows Melody Sheppard performing this piece on the piano amongst the debris and aftermath of the tornadoes that touched down. Her triumphant vocal performance matches the tone of the music video in a way that victoriously meshes the two together, like finding the final puzzle piece and laying it down. Through the quick cute scenes that transport your mind in an interlude of meaningful conveyance, Melody Sheppard drives home the power that she holds in this beautifully unembellished acoustic version.
What sparked your inspiration in recreating this piece as an acoustic version?
Thank you so very much!! It’s a song I’m incredibly proud of and have been from day one. Some songs exist in a special place that transcends the original idea, and I’ve always felt TRY is one such song. The message reverberating throughout is simple, but it dives into the heart of what it means to truly persevere through adversity and strive to meet goals and chase dreams we’ve had from day one. When you take the instrumentation away and leave only the piano and melody, you have no choice but to let those words sink in even further and become words of affirmation I believe our hearts desperately need in this life. So, strip it away we did, and what was left is a beautiful ballad that took on a whole other life!
With the original song being created in a collaborative effort between you and Shannon Sanders, what was that process like?
Haha...collaborating with Shannon Sanders...I can honestly say that writing with Shannon is the only time I ever end up crying while creating! He is truly one of the most gifted songwriters and producers and I have ever known, so to share that space with him is quite an experience, and it’s definitely one that pulls out the real and raw and roots of my heart. He and I have worked together creating music for years, but the day we landed on TRY, I recall sitting across from him as the words to the bridge came together....”Bold and beautiful, strong and powerful, fearless and capable. Go in confidence, give it 100%, keep swinging for the fence.” I couldn’t hold back the tears as the words came out and I remembered yet again the power in speaking truth and life through song into the hearts of listeners. That’s creating with Shannon, though: it’s so much more than words and music and production to him. It’s leaving the world a better place than we found it through an art form that becomes the soundtrack to people’s hearts. TRY was created that day, and it’s been going strong ever since!
The concept for the music video is rather genius. Was this always the plan that you had in mind for the visuals?
Not in the slightest! We knew we wanted an acoustic visual to go with this new acoustic version, but no idea ever felt quite right. Then, I ran across a news story of a lone baby grand piano left standing atop the wreckage of a church from a tornado just days prior, and I think we were in the car the very next morning to that church in Chattanooga, TN. We knew we were heading into a war zone with so many lives affected and taken by this storm, but seeing the community come together to clean up and pull each other back onto their feet made it all the more important to get to that piano and capture such a beautiful moment amidst what had been utter chaos....a real-life version of the song we’d created years earlier...clearly meant for such a moment as this.
What was it like filming on set? Are there any memorable stories that you would like to share about the process?
This video was truly as simple as it gets and yet profoundly complicated at the same time! The rain had absolutely drenched the entire area the night before, and you can still see water dripping from the bottom of the piano in the video! It was quite chilly and breezy, my fingers icy cold trying to play the notes on the keys, but the sun was out and shining in the most brilliant way, and it suddenly didn’t matter a bit. Volunteer clean up crews were everywhere, and it took several times of willing myself to hold back the tears as we filmed instead of letting them fall as I saw folks standing on top of piles of shredded homes and the pieces of Faith Wesleyan Community Church. They were there to make sense of this massive destruction in their lives, but at that moment, they stood still watching and listening, smiling through their own tears, and holding socially distanced arms out in appreciation at us as I sang words that truly were an anthem for their story of adversity and redemption. It was incredibly surreal and in one of those moments, I am thankful this music is more than and bigger than me. It’s just not about me. It’s about the heart and soul of what makes us keep going. They were doing it right before my eyes, and my song was now a part of their story, too.
What can we expect to see next from you?
There is some special new music we’ve been cooking up for a while, and I am SUPER excited about serving it up in 2021! I’m a big lover of anthemic vocals and songs that encourage and empower and uplift, so you’ll definitely hear more of that in the new stuff, but it’s also time to release some new sounds, thoughts, and musical influences in these songs, so stay tuned...it’s gonna be a fun ride!