In the build up to the final episode of qualifiers, we were able to sit down with Idaho resident and artist Andrew Sheppard for an interview. While we were together Andrew talked about how his participation in the American Song Contest was a complete chance happening, and how a certain life altering event put him on the path to being a musician. Check out the full interview below!
Hello Andrew – thanks for taking some time out of your ASC prep to interview with us today! Why don’t you tell our readers a bit about yourself?
My Name is Andrew Sheppard I am a singer/ Songwriter from Hailey, Idaho. I have been writing, recording and touring for the past 15 years and excited to see where the show takes me into the next journey of my music.
And you’ll be representing your home state of Idaho in the American Song Contest this coming Monday. What has life been like for you since the cast was revealed?
Life hasn’t changed drastically just yet. But I have been gaining quite a bit more of an interest in Idaho of people who hadn’t heard of me in my home state. So I look forward to seeing those people out at future events!
Now Idaho is a state that people might not know a lot about – what are some facts or characteristics about Idaho that our readers need to know?
There’s more to Idaho than just potatoes! Idaho has the largest wilderness in the lower 48. It’s called the Frank Church and it’s astonishing. We also have over 3000 miles of rivers which is more than any other state. Arco Idaho was also the first City to ever be lit with atomic energy.
You mentioned you’ve been performing for nearly fifteen years now, how did you first learn that you had a passion and talent for music? At what point did that passion transition into a career for you?
I grew up with a mother that was a musician so music was very much a part of my life growing up. I didn’t actually start playing until around high school and I was playing bass in some bands.
After I had a bad skateboard injury I bought myself and acoustic guitar and starting writing my own songs. I wanted to live a lifestyle that allowed me to be creative and travel at the same time so I decided to pursue music as it would allow me to do both of those things. I kept at it long enough that I started getting paid for what I love and have kept at it ever since.
If I asked you to describe your music using only five words – which words would you pick?
Gritty, honest, fun, energetic, passionate.
You’ve got a pretty vast resume of tours and concerts over the last few years – is there a gig or performance you’ve done that stands out as the most memorable? Why that performance?
That would be StageCoach music festival. It was most memorable because of all the other incredible artists that also played. I got to be alongside some of my musical heroes all in the same place.
That sounds like a wonderful experience! But here’s a tricky question for you – if you got a magical phone that granted you the ability to call any studio and convince them to add your music to a film or TV show’s soundtrack (past, present, or future), who would get the call and why?
I would call Sam Phillips at Sun Records. I would call him back in 1955 because he was the pioneer of all things rock n’ roll, country, soul and rockabilly. If it weren’t for him and that studio we wouldn’t have ever heard all the great records we get to today.
And is there one thing that our readers would be surprised to learn about you, like any secret hobbies or passions outside of music?
That I was a sponsored skateboarder before becoming a musician. I also used to teach skateboarding as an after-school program in Los Angeles.
Let’s chat more about the American Song Contest, the big reason we’re here together. How did you first learn about the contest and what motivated you to submit an entry?
I had seen that there was a submission and just figured I’d toss my name in the hat. I can’t hurt to try kind of thing. Alas, my name was picked from the hat and it seemed like a fun opportunity.
Can you share a bit of the songwriting process for your song “Steady Machine”? Was the song written specifically for ASC or did you write the song for another reason at first?
I started writing the song while living in Nashville actually, and when I decided to move back home to Idaho I finished it. It is partly about moving back and trusting my own process and to not worry about the future and going full speed ahead into the unknown.
Speaking of the future, for our readers who want to connect with you ahead of or after the contest, where can they find you and your music?
Alright, one last question for you – is there a final message you’d like to share with our readers?
Always trust the process and your intuition.
Well Andrew, I want to thank you again for your time and we wish you the best of luck in the American Song Contest!
Remember #YOU can catch Andrew Sheppard on the next episode of the American Song Contest April 18th at 8 PM Eastern/7 PM Central. #YOU can also jump into the ASC discussions happening on social media @ESCUnited, on our discord, or on our forum page!