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Elizabeth Shepherd is a Canadian singer, songwriter, pianist and producer.

Elizabeth Shepherd
Elizabeth Shepherd .jpg
Background information
Born1977 (age 41–42)
OriginMontreal, Quebec
GenresVocal jazz, soul, pop, R&B
Occupation(s)Singer, pianist, songwriter, arranger, producer
InstrumentsVocals, keyboards
Years active2006–present
LabelsPinwheel Music, Linus Entertainment, Do Right
Associated actsLionel Loueke, Michael Occhipinti, MC Abdominal


Early lifeEdit

Born in 1977, Shepherd is the daughter of two ministers of The Salvation Army.[1] From an early age, she was accustomed to hearing choirs and brass bands. She attended conservatories in Canada and France, then completed a degree in jazz piano from McGill University in Montreal after considering a career in music therapy.


In 2004, Shepherd moved to Toronto and worked as a waitress at a piano bar.[2] She began performing, and became a regular entertainer at the restaurant.[3] She formed The Elizabeth Shepherd Trio with Scott Kemp on bass and Colin Kingsmore on drums.[4] In 2006, she recorded her debut album, Start to Move,[5] which was voted among the top three jazz albums of 2006 by the listeners of The Gilles Peterson Show on BBC Radio 1. The album was nominated for a Juno Award in 2007.[2] The trio performed songs from the album at The Jazz Café in London, England.

Shepherd's second studio album, Parkdale (2008), dealt sympathetically with its Toronto neighbourhood namesake, which is known for its grit. The album was produced by Nostalgia 77, a DJ in London, and was nominated for a Juno Award in 2009.[6]

Heavy Falls the Night (2010) featured only one cover song, a reworking of "Danny's Song". Shepherd produced the album with the exception of the first single, "Seven Bucks", which was co-produced with Japanese DJ Mitsu the Beats and climbed to No. 37 on the "Tokio Hot 100" chart. The album was long listed for the 2010 Polaris Music Prize.[7][2]

In 2012, the choice of songs for her album Rewind was influenced by her pregnancy.[8] The album consisted of jazz-pop cover versions of traditional pop songs by Cole Porter, the Gershwin brothers, Kurt Weill, and José Luis Perales. Rewind was dedicated to her daughter and was nominated for the Juno Award for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year in 2012.

Shepherd's album The Signal (2014) consisted of ten original songs on topics as varied as motherhood, Monsanto, witchcraft, and war, and featured guests such as Benin-born guitarist and composer Lionel Loueke and drummer Larnell Lewis.[9][2] The album was long-listed for the Polaris Music Prize in 2015 and was nominated for the Juno Award for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year in 2015.

Her most recent concept album, 'MONTREAL' (2019), is a soulful blend of film and music into an ode celebrating her hometown and its rich history of untold stories.

Shepherd has performed at jazz clubs in many countries, from Tokyo's Cotton Club to London's Jazz Café[4] and Detroit's Cliff Bell's. She has appeared at festivals on both sides of the Atlantic, including Montreal Jazz Festival, ELB Jazz and the North Sea Jazz Festival. In 2009, she was invited by British singer Jamie Cullum to open for him at a sold-out show at the Hollywood Bowl.

Shepherd has appeared on public radio networks around the world including NPR (US), P2 (Sweden), IMER (Mexico), ARD (Germany). She has also performed on The Gilles Peterson Show on BBC Radio 1 (UK), J-Wave's Modaista (Japan), and Q on CBC Radio (Canada).

Critical receptionEdit

With Robert Glasper, Esperanza Spalding and Jose James, Shepherd is sometimes credited with invigorating the jazz song and bringing jazz-influenced music to a younger audience.[10][9][11] Real Detroit Weekly has called her "a jazz virtuoso blessed with a pop sensibility",[12] while Mojo Magazine has described her "an intellectual Esperanza Spalding".[9]

Several critics declared her album The Signal a masterpiece.[13][14][15]


  • Start to Move (Do Right, 2006)
  • Besides (Do Right, 2007)
  • Parkdale (Do Right, 2008)
  • Heavy Falls the Night (Do Right, 2010)
  • Rewind (Pinwheel/Linus Entertainment 2012)
  • The Signal (Linus, 2014)
  • MONTREAL (Pinwheel Music, 2019)


  1. ^ "Elizabeth Shepherd Moves On Up". By David Dacks Exclaim!, Jan 01, 2006
  2. ^ a b c d Nastos, Michael G. "Elizabeth Shepherd". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  3. ^ "Elizabeth Shepherd may have some high-profile gigs lined up, but she's still not ready to give up the simple life". Toronto Star - Toronto, Ont. Terauds, John. May 10, 2008 Page: E.3
  4. ^ a b Perlich, Tim (2009-02-11). "Hard-swinging jazz singer/pianist hits jarring dance groove". NOW Magazine. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
  5. ^ "ELIZABETH SHEPHERD TRIO".NOW Toronto, by Sarah Liss. July 20, 2006
  6. ^ "Vocal Jazz Album of the Year 2009". Juno Award database
  7. ^ Polaris Music Prize longlist Archived January 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Elizabeth Shepherd – Rewind (2012)". Something Else, October 18, 2012 review by Jordan Richardson
  9. ^ a b c Waring, Charles (January 2015). "Superior sixth album from soul-jazz auteur". MOJO Magazine.
  10. ^ Jazz, All About. "Elizabeth Shepherd: Signal". Retrieved 2016-06-15.
  11. ^ Kelman, John. "2012 Umea Jazz Festival: Umea, Sweden, October 24-28, 2012". Retrieved 2016-06-16.
  12. ^ Zlatopolsky, Ashley. "Sweet Disclosure | Ear Candy". Real Detroit Weekly. Archived from the original on 2012-09-16. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
  13. ^ Leimann, Eric (September 2014). "Ein Soul-Groove-Meisterwerk". Radio Erft.
  14. ^ Aaron, S. Victor (2014-09-22). "Elizabeth Shepherd - The Signal (2014)". Something Else!. Retrieved 2016-06-16.
  15. ^ Zauerer, Angelika (October 18, 2014). "Frischer Wind in der Jazz-Lounge". Mittelbayerische Zeitung.

External linksEdit