The world has watched Chevel Shepherd grow up since she sang The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young” while auditioning on NBC’s “The Voice.”
A few months later, Shepherd beat out the competition and took home the crown during the 15th season in Dec. 2018.
On the national stage, the then-16-year-old made heads turn.
It’s been just over two years since that win – Shepherd finished high school in Farmington and is focused on her music career.
Despite the pandemic, the 18-year-old, has continued to put out music.
On Friday, March 26, she will release her debut EP, “Everybody’s Got a Story.” It will be released on her independent label, Country Sweetheart.
“It’s been a really long time coming,” she says during a recent interview. “It’s an incredible dream come true.”
At the end of 2019, Shepherd spent time traveling between Farmington and Nashville, Tennessee, to select songs.
She pored over a few hundred songs before choosing seven for the EP.
The songs picked were written by some of the industry’s heavy hitters, including Kacey Musgraves, Shane McAnally and Brandy Clark.
“Shane wrote ‘Broken Hearts’ for when I won ‘The Voice,’ ” she says. “Kacey is so talented, and I look up to her. It’s really awesome to have songs that she wrote.”
Going to Nashville to look for songs, Shepherd had a plan.
“I really look for songs that tell a story,” she says. “Through the hundreds of songs, I knew that I had to find songs that I could relate to as well as others. It was a fun process.”
For months, she worked with Todd Tidwell on the EP.
Shepherd also felt the songs had to represent her growth as a person and artist over the past two years.
“I hope through these songs, people will see Chevel even more,” she says. “I want my music to be full of stories. They are what country music is about. I fell in love with the stories in the country music I listened to. I want to be able to reach people in the same way. The music is for the people.”
Of course, with the new music will come a new music video.
In February, Shepherd began production on the video for the single “Good Boy,” from the EP. It will be released shortly after the EP.
The video features Charlie Gillespie starring opposite Shepherd. Gillispie is know for his role in Netflix’s “Julie and the Phantoms,” “Degrassi: Next Class” and “Charmed.”
The pair met while on the set of a Kenny Ortega-directed production of the musical “Hair,” in which they both were cast.
Shepherd wanted the video to be made close to home.
“It was so much fun to do it local,” she says. “The majority of it was done in Farmington. We also went up to Colorado for some of it. It was about five or six days of production. I’m really proud of how it came out, and I can’t wait to also share this part of the journey with the world.”
Shepherd is looking forward to the possibility of touring after spending most of 2020 at home.
She did a virtual concert in June and had fun with it. She’s also remained active on social media to connect with her fans.
“I’ve been on social media every Saturday performing a few songs,” she says. “But those are from my room with no production at all. This has been a good way for me to keep the music alive.”