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Judge for Claiborne Shepherd

Jacksonville, FL
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Portrait of Claiborne Shepherd
Claiborne Shepherd was first introduced to the piano at the tender age of three. It did not take long for him to realize his calling.

Virginia born and Georgia raised, Shepherd’s early interest in making music was rivaled only by the talent he had playing it. Learning and playing by ear for most of his childhood, he was able to develop a unique sound that immediately seemed to catch with audiences. “Music was the thing I was good at. And it seemed very early on in my life that people liked my sound, and were very engaged when I was playing an instrument,” says Shepherd in his usual, passionate way.

Playing as often as he was able, he gained invaluable musical experience throughout his early years. Whether playing live shows on his own or collaborating with other artists, Shepherd worked hard at perfecting his craft. “The thing I gained most from my early musical encounters was confidence, especially in my writing,” notes Shepherd. “I feel I have really improved just having more experience, especially in songwriting.”

Playing a relentless schedule with many artists, he gained an appreciation for many different musical styles. The by-product of this is heard in his music - an eclectic sound that when blended with his powerful vocal abilities began to put the local scene on notice.

The culmination of Shepherd’s work thus far came in 2010, when he recorded his first album, “HEAD ABOVE WATER.” Featuring Chris Combs and Jake Williams, the album seamlessly weaves fast-paced tracks like “Hold Me Down,” emotionally charged rock pieces such as “Until I Break,” and vocally and lyrically powerful songs like “I'll Know” and “Dead and Gone.” The result is an amazing, passionate album centered on life experiences, personal failures & triumphs, and the growing through it all.

“I don’t view “HEAD ABOVE WATER” as my record debut as an artist or musician, says Shepherd. It is more of a photo album, a story, of significant events throughout my life up until this point.”

While this may be his first recorded effort, the songs that comprise the album are road tested and have already seen rousing success with audiences. Shepherd has gained a dedicated following touring various areas of the country. The most exciting part for Shepherd is still to come – continuing to play more shows and feeding off of the raw energy that comes from these live performances.

“I love the idea of touring different regions of America, or different parts of the world. Performing live and feeling how the music and presence touches fans is by far the greatest reward for me.”

With so much on the horizon, the future is more than bright for this emerging star.