Whether it was a song on the radio, an older sibling, a TV program, or a combination of the three, learning how music found its way to someone’s life has long been a favoured topic of discussion. Having collected a fair share of comical, emotional or quasi-therapeutical narratives over the years, I have to admit that Felix Shepherd’s story took me by surprise.
“The first song that stuck in my mind?” – Felix muses – “Well, it’s kind of embarrassing….. There was this band called the ‘Naked Brother’s’ on Nickelodeon. They had this song called ‘Banana Smoothie’.”
The Brummie singer-songwriter shares on how his favourite cartoons spurred him to pursue his musical career, aged seven. – “I’d walk around my house for weeks singing that song, and I remember asking my mum for a guitar around then. They later released one called ‘I don’t want to go to school’, and that was it – I was sold.”
Felix’s early renditions of the Brothers show encouraged him to pick up the strings and start writing his songs, growing alongside his craft. Fast-forward nearly half a decade; aged thirteen, Felix’s indie-pop melodies were already getting the nods of approval at several open-mics nights across the city, fuelling him to take his music to the next level.
“I was one of those kids that just had everything. I had a PlayStation and an Xbox, but one day, I picked up all of that, took it to a shop and sold it all. I bought a microphone off eBay with the money I got from it.”
There’s tremendous power into wanting to learn something for the first time. From the comfort of his parent’s house, he would spend a summer learning the basics of self-recording and music production by himself. For the past couple of years, Felix has withdrawn himself from social media and the public eye due to a dimmed health condition. This episode in his life might have forced him to press pause, but it also gave him time to put his thoughts to paper.
Over the five tracks of his new EP, ‘Polar Points’, Felix’s voice commands you through his own romantic adventures and misfortunes. Under the atmospheric sonic textures, Felix’s distinctive raw vocals, share the tales of two lovers; two polar opposites that equally attract and repel each other – a relationship that cannot be any more. ‘Always been’, the album’s lead single and ‘Tell you’ are the crowning gems of this body of work.
“I have to tell you, my manager was the one that really pushed for ‘Tell you’. We had twelve possible tracks on this EP, and I wasn’t 100% sure about it before we released it. I must have written that song about two years ago. It definitely is the best one to play live, and I’m glad I listened to her.” – Felix shares.
Since the EP’s release in April, his dreamy pop sounds have been drawing attention from the likes of BBC Introducing, Brum Radio and the BMA anointed him with the Rising Star Award this year.
What is he up to now? Well… From watching TV, Felix is now on TV.
Starting at ITV’s X-Factor weekend past, his cover of Kodaline’s ‘All I want’ earned him a standing ovation and enthusiastic support from all four judges on Saturday. A good omen for the young singer-songwriter. Aged 20, Felix is still juggling his musical career with the pursuit of his academic studies, but one thing is certain. The tone of his voice permeates his excitement to where the future may lead him, and it is infectious.
Words by Catarina Ramalho