Melody Sheppard Pleads Us to Go Higher with Single “Try” 2020 Has been a trying year for nearly all of us in some way or another. Whether it meant we were trapped indoors with the rising tensions of sharing space with our loved ones to others who were not so lucky having to be on the front lines of a global pandemic that continues to ravage the world. Many of us took to music as a cathartic respite and in all honesty, this year has given us some great music to get lost in.
Now with an abundance of spare time, more densely packed and produced songs have had a chance to really linger and be processed by an audience. I’d say a major theme this year musically besides catharsis was relief, relief from a painful world and the overwhelming desire to get back to normal or to do even better than normal. Nowhere is that effectively being explored more than in Melody Sheppard’s single: “Try.” This is actually Melody’s second version of this song, once released back in 2018. That version of “Try” felt more in line with an anthem of empowerment, kicking and soaring to being better complete with a glossy, Boxing inspired, slickly produced music video.
This new interpretation is a different beast altogether, showcasing how even the same song can have drastically different interpretations, allowing Sheppard to flex her range stylistically. Whereas the 2018 version had a heavy electronic infused sound and pumping bass, its 2020 counterpart exchanges that all in favor of a single grand piano. The song is powerful on its own, Sheppard fully displaying her vocal capabilities from belting triumphantly to the quieter nuances of the buildups to her chorus. Her voice is magnetic and in the accompanying music video, you can sense her staggering stage presence.
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Another major switch between versions it’s the context with their respective music videos. Sheppard’s video for the 2020 version was actually shot in the decimated site of a Tennessee community church that was unfortunately ravaged by a Tornado attack that left 73 deceased. It transforms the song into a powerfully effective ballad of survival and living for those who no longer can. Never at any minute does it feel exploitive and resonates deeply with each listen. It’s lyrical content is minimalistic, but not simplistic or naïve and it’s all the more effective for it. It achieves a lot with only the backing piano and Sheppard’s beautiful vocals.
Personally, of the two versions, I prefer this one. Not to say there’s anything wrong with the previous iteration, but this feels like an artist operating at full capacity, pulling out the stops as a showcase of their raw talent and a very singular voice. My hope would be that for now Sheppard stays in this current aesthetic as she doesn’t need glossy production to command our attention. There’s something very classical in her presentation that leaves me excitedly awaiting her next release.
by Wyatt Kennedy