Winnipeg-born, Montreal-based Elizabeth Shepherd is a natural at moving between different musical circles. Though the critically-acclaimed vocalist and pianist has been embraced by international jazz fans since the 2006 release of her debut album, Start To Move, she is just as adored by lovers of soulful dance music and funky hip-hop. That said, Shepherd's own heart, much like her songwriting, is rooted in jazz: "The music that moves me above all is jazz and its offshoots, from delta blues to hip-hop."
Elizabeth's fifth album, The Signal, (a nod to the groundbreaking show of the same name heard on CBC Radio 2) has almost universally been hailed as the best of her career, earning a coveted spot on the 2015 Polaris Music Prize Long List. All Music calls the album "hip, bracing, sophisticated and accessible." The Signal and an upcoming trilogy of recordings (part of a conceptually adventurous exploration of urban life) mark Shepherd's move away from the 'navel-gazing' introversion of her earlier material towards a greater engagement with the world. Elizabeth explained her vision in a recent interview with Alexander Varty of The Georgia Straight (straight.com), "I grew up in the Salvation Army, and so for me music has always been a dual experience of spiritual exploration and a vehicle for the Salvation Army's mandate, which has sort of a social-justice angle ... and I feel that, in making peace with my upbringing, music has come to represent those things again. It’s a vehicle for spiritual expression, and a way of feeling like I am doing something more than just making something, hopefully, of beauty - that I’m also contributing, in some way, to making things better."