B Lo The Influence Muzik

By on January 30, 2019

Ephrata-raised rapper Brett Shepherd composes for brand

Ephrata-raised rapper Brett Shepherd is currently pursuing his dreams in the city of Pittsburgh. By day, he works on cars and is looking to attain his Automotive Service Excellence certification; by night, he composes new lyrics and instrumentals for his music brand, B Lo The Influence Muzik.

“I’ll work on music hours upon hours, and I’m a perfectionist, so I won’t stop till I feel it’s how I want it,” revealed Shepherd. “I’m always working to make it bigger.”

That said, Shepherd feels his efforts have paid off on his most recent album, Templar Hearted.

“This album I just released was [a] great moment to say the least,” Shepherd said. “I felt so much pride from it.”

Shepherd’s passion for music began when he was a student at Ephrata Area School District, where he also participated in martial arts and football. During his lunch periods in high school, Shepherd would write poetry. When he shared one of his pieces with his friends, they encouraged him to “put [it] behind beats,” which fueled him to dive deeper into music.

Owing to his rebellious spirit, Shepherd also spent a great deal of time grounded in his bedroom. When he found himself alone, Shepherd would slip on a pair of headphones and listen to music on his Walkman.

“I used to just zone out and dream it was me on those records,” said Shepherd. “Music calmed me and made me feel so much emotion. It helped vent out a lot of darkness.”

Shepherd dedicated himself to the pursuit of music at the 2004 Ozzfest, an annual musical festival founded by Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne that features a lineup of hard rock and heavy metal acts. Shepherd attended the festival for his 15th birthday with his best friend, Sean, who would later help Shepherd land his first studio session.

“[Ozzfest 2004] was an experience I’ll never forget. Seeing those acts [on] stage and the energy they gave made me think to myself, ‘that’s what I want to do, and I will do that.’ I made a promise to myself that I’ll never give up on that dream,” said Shepherd.

Shepherd was heavily influenced by rappers like Eminem, as well as metalcore, nu metal, and dubstep acts. Shepherd sees his own sound as a mixture of these genres.

“Some would call [my brand] Rapcore so to speak,” said Shepherd. “All in all, it’s rap/hip-hop, rock, metalcore, EDM and dubstep all thrown together.”

This is the cover of Templar Hearted, the most recent album recorded by Brett Shepherd and B Low The Influence Muzik. (Art by Rachael Schwenning)

Shepherd’s music stems from moods and emotions.

“A lot of the time… I feel sounds,” said Shepherd. “So whatever mood I’m in, I’ll start creating an instrumental around that feeling.”

Many of the songs featured on Templar Hearted are about Shepherd’s angry “inner demon,” but according to the rapper, there is a more positive shift toward the end of the album. Shepherd says that some of latter tracks are about rising above hatred and reconfiguring his priorities so that he can be a good father for his son.

His musical journey has been long and frustrating, but Shepherd would say the following to beginners: “Just go out there and do it. Don’t worry about what other people think… and do not ever give up.”

Pittsburgh is an optimal location for Shepherd, given its music scene, which has helped rappers like Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller grow and gain support. While Shepherd now lives with girlfriend, Rachael, in the Steel City, Ephrata remains a special place for him because it is where he spent so much of his life. He will always remember annual visits to the Ephrata Fair and father-son trips to the Zinn’s Park batting cages.

“Ephrata is who I am,” said Shepherd. “I’m proud of it.”

Shepherd is on Instagram and Facebook, and his music can be found on iTunes and Spotify.

Hannah Woodruff is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express and Ephrata Review. She welcomes your questions and comments at hwoodruff98@gmail.com.

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