Liberty Sophomore Records Her First Song in Nashville

Katherine Shepler, a sophomore artist development major in the School of Music, went from under the spotlight to the Mathena Recording Studio on Sept. 14. 

There, Shepler produced her new song “Graffiti” with visiting Nashville artists, Steve Brewster, Dave Cleveland, Jacob Lowery, and Jason Webb. 

“Over the summer, during my time in quarantine, I read a book called ‘Get Lost,’” Shepler said. “The author used an example of stain glass windows that really caught my attention. It made me think about situations in our life that we build up a bunch of walls and cover them up with graffiti to hide what we are facing. After breaking down some personal walls this past year, I had a desire to write a song about redemption.”

This young artist entered her original song into a pool of many other talented School of Music students, and she was the youngest of three artists selected. 

“I was super excited when I heard that I was selected for this amazing opportunity,” Shepler said. “Liberty has connections to open so many windows of opportunities and I knew this was a way to put myself out there.”

Shepler is no stranger to performing and songwriting, but this experience was an eye-opening opportunity. She was in and out of the studio for several hours recording and reworking her song with head producer Nathan Zwald, and the artists. 

Adaptability is one key characteristic Katherine accepted as a songwriter and her perception of recording changed throughout this process.

The recording was Shepler’s first major break in the music industry

“When they chose my song, I was told that we would have to rework some things, and at first when I envisioned this song with just piano and strings, that is exactly how I envisioned it being recorded,” Shepler said. “Listening and learning from these skilled professionals allowed them to rework the song in a different manner, but it sounded exactly how I imagined.” 

Tyler Harrison, a senior recording, engineering, and producing major, was the assistant producer for Shepler’s original song.

“I helped engineer the vocals and programming,” Harrison said. “I loved how the song was very piano-driven and just watching the Holy Spirit work through this process was great.”

Although the artists had the ability to mold and create this song as they saw fit, these professionals also sought Shepler’s input and her musical vision. After hours of persistent work, this team of musicians and producers brought this song to life. 

“My time in the studio was very inclusive, fast-paced, but not chaotic,” Shepler said. “From the time I walked in, to the time we were finished with the session, there was never a moment that we weren’t being productive. I introduced myself, handed them my charts, and before I knew it, we were finished.”

The Michael W. Smith Center for Commercial Music will host its Artist Development Showcase on October 20, at 7 p.m. in the School of Music Concert Hall. Shepler and a number of other students will perform at this showcase to share with their friends and family all that they have worked on this semester.

The showcase will be Shepler’s debut of “Graffiti,” and she will release her song on all music platforms that night.

Maggie Effler is a Feature Reporter.

One comment

  • Well done, Maggie! I always loved knowing how musicians get inspired on the songs they sing and the drive to keep them pushing forward. It’s articles, like what you published, to advance their hard work and recognition. You have an eye for great talent!

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