With a voice that has been described as smooth, soulful and enchanting, Imar Shepard's dulcet tones perfectly illustrate the essence of Rhythm & Blues, Reggae and Lover's Rock. His unique sound is not only heard regularly on local Jamaican radio stations but has equally won the hearts of audiences overseas . The young charismatic singer songwriter was born and raised in the sleepy hollow of Richmond Gap, Cedar Valley nestled in the heart of the famous Blue Mountains that surround the parish locally known as Saint Thomas in the East.
Good clean positive and uplifting lyrics have always been an important part of Imar Shephard's life. Raised in the church he found he had a passion for singing at a relatively early age but never really took the art seriously until he moved to Jamaica's capital city of Kingston in his late teens.. He explains, while working at Tastee's (the island's popular pastry company) he was invited to perform at the annual Christmas party. Based on that staging, he received an automatic invitation to all company sponsored events, beach trips and company functions. The coordinator at the time told him that he had what it takes to be a star, a diamond in the rough and the rest as they say is history.
Imar Shephard's first big break came as lead singer of the Island touring band ‘Crucial’ who used to perform weekly at the Market Place on Red Hills Road in Kingston. A popular venue for new acts to showcase their talents. Whilst singing with the band Imar began to forge links within industry, and the pieces of his personal odyssey began to fall neatly in to place. In 2010, he hooked up with singer songwriter and local producer, Colin Demar Edwards aka Demarco of True Gift Entertainment. The duo recorded and released the single “Woman I need You” in partnership with the Canadian music group 'House of Reggae'. The single received heavy rotation both locally and internationally, and sparked major interest in the artist right across the world. Riding on the wave of that singles huge success, the two artist's went back in to the studio to record the collaboration "My Queen "
Now recording in earnest, Imar Shephard has become an avid songwriter taking his influences from some of the music industries most notable icons like the late, great Bob Marley, Beres Hammond, Cat Stevens, Ed Sheeran and Sade to name a few. Shephard says he takes what he admires most about their distinctive sounds to help mould his own unique style. “Music is a tool that brings happiness to many people and I gain a lot of pleasure in my daily life from knowing that my eclectic taste in music, has helped me hone in to my specific zone musically. I believe that's what helps me draw such a varied audience to my music," he says.
Having spent early 2015 on the road supporting artists Dexta Daps, Alkaline and Professeur Nuts across the USA. anything Imar Shephard might of lacked in performance quality was assessed by his team (managed by Parris Kirkland ) and strategically coordinated within an active development plan, which includes vocal coaching and a daily militarily influenced fitness regime.
2016 saw Imar Shephard take his first trans Atlantic flight to perform at London's premiere reggae venue Hootananny. Shephard rocked the venue opening his set wit hit single 'Feelings', and following with 'Let The Music Play' and 'Mama Afrika' leaving the packed setting suitably charged for Stikki Tantafari and Torch combined album launches.
That spectacular tour opener was followed by a number of other successful performances across the capital that included singing at celebrity chef Levi Roots' celebrity acclaimed restaurant the 'Caribbean Smoke House' and popular indie band venue 'Fiddler's Elbow' situationed in the heart of Camden Town. The trip served as the perfect opportunity to introduce new audiences to the golden voice of Richmond Gap's hottest property whilst simutaenously using the time to pitch the brand to relevant agencies based in the country.
On his return to Jamaica, Shephard and his team focused attentions on the post production of his debut album titled 'Imar Shephard - Unleashed' . The album is compiled of thirteen tracks , eleven of which are self penned. Three re-releases , four from the artist's extensive back catalouge and three newly written and composed specifically for purpose. The album was independently released December of 2017 on the Iyaah Bless Music label.
The following year Imar Shephard achieved wide recognition with internationally acclaimed deejays Elise Kelly [Irie FM Jamaica] Ron Muschette [Mello FM Jamaica] David Rodigan [BBC1 Xtra] & Clara Amfo [BBC Radio 1] airing a number of songs off his debut album 'Imar Shephard - Unleashed' highlighting 'Feelings' Ft: Nasassaja, 'Mama Afrika', 'The Same' and 'Lonely', Mama Elise is quoted to have said "Imar Shephard has a young but authentic reggae voice. There are those among us who are extremely Gifted, Pure in Spirit, and, though Self Assured, are just too Modest to be Boastful or Loud.
IMAR is one such SHEPHARD"
Add to the endorsements, a number of performances at festivals like the north coasts Stepping High Festival, the UK's Leeds Black Music Festival and the Christmas bonanza Ghettosplash at the well known Waterhouse mini stadium, Shephard's popularity as artist gained as much momentum locally as it had via social networking gaining him thousands of enthusiastic fans over night.
2019 began with an early evening performance at the Bob Marley birthday celebrations, singing ‘Mama Afrika’ the opening track off his debut album. The year saw the artist flourishing with countless performances throughout, some live shows backed by his five piece ‘Iyaah Bless’ band.
Imar Shephard and Team Iyaah Bless Music have planned a vibrant start to the New Year with the release of ‘Matter of Time’, a five track EP due to drop early in the spring of 2020.
Having ended the previous year on a media high, Imar Shephard and the five piece Iyaah Bless Band start the year with notable performances at shows across Jamaica’s ‘Reggae Month’.
Each year in celebration of the islands vibrant musical history and heritage Febuaray sees an army of pundits, media houses and fans alike arriving into Kingston City to join parties, stage shows and symposiums chaired by JaRIA (Jamaican Recording Organization) & The Ministry of Tourism/ Culture. And with recognozed performances at both the Bob Marley Birthday Celebrations (Hope Road) and the coveted 'Dennis Brown' Tribute concert (Kingston, Waterfront) amongst other's Imar Shephard certainly started the year focused and fuelled
As plans to carry out contractual commitments began in March, so the world’s freedom of movement was slowed by COVID 19.Disappointed but undeterred Imar Shephard has been writing and recording new material. Releasing three new singles since the start of the pandemic.
‘Stepping With Love’ [Switzerland Riddim Mix] – produced by Lions Flow Productions & Majestic 868 Productions
‘Times Like These’ – produced by Iyaah Bless Music (written 6 weeks into lockdown) Shephard reverts to his roots in the Church in the hope that his message might help soothe the anxieties many felt
‘Have Some Class’ [Steppers Riddim Mix] produced by 247 Music Productions LLC
With single ‘Sunshine’, a collaboration between Iyaah Bless Music and Belguim based ‘Fiyah Nation’ Band due for release at the end of September 2020 Shephard is busy on a new project that sees an alliance with 247 Music Productions and Artists’ Knatch Rychus and Dillon 'Iyah Syte' Hines. The project mantel #KRISIS is an acronym of the three artist’s initials who in combination hold promise of bringing a new element of sound to the masses guided by the expertise of producer Kevin Hill, CEO of 247 Music Productions
Mainstage 'Leeds Black Music' Festival [UK]