Growing up, Merrill has always been involved in school choruses, church choirs and hand bell choirs. She has performed in numerous musical productions throughout her life and joined her father, Brad Shepard, on stage several times at the Majestic Theater in West Springfield, MA.
“My dad almost always had Broadway musical soundtracks playing around the house and in the car so I ended up basically memorizing them all, which had me singing really passionately from a pretty young age.”
As a teen, Merrill began listening to a lot of Cat Stevens, Simon & Garfunkel, Moody Blues and The Beatles, to whom she largely attributes her growing interest in the acoustic guitar.
For her 15th birthday, she received her first: A bright, red, Washburn acoustic and wasted no time. Shortly thereafter, Cat Stevens’ “Where do the Children Play?” became the first cover song she would learn how to play.
Around this time, a close friend handed Merrill her first, burned copy of Rilo Kiley‘s “Execution of all Things.” From this particular, indie/folk/pop album, she discovered the existence of frontwoman Jenny Lewis, who from that moment would become (and still remains) Merrill’s most admired singer-songwriter and her greatest source of songwriting inspiration. Finding herself in total awe of Lewis’ lyrical, vocal and story-telling talents, it was difficult NOT to become more seriously interested in songwriting and performing.
Along the way, Merrill has steadily honed her vocal, instrumental, writing and recording skills and has been working to further her proficiency as a solo acoustic performer and singer-songwriter.
In 2014, she first began to play out professionally. Gradually building up a solid, local circuit of gig venues for herself, she enjoyed a rather heavily-scheduled performance calendar right up until March of 2020. Since then, Merrill’s other career goals have taken a sharp turn and she regrets being unable to play out nearly as often as she once did, but hopes to eventually regain the footing she has since lost due to the rippling effects of recent world events.
Stay tuned to her event calendar for future show dates!