Govball 2019 Preview Series: Electro-pop trio SHAED is reaching new heights

Summer is quickly approaching, which means the return of warm weather, beach days and, of course, music festival season. 2019 has been shaping up to be a great and innovative year for music, and the 2019 festival season lineups certainly don’t disappoint.

One festival in particular that continues to impress is the Governors Ball Music Festival, held in New York City this year from May 31 to June 2. Just as in the past, Govball has created an incredible lineup with a mix of your favorite stars (hello Lil Wayne, The Strokes and Nas) and hot artists on the rise (including Brockhampton, SZA and Kacey Musgraves, just to name a few).

While these big names are often what make or break a festival lineup for the majority of concertgoers, Govball has always had its finger on the pulse of introducing true music lovers to new up-and-coming artists and bands before they always hit it big (throwback to when The Internet was on the last line of the 2014 lineup; flash forward this year and they’re strongly starting off the third line).

With Govball just a train ride away for most UConn students, it’s the ideal festival to kick off the summer. In this preview series, we’ll spotlight some of the best up-and-coming musicians playing the fest this year. Who knows? Maybe a few years from now you’ll be able to say “I knew them back when…” with pride.

SHAED is one such band that just hit it big (you’ve definitely heard their song “Trampoline” from a 2018 Apple MacBook Air commercial) and are only continuing to grow. The electro-pop trio based in Washington, D.C. is made up of Chelsea Lee on vocals and twin brothers Spencer and Max Ernst on practically everything else, from guitar to bass to keys to drums.

“We had been friends for a really long time,” Lee explained in regards to how the trio formed SHAED. “We met in high school. We were always doing separate projects, and nothing really lined up for us until we started SHAED.” Although it took awhile for the stars to align and for SHAED to be born, Lee herself has been interested in music since a young age.

“When I was kid, my parents would always be blasting alternative 80s (music), so I was always around music, which was amazing,” Lee described. “I got a karaoke machine when I was in middle school and would come home from school and go downstairs and do karaoke for hours. So I think I was always into music and into singing, but I just tended to be a little shy. I started vocal lessons when I was 15 and kind of came out of my shell, and that’s when I realized I wanted to do this seriously.”

Lee takes inspiration from a variety of different musical artists and genres, reflecting the trio’s unique, hard-to-pin-down sound. From classics like Frank Sinatra and Patty Griffin to powerful female R&B singers like SZA and Kehlani, Lee enjoys them all. Perhaps another aspect of the band that keeps their sound so fresh and exciting is their highly collaborative process when it comes to creating music.

“We all live together and we have a studio in our house, so we try to make it a goal to wake up in the morning, go in the studio, and work on music in some form or another,” Lee said about SHAED’s songwriting process. “Right now we’re really focusing on our next single, and getting that prepared, and getting prepared for all the festivals we have coming up.”

“Musically it’s very collaborative. We all write together in the same room. We really just try to be with each other and working on music always, as much as we can, so it’s really collaborative and really fun,” Lee continued.

Although the trio has been creating music since 2013, it wasn’t until 2016 that they completely rebranded, refocused on their now more characteristic dream-pop sound and renamed themselves as SHAED. Throughout this entire time, the band had been playing the D.C. scene, which had a great impact on their artistry and appreciation for the city as a whole.

“We grew up in the D.C. music scene, as far as playing venues in D.C., and having a really great D.C. audience, and having support from local artists and creatives that work out of D.C.,” Lee explained. “I think we’re just proud to be from D.C. It’s really the support: They really love local artists, local musicians, and that’s really what’s helped us get to where we are today, because we really just grinded it out in D.C. venues.”

After “grinding it out,” SHAED caught a breakout opportunity when Apple picked up their song “Trampoline” to use for their MacBook Air commercial.

“[The Apple commercial] was a humongous breakout moment for us and we were so thankful for it,” Lee said. “Our music is getting heard internationally, and people that might not have necessarily heard it now love it and we’re gaining all of these new fans.”

SHAED’s breakthrough into mainstream success is carrying over into their touring, with a stacked lineup full of dream festivals, including the Governors Ball, set for the summer.

“Govball is such a huge festival and we’ve always wanted to play it,” Lee said. “We’ve only played a couple of festivals previously so it’s really amazing that this year we’re playing so many of these dream festivals that we’ve always wanted to play. (Govball) has such an amazing lineup, so we’re so excited.”

In terms of preparing for the fest, Lee said it’s all about “trying to hone in on how to command a much bigger stage, and a much bigger audience.” While that’s often the major concern for up-and-comers playing Govball, there’s no doubt that SHAED is up to the task. Lee’s hopes for the future of the band echo this sentiment: “I would love us to keep evolving to bigger and better things, to always make the best music we can and reach as many people as we can with our music.” Playing Govball is no doubt one way to jumpstart this hope, and the concertgoers that get to see this are no doubt the lucky ones.

Make sure to catch SHAED at the Governors Ball on Sunday, June 2 at the Honda Stage at 12:15 pm. Tickets can be found on the festival’s website: www.governorsballmusicfestival.com


Lucie Turkel is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at lucie.turkel@uconn.edu.