Above: Chevel Shepherd is on her way to national stardom. Photograph by Shutterfreak.

Chevel Shepherd (@officialchevelshepherd) wants to bring back classic country music. Given the 16-year-old’s clarity, motivation, and talent, she’s on her way to doing just that. Shepherd has been singing since she was 2. At 8, she was on the radio. At 9, she made a CD for her dad. “I just kept going,” she says. That included a tryout for the 15th season of The Voice, where Kelly Clarkson took the Farmington native under her wings, on their way to winning the competition in December 2018. Life is a little crazier now—the national anthem at major sporting events, time in the recording studio, commercials—but the high school junior still plans to walk with her class next June.

Listen to 101 songs by artists featured in our May issue with this Spotify playlist created by Silver City's KURU DJ Mitch Hellman.


It was just crazy. I’ve loved every second of it.

Music is the food of the soul. I love the feeling it gives me, and I love the feeling of giving people a song they can relate to, to make them happy and smile.

I’ve always loved to sing, but once the live shows started on The Voice, I realized just how much I loved to get up on stage to sing for different people, to share my passion for country music with everybody.

Kelly taught me to always be yourself and you can achieve any goal you want to.

I wasn’t nervous at all. I just went out there and had fun showing people what I love to do.

I love to do projects that better the world, like global warming [a video for the One Life Project].

We put faith first.

I really want to produce albums and sing at the Grand Ole Opry and sing with my favorite country artists, Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton, be a classic country singer traveling the world and sharing my passion.

Classic country isn’t popular like it used to be. It’s not played on the radio across the nation. I’d love to bring it back. It warms your heart.

I really can feel all of the support from the whole state of New Mexico—they love their people. Whenever I come back, I just love to see everyone. And our food—the food is amazing.

I love to work on cars with my dad. I worked on a ’69 Pontiac GTO. My dad just bought me a 1972 Chevy Chevelle. I just got my permit today.

For each performance on The Voice, I had a lucky pair of mismatching music-note socks. I wouldn’t wash them, but they don’t stink. I felt like if I washed them, the luck would wash out. I still haven’t washed them.

I’ve never worn matching socks ever in my life.

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