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SHAED is Making Colorful Music

The vibrant trio talks growing up together in D.C., touring with Bishop Briggs and tattoos

When twin brothers Max and Spencer Ernst and vocalist Chelsea Lee first met at a show in their hometown of Washington D.C., the trio now known as SHAED pretty quickly became inseparable. 

“I didn’t drive at the time and Max and Spenc had this awesome Crown Vic so we would all just pile in and cruise around together. We were best friends almost immediately,” powerhouse vocalist Lee recalls. 

I’m sitting down with the band ahead of a New York City show at The Bowery Ballroom.  Although SHAED was just created in March of 2016, the band embarked on a U.S. tour with Marian Hill and VÉRITÉ in the fall, released their debut EP Just Wanna See on Photo Finish at the end of the year and are currently halfway through a tour supporting Bishop Briggs

The band’s sound can be described as colorful and electric and during a live show, the group truly shines with their leading lady at center stage.

“If we met someone on the street and were telling them about our music, the first thing we would mention is that we have a strong female vocal. Chelsea’s vocals are the centerpiece of our songs. We definitely put the vocal melody and Chelsea in the forefront and build the tracks out from there,” says Ernst.


Lee wraps her hands around a warm cup of tea and blushes as her band mate raves about her. I ask which female vocalists inspire her. “I’ve been in love with Patty Griffin since high school. She’s my top oldie. As far as today’s music goes, I love Léon. I’m a sucker for a raspy voice,” she says. “And Bishop [Briggs]! It’s been such a cool experience to be able to tour with her. She has such a beautiful and unique voice,” she adds.

Although the band is so new, when I ask if they’ve had any funny moments on tour, they answer with a collective “yes!”  

“We were in Seattle on our tour with Marian Hill. A girl came up to the merchandise booth and asked Chelsea and Spenc to sign her arm with a Sharpie marker,” Max explains. “The next day, she posted a picture on Twitter of her getting the signatures tattooed onto her arm! Basically, I missed my chance to be immortalized because I wasn’t there,” he says.

During this quick stopover in New York (they’ll be playing Music Hall of Williamsburg as well), they are being put up at the trendy Brooklyn Patch House, a space where touring bands and musicians can find solace between shows and get their Sour Patch Kids fix! The brand has established houses in Brooklyn, Austin and Hollywood so far. 

You can catch this soulful group at Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware, Electric Forest Festival in Grant Township, Michigan and Mamby on the Beach in Chicago, Illinois this summer.

Main image credit: Catie Lafoon