As far as musical bloodlines go, camp Sherman has reigned somewhat supreme over the years. Now leading the way with a chart-savvy take on club music and a breathtaking live show, soulful three-piece Shermanology have built on the positive ground covered by their familial predecessors The Sherman Brothers years before them, bringing the same degree of excitement to an entirely new age of listener. Dan Carter caught up with Andy, Leon and Dorothy Sherman on their home turf of Amsterdam to trace the exciting journey from family enthusiasts to chart-rocking club act.
Beating the BBC to an interview on foreign territory is a truly remarkable feat for any British journalist to brag. But ousting my industrious pride to focus on the precious time permitted with the hotly tipped trio prior to their appearance at management showcase Kings of Ace at The Sand, we are quickly thrown into a story that essentially begins and undoubtedly will conclude in life changing music. Beaming with the same energy that they inject into their shows every night, the trio have a lot to of acclamations to be proud of. Topping the Dutch charts alongside Avicii, coining their first vocal banger with Afrojack and writing for Paris Hilton’s controversial step towards Dance music have all been in a years work for the Dutch trio. But with a standout live show that grows evermore energetic by the month and a tour schedule that has them playing up to three shows per night in Amsterdam, you cannot help but suspect that where the Sherman Brothers forged it, the group are set to top the familial legacy.
As children, it was not uncommon for Andy and sister Dorothy to spend the evenings watching their father and uncle, better known as Richard and Robert Sherman, prepare their exciting soul clad performances that encapsulated the globe and a host of favourite children’s films. Andy explained: ‘Seeing them put all that charisma and effort into what they did truly inspired us as children to follow in the same footsteps. They worked to get every element of what they did right and enjoyed every single minute of it. It was a truly wonderful thing to experience.’
Armed with a wealth of knowledge and the unforgettable lessons passed down from their rich musical heritage it was not long before the aspiring second wind of the Sherman’s musical vigor would spread their wings. Whilst Dorothy donned her unique and soulful voice to a Diana Ross tribute act, Andy would eventually replace Artful Dodger after Craig David embarked on his own solo career.
Despite keeping themselves musically proactive and evidently making the time count on all grounds, a direct lack of attributable association left the Shermans somewhat dissatisfied with their musical progress. ‘I had the time of my life singing with Artful Dodger in the UK, but it felt as if I was just building a name for someone else the whole time,’ explained Andy.
It was a fatally popular collaboration alongside Fedde Le Grand and Funerkman with ‘Three Minutes To Explain’ that would see Dorothy and Andy unite for a pre-emptive outing that nodded towards their solid club-floor future as another chapter in the families musical imprint. From here, the public reaction signlaed that both the collaborative action and implemented genre struck all the right notes for the Sherman siblings and it was not long before they vowed to follow suit in a bid to take control over their musical fates. ‘After Dorothy and I did this track there was a lot of MCing here in Amsterdam, but this still wasn’t as satisfying as that feeling we had when the track was released. From here, we decided that we wanted to take control of our own fates and start making a name with our own records,’ explained Andy.
Countless solo outings and collaborations alongside the likes of Chocolate Puma, The Shapeshifters and Funkerman indicate that once the duo finally got hold of similarly talented cousin Leon, their hold on club minded Electronic music was a fresh and undefeatable weapon.
But in the age where mindless replication and easily forged original productions have become a subject of great scrutiny, Shermanology have re-written the rule book with one of the most exciting live shows to date. Winding in and out of hard-hitting bangers, well-executed originals and the occasional cheeky club classic in the process, there is a sense that the progressive Dutch trio have stumbled upon a territory that few have successfully attained. Rather than simply settling as a production trio or indulging in a corny stage show of poorly rehearsed cameos, the Shermans have forged themselves as Europe’s most crucial and original Dance act.
Leon explained: ‘Our act is all about being one with the crowd. As a vocal DJ act it’s all about the energy and vibe on stage. It’s hard to get that “live” feeling on record and so that’s what we always try to bring to our performance.’
Andy added: ‘We are family and there is certain chemistry between us on stage that we try to put on the records. But in my books nothing beats a good live show.’
Amid there away of tune-jumping, emotive vocal work and the dipping in and out of vital club classics, sits an integral part of what made their role models as vital an asset to Soul music as the duo are proving to Dutch Dance music. Amid the life lessons conjured through day-to-day life at Camp Sherman, one has undoubtedly reigned supreme. Leon explained: ‘I think the most valuable lesson is that it doesn’t matter if there are 10 people or 10,000 people in the room. Always give a 100%. Our family always used to say: “You are as good as your last performance” and that has proven to be entirely the case.’
Bridging the gap between the soulful realms of their notorious peers and the vivacious energy of global club music, their emotive collaborative persona both onstage and in the studio has proven a worldwide hit. Now on task for a year that promises to even more explosive for the daring Dutch trio, the Sherman’s remain humble for the opportunity to bridge the gaps between commercial House and soulful Electronic Dance Music. ‘We love the underground solid sound, but we also love the ‘feel good’ sing-along-songs, so naturally the opportunity to work alongside Afrojack and Avicii is very humbling. From day one Shermanology was always about making a middle ground between the two and it feels like we are on the right tracks to making that connection.’