Radford University Graduate Student Sings for Alicia Keys

3 min read Radford University graduate student Terrance Shepherd sang for Grammy Award Winner Alicia Keys over Instagram.

Man at piano

Photo Credit: (Terrance Shepherd) Radford University graduate student Terrance Shepherd watched Alicia Key’s live stream on Instagram when the unexpected happened.

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By Isabella Dominesey | Idominesey@radford.edu

Radford University graduate student Terrance Shepherd watched Alicia Key’s live stream on Instagram when the unexpected happened. He was selected out of thousands to play live for her.

Shepherd was scrolling through Instagram on the night of Sept. 18, when he saw one of his favorite artists, Alicia Keys, began a live stream on her Instagram to promote her new album ALICIA.

While Keys spoke to fans, Shepherd commented, “Truth Without Love,” the title of one of her newly released songs, gaining the singer’s attention.

Shepherd, who was lying in bed while watching the live stream, was shocked when he saw Keys add him to her video.

Shepherd, who was lying in bed while watching the live stream, was shocked when he saw Keys add him to her video.

“She picked me out of two or three thousand people,” Shepherd said. “I was like ‘Woah’; it just caught me by surprise.”

After adding him to the live stream, Key’s asked Shepherd about himself and soon learned that he, like Keys, has a classical piano background.

“I told her that I was a grad student getting my Master’s in Music Composition, and right after I said that, she said, ‘Wait, hold up, do you have a piano that you can play for me real quick,’” Shepherd said.

“I played two pieces for her, which were actually two of her pieces, and she was very impressed by that,” Shepherd said.

Shepherd began playing the piano at 14-years-old when he received an Alicia Key’s songbook as a gift.

Person plays piano
Photo Credit: (Cristina Gottardi) Female pianist hands in black and white.

“I had been anticipating that moment since I was 14-years-old,” Shepherd said. “To be able to have those seven minutes with her and her ask me to play for her, it was like go hard or go home.”

Due to the exposure from joining Key’s Instagram Live, Shepherd said his social media following has grown immensely. He’s hoping this growth will continue and help his musical ambitions.

“She has offered me a platform to be able to share my music now, so I definitely want to do that,” said Shepherd. “When a moment like this happens, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“She has offered me a platform to be able to share my music now, so I definitely want to do that,” said Shepherd.

Shepherd hasn’t heard from Keys or her team since the Instagram Live but has hope that they will collaborate in the future.

“On Instagram Live with Alicia Keys, I did say that I’m looking forward for us to collaborate in the near future for a few projects,” Shepherd said. “I’m still putting it out there. It’s going to happen.”

Shepherd plans on taking what he learned from this experience with him through the rest of his career. After graduating, Shepherd wants to share his love of music with others through teaching.

“The idea is to become a professor; I want to teach,” Shepherd said. “I would like to be able to take my experience to a college and pass that down.”