With soulful vocals and meaningful lyrics, Julie Elody promises to use her voice to make a statement. She embodies the style of popular music without singing about meaningless partying or how much she wants to be your baby. After spending three years as a lead vocalist in a funk-rock band, Julie is very excited to continue to find her sound as a solo artist working with several renowned producers. She is a hard working, swing dancing, bath tub singing, gin & tonic loving and anxiety-ridden 25 year old who is always on the verge of a quarter life crisis; which history will tell makes the best songwriters.
Earlier this month, Julie released a video for her most recent single "The Lighthouse". About the song, she says:
“I think we all have moments where we feel unhinged and The Lighthouse is a song about being okay with being a little broken. My favorite line from the song is “there’s a lighthouse in this room I watched it go dark. But there are matches everywhere what distracting spark.” Even when everything feels like it’s falling apart, there’s always another way. It may not be the healthiest thing to do, but we do what we need to do to survive and sometimes that’s enough.”
1. How did you get to where you are now as an artist?
I suppose it started out listening to and writing music as a very young child. The first song I ever wrote was about two best friends going to the zoo when I was four. My next shining moment was in fourth grade, when I wrote a song and theater performance about a cow named Bessie becoming a movie star for the local talent show. Despite all of this amazing success (sarcasm) you could say I was more interested in the business side of things, or I didn't believe in my vocal ability enough to call myself a musician. In college I studied music industry and focused on becoming a manager, but co-founded a band for fun. Playing shows and encouragement from others made me do a complete 180, I had tasted the forbidden fruit of performing a song you wrote and having people singing your words back at you. I had tasted hearing our song blasting out of a truck window when I walked back to my apartment from school. And I was hooked. When the band broke up, I decided to pursue a genre of music that felt more “me,” and I've continued to grow in my sound ever since.
2. Was it hard to transition from being a lead vocalist in a funk-rock band to a solo pop music artist?
The music I'm making now has always been the genre I listen to the most. When you’re writing with someone else there’s always a compromise there and since I wasn't self confident back then there was a bit more compromise on my end. It’s been cool to be the one holding the reigns but its also been pretty scary. I like the freedom of making my own decisions and being able to work with a bunch of musicians. Being in a band has way less collaboration with new people. It was hard to “start over,” but I'm glad I did.
3. What is your typical day like?
On the weekdays I wake up at 6AM and get to the daycare I work at for 7AM and I don't get off until 4PM. During my lunch break I try to answer emails and stuff. Then at night I'm either working on music, working on my second job which is bookkeeping and accounting, or babysitting. On the weekends, same deal, accounting, music or babysitting. I take on a lot of extra jobs to fund my music projects. I want to do things right, and invest money into my projects. It makes for a long day/week/year/forever but I know it’ll pay off eventually.
4. Who or what inspires you?
Both my parents are very hardworking people and they've told me since I was little that if I work hard, anything is possible. Anytime I've felt like I could give up, they get me back up on my feet, believing again.
5. Your hope is that your music helps those who cope with feelings of both anxiety and depression. Has anyone reached out to you to let you know that your music has helped them?
I've had a few people but one in particular said she really needed the video to come out when it did. She has been struggling with anxiety and a situation that was making her anxious was going on that day. She said the video reminded her that it's okay to ask for help.
6. What's been the highlight of your career so far?
I think when my song Mountain Lion with MKJ went viral on Spotify in Poland. I just remember thinking, “this is it!” Of course there’s still a long way to go but it was really cool.
7. Do ever get discouraged working in an industry that can be very competitive? If yes, how do you overcome that?
OMG. Yes. I recently started confronting my feelings of jealousy that were keeping me down. For a long time I couldn't really let myself enjoy a live music show. A friend would invite me to House Of Blues or something and Id be watching the band up on stage and listening to the packed crowd singing along and I'd just have this jealousy take over, wishing it were me up there. I hated this about myself and only admitted this recently. I'm working really hard to let myself be happy for others, knowing my time will come, but I haven't 100% figured it out yet. I guess acknowledging my shortcomings has been the first big step for me.
8. What's your dream music gig?
I just want to play Voodoo fest. I've lived in New Orleans for seven years and it would just be such an honor to be a part of that. If I've played that, I've made it.
9. Do you have any advice for aspiring artists or creatives?
A professor at Loyola New Orleans once told me, “You need to want this more than anything else. If you don't, then go do something else. Music could always be your hobby and it’ll stay fun. If you do this for your career you have to want it more than anything.” I think no truer statement has been made because there have been so many bumps along the way and I don't even consider myself all that successful yet. I've wanted to give up a few times, like when the band broke up, but only for a moment. Because then I remember. This is supposed to be hard, it's not always going to be fun because it’s not my hobby it's my career.
10. What's next for you?
This month I'm really focusing on getting all of the elements together to work on my live show, so I can start playing some gigs. I'm also working on a second track with MKJ that I'm really stoked about. He’s label shopping as we speak, not sure which one will pick it up! I'm also back in the writing phase for my next release.
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Interview by Glodeane Brown
Photo provided by 25/8 PR