49. profile: julie rhodes, singer/songwriter

singer julie rhodes has a presence that belies the relatively brief time that she's been performing. her lyrics are wise and world-weary and her voice has a bluesy growl that forces you to listen. we are so excited to profile this extraordinary musician and share some of the photos from her recent album artwork shoot:

what are some unexpected everyday sources of inspiration?
i always find myself the most awe-inspired after seeing live music - especially when something unpredictable happens. the singer forgets the words and improvises or you hear a rowdy bar crowd moved to silence. those are the kind of things that make me want to run home and write a song.

favorite or most inspirational place:
my most creative moments usually come out when i'm driving, so i gotta say the car is my most inspirational place. there's just something about being on the road that's very freeing. it also makes for a very interesting and hilarious collection of iphone voice memos.

can you tell us a little bit about the imagery for your album artwork?
sure! the imagery for the album artwork really comes from the songs. the album, which is called "bound to meet the devil", is centered around a couple different themes and i wanted the artwork to bring those themes together. when i first started writing for the record, i was at a dead end job working for people that didn't treat me well, so many of the songs came from that. i think we tend to get so wrapped up in our jobs sometimes that it sort of consumes us and we forget to live. so that's where the concept of "digging" came from; the idea that working yourself ragged can feel a lot like digging your own grave. that's why i wanted to have the shovel as the focal point of the artwork. then there are some underlying themes tied in, in the "garden" theme that comes from the opening track "in your garden", which is sort of an anthem for the rejected. the two concepts just happen to fit nicely together.

you recently recorded that first album at muscle shoals sound studio. what was that like for you?
yep! we actually did quite a bit of traveling for this record and got to do some recording at a few different studios around the country. fame in muscle shoals was our second stop. it was a really cool experience. i had only just started making music at that time, and i had never really been in an actual studio before. so, it was all very exciting for me. you get this overwhelming sense of history just walking through the doors. everywhere you look there'd be some cool old photo or artifact just sitting there like it hadn't been moved since the 60's... like duane allman session tapes just casually sitting on the shelf. basically, there was a lot to geek out about.

who are some of your major sources of musical inspiration and why?
there are so many artists that i love, but the ones that really inspire me are the ones that have interesting views or a moving story. bill withers is a huge inspiration of mine - he has such a simplistic view on music and i can really relate to that. he was no virtuoso... just a regular guy who wrote some of the most iconic songs in history while working at a job making airplane toilets... that's incredibly inspiring to me!

what is your dream project?
there's this band that i grew up listening to called rx bandits. they were my intro to music with substance at a time where most of the music i was exposed to were three chord emo/pop-punk love songs. collaborating with matt embree, the singer/songwriter of that band has always been a dream of mine, even before i was making music of my own. his voice and writing were always very soulful to me.

what is the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?
"keep at it"... seems like the most obvious and simple piece of advice, and i've gotten it from nearly everyone i speak to, but it's really the best advice. on those days when you think your music is inferior, or you have writer's block for months, or you play a show for people who are talking through your set... remember why you do it, strive to progress, and just keep at it.

what is the best piece of creative advice you have to give?
one of my biggest habits as a musician is overthinking everything. so, i was going to say "stay out of your head"... but i think my real advice would be to stay out of other peoples' heads. don't worry about what other people will like or won't... just express what you're feeling. that's how you find your true creativity.

be sure to stay tuned for julie's forthcoming debut album! in the meantime, we highly recommend catching one of her live shows. here is a taste of what to expect:

1 comment:

  1. She's so beautiful.. looking forward to hearing more!