by DJ Dave Hoffenberg
The Nite Spot is new in town and so is Julia Rose who plays there every Sunday 4:30 p.m.
Julia Rose calls her music, “Folk-Pop Jazz with some Indie Soul.” She’s a violist and a vocalist that uses a looper pedal to build 5-8 part harmonies. She plays the ukulele and guitar. I was at her show and enjoyed the mashup of songs with those cool harmonies. She hopes in the future to add more people to the mix but she doesn’t need to since she plays the part of others.
Music is very important to her. She said, “When listening to music, it’s always been an integral part of every component of my life. In particular, my mental health.”
She’s only been playing professionally for a few months but has been writing music for three years.
She said, “The lyrics have always been a big influencer on setting the environment.” She’s currently working on her first album and has 13 tracks mapped out for it with eight currently written. She said it’s all about her finding her identity in this confusing world but making it relatable so people can take pieces of it that resonate with them.
She added, “I’m always navigating through different things but adding that air of positivity.”
Her set is split between covers and originals. Her musical influences were unknown to me but include Hiatus Kaiyote, Andrew Bird, tUnE-yArDs and Kishi Bashi. She hopes that with her originals, she is sharing her life.
Rose, 25, has been singing since she could talk. Her first instrument was the viola in the fourth grade. She picked up the guitar in high school but said she doesn’t identify as a guitar player. She said, “I mainly use it to play some chords to sing along to but I’m phasing it out of my set.” She loves playing the ukulele and said, “It’s so darn convenient, tiny little thing like that.”
Her songwriting process begins when she is able to create space. She listens to a lot of music but lately she will do things in silence and that’s when ideas pop in her head. Julia said, “When you’re laying down before bed, that’s when you have a chance to lay there with your thoughts.” She writes the lyrics first and said, “The lyrics kind of just come to me and I collect them all because you can’t really force that. Some pop into my head at unexpected times.”
She’s been working towards gigging for a while now but it’s taken some time for her to get it all together. She grew up in Albany but moved here four years ago to be on the ski patrol. She got a big push from the music scene around here and the support from other musicians. She’s been touring the state’s Open Mics and getting her name out there. She owes a lot to Zack Jepson and Alex Abraham from Hamjob who run the Open Mic at Center Street Alley. She said, “First time I went there, they handed me a ukulele and forced me to get up on the stage. I was too shy and didn’t plan on playing. They were huge from the first step. Continuously throughout the past few years, there have been many conversations with musicians who have pushed me in the direction to keep going.”
She likes to sing and play wherever she goes. She sings on chair lifts and hikes trails and people tell her she sounds amazing. She takes the gondola up in the summer and will play some fiddle tunes at the summit. She said, “One time I turned around and there was someone videotaping me and crying. That’s how I transitioned into wanting to perform for people in a more structured setting. For so long I’ve been sharing my music informally. My music follows me wherever I go so I decided to focus on this thing that makes me so happy and I can’t stop doing it.”
Her first pro gig was at the Hide-A-Way in Rutland. She had 45 minutes of material and King Arthur Junior let her open for him. She said, “That was huge. I got my friends to come and show them what I’ve been working on.” From that she picked up some summer shows there. In September she had 3 hours of material to do full shows.
Her music is on her website, juliarosestudios.com, and on a YouTube series which captures her playing in unexpected performance locations. She added, “I’m transforming beautiful places into creative spaces.” The studio makes sense because she brings her studio everywhere she goes. She said, “Not only do I live in a studio apartment but it’s my art, music, recording and yoga studio. Basically my every kind of studio you can imagine. When I’m hiking, skiing, rafting, climbing a tree I always have instruments and craft supplies. All the things I need to bring my creative works with me.”
She also designs her own merchandise, stickers, note cards and makes earrings. That’s how she shares her artwork. She made her business cards so she can go around and market herself and now has 17 shows a month.
She loves playing shows because she’s bringing people together. She ends with, “I get paid to have a blast and be myself. The fact that I get to do that for a living and share my music is just great.”