Staying true to her roots and her curls is the most important thing to up and coming country star, Julie Williams. Williams, raised in a mixed household, is ready to offer the country world a new perspective and a batch of songs rooted in truth and bare bones honesty.
Recently, we had the opportunity to chat with Julie about her upbringing, chasing her dreams and her upcoming single “Southern Curls” which comes out tomorrow!
Worlds Of Country: Who would you describe as your biggest music influences?
Julie: I was really lucky growing up in a mixed household to have a wide variety of interests. With my mom I would hear James Taylor, Dixie Chicks, and Sara Evans. In my dad’s car I would hear Prince and Roberta Flack and The Temptations. So, I have this wide variety of musical influences across genres.
Worlds Of Country: Do you feel this mix of influences has helped you find a unique musical style?
Julie: Definitely! I like to always say that my music is mixed like me. I would hear those different songs in the same car ride and to me they were never that different, they were just equally a part of my life and what music meant to me. I think a lot of the time we try to fit people and music into a box. For me, if I’m writing a country song but there’s a jazz lick or chord that I want to put in there I’m gonna do it. I’m not afraid to pull from all of these different influences.
Worlds Of Country: When did you know music was what you wanted to pursue?
Julie: It was always a part of my life. I grew up singing at beach bars in Florida. It wasn’t until that I came to college and started writing my own songs that I realized that people wanted to hear my stories too. It made me realize that my stories also had value. Towards the end of college I realized that this could be it and I found myself getting so much energy from performing and singing and sharing my stories. I always wanted music as part of my life, I thought that I wanted to change the world and didn’t realize how much music could do that. Once I realized the power of music I decided this was the path for me.
Worlds Of Country: Once you realized music was the path for you what was your first step toward making a career out of it?
Julie: I really wanted to move to Nashville because Nashville is the city of storytellers.Nashville has some of the best songwriters in the world and I wanted to be here to work with and learn from them. I visited a couple of times and fell in love with the people and the city.
Worlds Of Country: How long have you been out in Nashville?
Julie: I’ve been here for about a year and a half. Which is probably the craziest year and a half to be in Nashville with everything going on. I got a good few months to see the city where it was blooming. I think everything that’s happened has allowed me to grow more as an artist and a writer than I would’ve been able to otherwise. It really forced everybody to hunker down and it brought some songs and stories out my subconscious and stories from my childhood. I think that while I’m sad to not be performing as much, the amount of stories has made it kind of worth it.
Worlds Of Country: Can you tell us the story behind your upcoming song “Southern Curls”?
Julie: I like to say that while this song didn’t take long to write, it’s the story I’ve been writing my whole life. It’s a song about growing up mixed in the south and it took a long time to learn to love myself and trying to match this image of beauty that I was given. That just wasn’t me, my hair never looked the way it was supposed to look, my skin never looked the way it was supposed to look. I can only speak for myself but this song is about the journey of learning to love myself and the timeline of where I was as a young kid to a middle schooler to where I am now. This song is very vulnerable and honest about what it feels like to feel out of place. I feel this is a feeling a lot of people have growing up whether it’s about their race or if they have a disability or something else and it takes a long time for some people to realize that they’re their own kind of beautiful.
Worlds Of Country: When you’re putting out a song so vulnerable and honest is there any fear as to how it will be received?
Julie: Yeah, it is very scary to say this is me, this is how I feel. It’s one thing for people to critique the guitars or the production but when it’s your life and your music there’s always a little fear. I think it’s also nerve racking putting out a song like this in a genre that doesn’t have many stories like mine, but I think that country music is a genre of truth and storytelling, but for a while I didn’t feel like I heard my own story in country music.