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Julia Weldon’s album release show for her newest record Comatose Hope had a range of emotion that one would expect from such a project. Influenced heavily by a traumatic post surgery coma, Julia wanted to relay her near-death experience and the aftermath, via her musical passion and talents. Comatose Hope takes you on Julia’s journey throughout those events, amongst some others, in her life and she showed that in her performance, twice over. Julia and her talented band mates played through the entirety of the album with laughter, sadness, hope, and strength.
The band consists of Dustin on drums, Maia on bass, and Tim on guitar. Julia herself played an acoustic guitar, some piano, and a mean ukulele. I’m not one for elaborate and descriptive thoughts, so I’ll just summarize the music as smooth. Julia’s voice is mellow and sweet and worked quite well with the accompanying instrumentals. The album features a variety of sound – from soft ukulele to some dope guitar solos. That mix and range of the music I thought was perfect for the subject and theme of the project. Through the music I felt the ups and downs of the deep and highly emotional events of Julia’s life.
Aside from the actual musical performance, I also noticed a couple of things from the show in general. One being the interactions that Julia had with her audience. Throughout the night there was a mutual display of affection and admiration between the two. Julia was often thanking the crowd for showing up and giving her so much support. In turn they hollered many “I love you’s” and reassuring “YAAAAS’s”. Someone even got bought her a drink that she proceeded to drink on stage.
The other thing I enjoyed was how she explained the meaning behind every song she was about to play. That personally enhanced my experience and definitely let me connect more to the music. Those moments when she was on stage describing what let her to write a particular song, provided the audience with unfiltered emotions you don’t usually see from artists. At some points crying, at others laughing, I got to see how much of her heart and soul really went into her music and this album.
I was fortunate enough to be able to conduct a brief post-show interview with Julia via email. See that below, and see her in concert on tour when she’s in your neck of the woods!
Interview with Julia Weldon:
I know Comatose Hope was largely inspired by your surgery and the aftermath, but what other influences did you have while creating the album?
The closer we got to the album release, the more I have been thinking back about all the parts of my life it documents. Because it is about falling into a coma and coming out of it, but there are songs from before that all went down. “Everybody Says” and “Take It All Back” come out of a deeply painful breakup I had a few years back. On the flip side of that there are also songs I wrote about falling back in love and navigating a new relationship – “Kaleidoscope” and “Take Me to the Water.” There’s also songs about loss and family – “Soon ii” and “When You Die.” And then the post-coma songs which I think represent trying to process death or my near death experience. But I hope those songs, and really all the songs, hit on something bigger that people can relate to. I feel like what ties the album together is that the songs represent the moment when we try to move through the hardest feelings. I think I have ended up feeling grateful for all my experiences- the good, bad and terrible. This album is about all those feelings that are too big and overwhelming to comprehend – so we have to feel and sing and move and cry.
You were very engaging and fun with the crowd last night, and they reciprocated that back – how does it make you feel to have such a supportive and excited fan base?
It makes me feel AWESOME! haha. But really, I value my crowd, my fans, friends and family deeply. Performing live is one of my favorite things to do because I get to interact with the crowd – we make each other laugh, cry, have a cathartic moment about whatever’s hard in our lives. Honestly I wouldn’t be here without them. I love making music and feel like this is my calling in life but making art for a living is HARD and it’s because of my family and friends that I started pursuing a music career at all. And those people are also the reason that I can push past self-doubt and continue on this path. The CD release show was particularly amazing- it felt like such a collective experience! Through the album, I had so many a-ha moments from my fans to remind me of how much people genuinely want me to keep making more music – because they want to listen on their commute or in their car or at a party in a dorm room! One reason I’m excited to tour more is so I can perform live for the folks who discover my music on Spotify or Apple Music or whatever and write me beautiful messages from all over the world. It blows my mind sometimes how far my music has reached.
Do you have a particular or nuanced approach to how you go about writing your music? Or in simpler words, can you describe your creative process? I’m always fascinated by musicians and how they go about their craft.
I tend to have the best songs just come out all at once – music and lyrics and the whole thing just come out in one sitting. But on this album, I found myself going back and editing songs that need work. “Failed to Find” for instance was written in 3 parts – each verse in a different time and place and it feels cohesive and works. Some songs have had multiple interations. “Kalieidoscope” felt like I had to pull off so many layers to get to the right version of the song. So I feel excited about what I’m making when I push through the editing more. With me, every song is so specific and the writing feels unique. I think I can remember where I started or wrote most of my songs because they usually come out of a very emotional place and a necessity to sit down and work through those feels. I always joke that putting out an album is like having a baby, and that’s probably kind of true!
You seemed to have really good chemistry with the rest of your band on stage. Can you discuss how you went about forming the crew behind you?
Very excited to hear that cause this is a brand new band and a brand new album. I’m still working out some of the arrangements from the album that I’d like to bring to the live show (like strings and more keys) but I’m feeling more and more invested in being on stage with people that I love and trust and feel connected to. So I’m glad you felt that! Dustin and I actually met at a music Masters program at Teachers College! We bumped into each other again when he played at the MoMa Armory party with the band St. Lucia and I couldn’t keep my eyes off him the whole show. He’s an incredibly talented dude with a huge heart. A good drummer like him is hard to find so I hope we can keep playing together for a while 🙂 Dustin introduced me to Tim the sweetest guitar player I ever did meet and so talented – he subs on guitar in Dear Evan Hanson! And Maia and I have been in the same music circle for years now – she has her own amazing project Kid in the Attic and tours with Mirah. Honestly the idea to ask Maia to be in my band hit me like a brick only a couple months ago. I was like… OMG, this would be amazing. and it is. She’s so creative and having her on stage makes me feel really at home up there.
What would you ultimately like to accomplish in your music career?
I want to keep making music. But, my next big step is to tour more. I’m really excited to open on a national tour for a bigger artist so people can hear what I do. I felt so proud of my last album Light Is a Ghost and didn’t really think I could make something better, but I feel so amazing about every track on Comatose Hope and Drew Morgan’s production is already blowing people away. When I look around the industry right now I am just so impressed with all the beautiful music people are making. And I hope that this little album gets to be part of that. O really just want people to hear the music- that this album will reach people far and wide, and then I’ll get to play for them live – wherever they may be.