Artist Q&A

Q&A with Julie Murphy Wells

julie murphy wells

Where and when was your first show? Stenwood Elementary, Vienna VA - 1971 - never forget it - marked my very first solo performance - sang "Bring a Torch Jeanette Isabella" at the Christmas concert. All I really remember was the very loud clomping noise that my correction shows made as I walked onto the stage.....and my Dad...of course...in the audience with a big fat smile on his face when I was holding out the last note. BUT, if you're asking about this show in particular - my "Sophisticated Lady" show was premeiered at the old Birchmere in August of 1995. I had always wanted to get all guzzied up in a evening gown, put together a great 4 piece with a piano player that could play anything in ANY KEY, and just sing all of the songs that I grew up with....songs that were from my favorite musicals, songs that were from great movies...songs that were sung by amazing women who I idolized.

What band/artist would you consider to be your main influence?

My major influences growing up in a musical theater house, were Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Barbara Streisand, Lena Horne - all the great ones who could melt the hearts of listeners just with a single note or phrase. I wanted to be one of them. I always felt like I was born in the wrong time period. I would have loved to have been an adult in the 40's and been able to be one of those amazing singers in a night club. After college though, and after Eddie from Ohio started, my entrance into the singer songwriter world took over and my musical influences became very different. They were still mainly women, but not just vocalist - they were writers and players......Shawn Colvin, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Patty Griffin, Allison Krauss - to name a few.

What is one of your most memorable or off-the-wall touring experiences?

I've been so fortunate to have such great memories of touring with Eddie from Ohio for 20 years. We've gotten to share the stage with some great performers - and play in some amazing venues. But my most memorable was playing at Ground Zero, just 8 days after 9-11. We were going to cancel the show, but we got so many emails from fans saying "please come, we need you." We didn't even know how we were going to get into the city since we had been hearing that security was incredible tight. We drove to Princeton, rented a van and a driver -and made our way in. When stopped by police about 15 blocks from the club - the Knitting Factory - we showed our I.D's and told them where we were headed and why. We got through and wheeled our instruments just about a block. There were about 150-200 folks there. They came to listen, to laugh, to cry and to be together with us and each other. We ended the show with "Oh My Brother" - sent it out as a tribute to the firemen who lost their lives and afterwards, when the song ended....the room was still. No one clapped, no one breathed....it was silent....truly an amazing moment for me.

Favorite Food: anything with garlic - and..... chocolate.....and cheese (not together, mind you)

Favorite Drink: Red Wine

If you were to have a film/movie based on your career, which actors or band would you select to portray yourself?

No clue - but I have been said to look like Kristin Davis - probably best know as Charlotte, from Sex and the City.

Cat-Person, Dog-Person, or both?

DOG DOG DOG - no question. We have a rescue dog named Star- part Lab, part German shepherd, and probably 5 or 6 other breeds as well. We got her when she was 8 weeks old and she is awesome. She's totally chill and loves to hang out with people. She pretty much goes everywhere with me.

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What two words would best describe your music?

When I'm doing my solo show - I think the words that best describe the music is heartfelt, and personal. All of the songs in the show are chosen for specific reasons and have very special meanings to me. I really hope that I clearly convey that, though the show, and people know just how much I love being able to perform them.

Julie Murphy Wells is at Jammin' Java Saturday, November 22nd!