So far, Julie Kryk has done more in her music career than most people have done in a lifetime. She's shared the stage with U2, Sarah McLachlan, Natalie Merchant, Sinead O'Conner, The Indigo Girls, Sheryl Crow and Nelly Furtado. She's recorded five successful albums. She has an immense fan base spanning across the globe. And she's just getting started...
This talented singer/songwriter writes her own vibrant brand of pop -- songs of hope, love, heartache, and observation that combine uncommonly rich layers of melody with unmistakable sincerity, and soulful vulnerability. The Windsor Ontario nativeâ€™s songwriting style is a confluence of her own musical sensibilities with her vast influences -- everything good from the last 40 years, ranging from The Beatles, to U2, to Lisa Loeb, to Jewel.
Growing up in a very musical household, Julie remembers being able to play the piano as soon as she was tall enough to reach the keys. "I remember finding peace in the keys; I would come home from a stressful day at school, and find relaxation in the motion of playing songs on the piano", says Julie. Julie then learned to play the guitar at age 12. She wrote her first song on the guitar at age 14, and began performing her music at local talent shows and school concerts. By age 17, Julie was performing regularly at local coffee houses, thus gaining a small, but loyal fan base.
The first confirmation of Julie's immense talents came in 1998, when she turned heads in a roomful of Motown's finest budding female talent at the Detroit-area Lilith Fair talent-search finals. Kryk, then just 18, sang three of her compositions accompanied only by her acoustic guitar, while the seasoned professionals she competed against brought their slick backing bands. Kryk won the competition hands down, winning her a spot on the Detroit stop on the hottest tour of the year, Lilith Fair. Later that year she dug out her backstage pass and used it again when the festival swung around to Buffalo. "I met up with Sarah McLachlan right before her performance and she invited me onstage to perform the finale," says Kryk. "She told me I would always be a Lilith artist."
Julie KrykTwo years ago at a U2 concert in Las Vegas, the Windsor, Ont., native caught Bono's attention by holding a sign that read, "This chick plays a mean guitar." She was promptly scooped up by a couple of bodyguards, placed on stage with the Irish rockers and handed an acoustic guitar. Without hesitating, in front of a crowd of 20,000, Kryk began strumming People Get Ready. "Bono picked up the lyrics, the band kicked in and I got chills up my spine," says Kryk, whose performance airs on the U2 episode of VH1's A Night With. "After the concert hundreds of people congratulated me and many wanted to know if I was planted in the crowd by the band." This performance not only gave Julie an immense amount of world-wide exposure, but it expanded her fan base across many continents all over the world.
In short, both Julie Kryk and her songs embody class, and perhaps provide a sliver of hope for Generation Y. Julie has already accomplished so much in such a short time, but in the end, it all comes down to Julie's passion for music.
"I live for music. I live for writing it, and I live for performing it." says Julie. "And if, in the end, I have touched just one person with my music, my life will be complete.â€?
Edited bio an almagam of bio from juliekryk.com and Macleanâ€™s Magazine article
Interview by Mike Aylward
Mike: How would you define your sound to a newcomer to your music?
Julie: I write pop songs, but still my music touches a variety of other styles, including rock, blues, r&b, and even country.
Mike: What types of music and which musicians/groups influenced you growing up?
Julie: My favorites were always U2, The Beatles, Elton John, Billy Joel and Sarah McLachlan - great musicians and performers writing GREAT music!
Mike: How did growing up in Windsor, Ontario, Canada influence your music?
Julie: Being a border city of Detroit, Windsor always got great exposure to large touring acts. I would always go see my favorite concert in town, and those shows inspired me to pursue my dream as a singer/songwriter. The Windsor community is also very supportive of the arts. I had my first regular coffeehouse gig there, and I also performed in local theatre productions in my teens.
Mike: Which do you prefer, recording/producing or live performance?
Julie: Live Performance, hands down!
Mike: What was your most memorable live performance and why?
Julie: I would say my performance at Lilith Fair was my most memorable live performance, because it was my first big performance on a large-scale international tour. I was only 18, had just graduated from high school, and suddenly I found myself singing with my peers in front of 18,000 people. That lit the flame, as they say!
Mike: Whose music are you listening to right now?
Julie: Right now I am listening to The Counting Crows, David Gray and U2, among many others. I like so many different kinds of music, that I never get stuck on one album for too long!
Mike: Do you think that there is a level playing field for female musicians in the music world today?
Julie: I think it's pretty level now. When you turn on the radio, you hear just as many females singing as you do males. Sometimes when I play my guitar, I hear people comment on how I can "really play", and sometimes I think that same person would have never said that comment to a guy. But in general, I haven't ever really had a problem being a female in this industry.
Mike: What was it like jamming with Bono and U2 in front of the huge crowd in Las Vegas?
Julie: Awesome! That's all I can say. With the rush of the 20,000-plus crowd, all four U2 members backing me, and Bono singing lyrics about me, how can it be anything BUT awesome!? It was so cool of Bono to invite me on stage, because it was truly the biggest unexpected rush of my life! I also got a tremendous amount of worldwide exposure from that one single performance.
Mike: Do you prefer small or large venues when playing live?
Julie: Well, I love the large venues for the rush you get. There's nothing like seeing thousands of people listening to your music. But at the same time, I love singing my songs in an intimate room for about 50 people as well. I guess I enjoy both.
Mike: What are your goals/targets/hopes/dreams for your music and for your future life?
Julie: I just want to make a living as a singer/songwriter. If anything (eg. riches and fame) happens to come my way, that's just a bonus. But what's most important to me is that I can do what I love. And I love nothing more than writing and performing my music.
Mike: How has new technology affected how you deliver your musical message to the world?
Julie: New technology makes it so easy for us to get our music out there these days. I record/produce my own music, and with the proper software and hardware, I can create great quality music without paying thousands of dollars to a local studio. I can pretty much do it all in my own studio, at my own pace, and in my own environment.
Mike: What is a musical goal that you would still like to achieve?
Julie: I would like to look back when I am 80 years old and say, "I made a living at doing what I love". My biggest fear is not following through with my dreams, and being a professional singer/songwriter has always been a dream of mine. I hope that I can stick with it forever.
Mike: What do you think are the embodiments of good and evil in the music business, and in the world today?
Julie: The good is always the music, as long as it comes from the heart. The evil in the music industry, and in the world in general, is when people stop following what they believe in. As long as you stay on your path of choice, in music or in life, you will succeed.
Mike: A hundred years from now, how would you like to be remembered?
Julie: I would like to be remembered as someone who followed her dreams until the day she died.