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Julia Easterlin, one of the many talented artists performing at the upcoming Songs for Soldiers event, is just a year out of Berklee and already she has performed at SXSW and Lollapalooza. She is a singer/songwriter who does something with her music that I have never seen before: Easterlin is a loop-artist, and the two songs that she performed for us at WERS were made up entirely of her voice.
“I’ve always thought of my voice as my main instrument,” she tells me. Though she has been trained in guitar, piano, and drums, she prefers to use her loop pedal. Once she starts performing, it’s easy to see why. Easterlin’s voice is clear, crisp, and truly a wonderful instrument. She hums and claps, snaps her fingers and bangs her chest, all in order to make the sounds she believes the songs need most. The sound is as plentiful and pleasing as any song using a full band. Recently, at her bigger shows, Easterlin enjoyed the addition of a couple members to her one woman show. She used a full band at both Lollapalooza and SXSW, and says that it made it feel “more like a family on stage.” Still, though, she used her loop pedal to help create her songs.
When I asked her about her musical training, Easterlin told me that it all helped her to get where she is at. She started learning piano at age eight, then moved on to guitar, then voice lessons at age sixteen. “My training as a dancer really influences my music as well,” she tells me. Easterlin has performed in classical ballet, modern, and West African dance. She explains that while she was learning West African dance (which she really enjoyed), she was required to learn both the drums and the music that go along with the dance. All this helps her to imagine the music that she wants to play– Easterlin seems to be able to envision her music through movements.
As far as her goals as an artist, Easterlin is still grappling with it. She is just a year out of college and struggling with the “transitional period” that most people go through at her age. “After I graduated, music became more of an intentional decision for me,” she explains. It seems as though she is struggling a bit with the pressure of it. But she quickly continues by saying, “there’s still that pull to make it, still my love for it. I want to make a living doing what I love, and I want to do it well.”
Finally, I finished by asking her who she considered to be her favorite artists. “I’m a huge Radiohead nerd,” she said. “I think Thom Yorke is really cool.” She also said that she loves Benjamin Britten, Bon Iver, and Bjork. When explaining what it was that she liked about these artists, there seemed to be one strong theme that strung them all together: they’re artists that follow their instincts, and don’t allow outside influences to pressure them into making any decisions. Which is exactly what Easterlin seems to be doing, as well– and is something that we can all be thankful for.
To check out her music, you can visit her Facebook page. Also stay tuned for her new single, “Go Straight Away”, which will be released sometime next week. Easterlin is one of the artists featured on the Songs For Soldiers CD, a twelve-track compilation produced by Emerson alumni to give support to soldiers and their families. Julia Easterlin will be performing live at Church of Boston, on Sunday, July 1 st, as a part of Hold On Another Day Presents: The Songs For Soldiers Concert. This event is 21 plus and you can find more information about it here.