When I was in third grade I used to fantasize about being a rock star, preferably one that everyone thought was uber-talented and was kind of a musical sensation of some kind - think The Beatles. I don't know what that says about me but there it is. I figured that the ultimate proof of success would be to have mobs of teenagers in tears, screaming and yelling and chasing after me like my voice had made them lose their minds or something. I based this desire on about 650 gazillion re-run episodes of The Monkees, a sit-com fashioned around a Beatles-like band from the late sixties I watched in which exactly that happened. One or all of the band members were always being chased by rabid fans - especially Davy Jones, he was the cute English one that I still have a crush on to this day.
So, I would practice. Rehearsal entailed placing an album that contained a lot of Saturday morning cartoon music on it (one of the only records my little sister and I owned) on to our little blue record player. I would then carefully place the needle on the theme song to another series produced in the late sixties called H.R. Pufnstuf that aired every Saturday morning on NBC. The show was produced by Sid and Marty Krofft and the theme song was sung by The Murmers entitled, appropriately enough, H.R. Pufnstuf . I would take my position on stage (my twin bed) and face the audience (the full length mirror on the back of my bedroom door) and mostly just flail my arms and legs furiously while lip sinking into my goldfish's bottle of fish flakes that served as my microphone. And, if that doesn't provoke the "boy-that-is-the-saddest-thing-I-think-I-have-ever-heard" response in you then, well . . . rehearsal starts at 4 p.m. today - bring your own fish food!
And as usual, I told you that story to tell you this story of a young woman who has actually made it out of her bedroom onto a stage and has an album you can buy and everything! Her name is Julia Nunes and she is a ukulele and guitar playing singer/songwriter from upstate New York. The 1980s icon, actress Molly Ringwald, who took up the ukulele recently, famously said on "Good Morning America" about Julia, "I've always wanted to play the ukulele, and she completely inspired me." Piano rocker Ben Folds found one of Julia's YouTube covers and asked her to open four shows for him in May 2008, and she duetted on stage with him in April 2009.
Julia's appeal is clearly her genuine demeanor. Her talent is mined with humor. Her songs have well crafted lyrics, marvelous melodies, and lots of insight. She is fond of covering songs from the Beatles, Beach Boys, and Nat King Cole to Say Anything, Motion City Soundtrack, and Spoon. And as I said earlier she writes her own stuff as well, and I'm of the opinion that her music kind of transcends a genre. She is the child and grandchild of musicians. Her background includes Portuguese fado music, jazz, and rock and roll. Her own musical journey began at the tender age of 7, when she started piano lessons, but didn't really take off until she was given a guitar in her early teens. Her first song was written at 14. Her first CD of original songs, which unfortunately is no longer available, was released when she was 17. The second CD, "Left Right Wrong", the title of which reflects Julia's difficulties with direction, was released at 18. Her third, "I Wrote These" followed a year later. Her most recent collection of original songs is a CD entitled, "I Think You Know."
I was charmed by her talent and charisma, and I have feeling you will be too. You'll find more on Julia and her goings-on at her website, her YouTube channel, and her Facebook fan page.
Julia will return to Bonnaroo in Manchester, TN this Thursday, June 10th and again on Sunday, June 13th, and plays tonight in Indianapolis at Radio Head on East Prospect St., doors open at 8 p.m.
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