Check out our interview with Country singer-songwriter Julie Williams who just released her new single “Southern Curls.”
Follow Julie @juliewilliamsmusic
Hi Julie, please tell us a little about you?
Hey there! I am a curly girl from Florida writing and singing songs in Nashville. I write honest songs about my life and share the stories that I wish I heard when I was growing up.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Creative, Compassionate, Optimistic
Describe your sound in 3 words?
story-driven, uplifting, mixed like me
Who influenced you and why did you choose to make music?
I have a number of influences across genres – The Chicks, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Colbie Caillat, the Temptations. Music has always been a part of my life – from singing in beach bars and in church growing up to my music career in college – even when it wasn’t the primary focus in my life. It wasn’t until the end of college that I discovered a love for songwriting and sharing my own stories – feeling that connection when someone listens to your song and sees their own story in it too. It’s magical.
Tell us about your new single “Southern Curls?”
Southern Curls is my story about learning to love my hair, and through that learning to love myself. It tells my journey from being a young child with bows in my hair to now about what it feels like when you believe you have the “wrong kind of Southern curls.” It is vulnerable and real, and tells a story that many have lived, but haven’t heard in Country music.
What’s the story behind the song?
I wrote the song in about 30 minutes, but I like to say that it really took me 23 years to write it. Like so many girls of color, I grew up not feeling beautiful. I hated my hair and how it looked and tried so hard for so many years to meet society’s standards of white beauty. Also like many girls of color, my sense of beauty and self was tied so closely to my hair that once I learned how to properly take care of it and let it shine in it’s own natural way, I also learned how to love myself and embrace my Blackness and “mixedness.” The song reflects my journey to get where I am and what I felt along the way.
What’s next for Julie Williams in 2021?
I am excited to be sharing more stories and music this year: stories about race, love, loss, and the crazy growth that I have. I am also excited to get the vaccine!
What is your favorite song? And why?
Midnight Train to Georgia by Gladys Knight & The Pips. That was one of my grandmother’s favorite songs. She used to sing Gladys Knight’s part and my dad and his brothers would play the Pips. My grandmother died when my father was eighteen, so I never got to meet her. When I was younger, I would imagine that Gladys Knight’s voice was my grandmother’s and that she was singing to me. I always feel her presence when I listen to that song.
Any loves other than music?
I am passionate about immigrant and refugee rights. I used to run a refugee mentoring program when I was in college and did research in Amman, Jordan. I volunteer with Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors, an incredible nonprofit in Nashville that provides legal services to refugees and immigrants. I also love to salsa dance and make tapas!
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would meet Ella Fitzgerald. She is the queen of jazz and one of my top vocal influences. I would love to sing with her, hear one of her famous scat performances, and pick her brain on all of the incredible musicians and people she met.
Best advice ever given?
Don’t take a business meeting with a man past 6pm.
What is you favorite song to belt out in the car/for karaoke?
Cruel Summer by Taylor Swift has been one of my recent car jams. My roommates are a little sick of it, but I don’t care! Taylor Swift is a queen!
What is your own definition of happiness?
When it takes me less than an hour to do my hair
How do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself happy, performing in front of real people (instead of a screen!), writing songs that resonate and change minds, and working with the artists who have inspired me. I also see myself with a dog named Cheeto.
How would you describe your fashion style?
Out of the house: off-brand Zendaya
At home: suburban mom who is just trying to hang in there
What do you think of Social Media?
I think it’s a great way to connect with people that you would never have the opportunity to in person. I love connecting with my fans on socials, and it is a unique way for artists to perform and share their stories directly. There are obviously serious downsides with social media, and I would be lying if I said social media doesn’t cause me anxiety and self esteem issues. That’s why I try to be as honest as I can on social media and follow people who uplift and inspire me.
Where we can follow you?
Favorite of each
Quote: “Of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!” – Dolly Parton
Movie: She’s the Man
Travel Destination: Buenos Aires, Argentina