Long before Julia King was playing NYC hotspots like Rockwood Music Hall, off the beaten path clubs like the Postcrypt Coffee House in the basement of Columbia U’s St. Paul’s Chapel and many of the 60 wineries in her home region of the North Fork, Long Island, she shared her songs more intimately with friends. Whether the stylistically eclectic singer/songwriter played pop, folk, country, rock or soul – or a combination thereof - they recognized a uniquely “Julia” style in her music and especially in the poetry of her lyrics. She taps into a fresh multitude of vibes on her slow simmering, emotionally hard hitting new single “Cannonball,” the first of several tracks she will be releasing in the coming months as she gears up for her full length debut album next year.
Reflective of its incendiary title, “Cannonball,” at its core, is a song about a woman realizing that the man she’s been seeing just isn’t cutting it - because she’s a wild, untamed spirit that simply can’t be contained or owned. Alternating between lower toned earthy sultriness, grit and explosive vocal belting, Julia asserts, “I’m a late night sequin queen made of fire and kerosene/Just bound to blow/And your mama never taught you how to catch a cannonball.”
On a deeper level, the tune serves as a metaphor for Julia’s life and career, always saying no to the expected and monotonous in favor of adventure and determination, even in the face of uncertainty. Growing up on a rural Long Island farm, she always knew that music was the most important thing in her life. As a child, her father introduced her to Motown and classic rock, her grandmother always had the likes of Sinatra, Billie Holiday and Patsey Cline playing, and Julia connected deeply with the works of greats like Smokey Robinson and Van Morrison. She would literally lose herself in the music and let it transport her into a world where it felt everyone understood her.
Yet instead of initially pursuing music, she followed her parent’s practical advice to earn a degree in exercise science at Belmont University. Although she worked in that field (at Equinox) for several years after moving to NYC, she felt inspired by her fond college memories of hanging out in Nashville studios with her friends who studied audio engineering. She had always wanted to perform, and learned a lot about songwriting during that time. While living in New York, she began writing more of her own songs and, with the encouragement of friends, performed wherever she could, cutting her teeth on the open mic circuit. Julia later left the exercise industry for a more flexible career as a sommelier, which allowed her more time to continue her pursuit of music. She released her debut EP The Morning After in 2016 and her previous single “One Way Ticket To Somewhere” in early 2018.
“I was always a singer and musical theater kind of gal,” she says. “My dad and grandmother were huge music lovers and very influential in my life in that way. Developing my vibe has been a lifelong process, and it differs depending the mood of the song – which really explains the overall moodiness of my work. I've always written from the heart. Song and performance have always been a coping mechanism for me, or a way I felt I could express my emotions most clearly. Each song to me has its own life, its own story to tell. So my goal when writing is to communicate the depth and color of whatever story I am telling.”
“No one wants to listen to you cry,” Julia adds, “but they will listen to you sing about it. And, if you’re any good, you won’t be the only one with tear drops in the end. It’s not just about making people cry, but making them feel the music. If I write about it, it’s coming from a place of knowledge and understanding. I’ve been though it or I’ve felt it.”