“Releasing fears to let dreams take flight”
It goes without saying that performing as a child at London's prestigious Royal Albert Hall would leave most with aspirations of becoming a professional artist. That's exactly how things started for singer, songwriter and composer Julie Ludgate. The pop artist from the southern England town of Basingstoke has since been a finalist in a National Songwriting Competition, worked alongside legendary producer Stuart Epps, and is now preparing for the release of her debut album.
Julie's upcoming album, entitled Breaking Barriers, will feature ten original tracks exploring themes of overcoming personal fears. For Julie, the stories are of a personal nature.
"Some of the songs are drawn from experiences with self-doubt and limiting beliefs, so it's something I've worked on and continue to work on," explains Julie. "There's also a song on the album I wrote when I lost my previous dog, Dillon, to cancer. This is my first self-penned album, so it's tough putting your thoughts and creations out there for the world to hear"
Breaking Barriers was recorded in the United Kingdom and is being produced by Los Angeles-based Studio Pros. It is slated for release in Spring 2019 and will be available for streaming and digital download on all major platforms, including iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon.
In addition to the coming Breaking Barriers album, Julie has released three singles to date: "Still Into You" was first released in 2016 and will be re-released on Breaking Barriers, "Nothing Gained" dropped in 2016, and Julie's first holiday song, "Ho Ho Ho It's Christmas," was released in December 2018. Those singles are also available on all major distribution platforms.
One of Julie's earliest childhood memories is performing with her school choir at the legendary Royal Albert Hall. That performance, which took place in front of British royalty, sparked an interest in singing. She later went on to participate in several productions at a local theatrical company but what she really wanted was to front a band.
"I had a desire to be a lead singer in a band, so I put and advert in a local music shop that said 'singer looking to join band,"' says Julie. "I auditioned for and joined a pop/rock band that I fronted for a time. I've fronted a few bands over the years covering a number of genres including pop, rock, country, blues, but now I want to perform some of my own material live"
Julie's career took an unexpected turn in 2016 when she decided to enter a National Songwriting Competition and submitted her song "Nothing Gained." Her entry advanced deep into the competition and was eventually named a finalist. Julie discovered she was a finalist in the competition during a filmed interview with well-known DJ, writer, and TV presenter Mike Read. Making the finals also earned her a spot on the television show Tin Pan Alley. The eight-week season appeared on Showbiz TV.
"I was certainly overwhelmed by the whole experience but in a great and excited way," she remembers. "Everyone I met was lovely so that helped calm the nerves a bit. I think it's important to take both the positive and constructive feedback in order to improve your songwriting craft, so it was very interesting to hear the judges' comments on everyone's songs. I ended up reaching the final 10 in the show."
Appearing on Tin Pan Alley also provided Julie with an incredible opportunity: time working alongside legendary music producer Stuart Epps. Dating back to the late 1960's, Epps has worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry, including Elton John, Led Zepplin, George Harrison, and Twisted Sister. During their time together, Epps provided Julie with some valuable insight.
"It was great meeting Stuart," says Julie. "We went through "Nothing Gained" and he had some ideas of another guitar part that could be added. We spent time in the control room discussing the song, and I got to sing through my song live with him playing bass. It was interesting learning about some of the people he had worked with and listening to his ideas for the song."
In addition to making the finals of the National Songwriting Competition, Julie was also a semi-finalist in the 2017 International Songwriting Competition (ISC) and a finalist in the 2018 Songdoor International Songwriting Competition.
When she isn't working on new music, Julie can be found spending quality time with family and friends. She owns a dog, a Golden Labrador named "Casper," and she confesses to being hooked on television shows like Pretty Little Liars, 24, and Friends. She is also a movie fan, citing The Game, Legends of the Fall, and Philadelphia as some of her favourites.
“Always believe that anything is possible.”