Sometimes karaoke leads to a career in music
by BART MENDOZA
Published - 03/17/17 - 06:13 AM | 3922 views | 0 0 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sometimes Julie will play 5 p.m. Saturday, March 25 at Winston’s, 1921 Bacon St. No cover. 21 and up. Visit www.winstonsob.com for more information.
Sometimes Julie will play 5 p.m. Saturday, March 25 at Winston’s, 1921 Bacon St. No cover. 21 and up. Visit www.winstonsob.com for more information.
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While it’s likely that most folks reading this have partaken in a round of karaoke at some point in their lives, the number of folks for whom such a performance actually led to a musical career is likely miniscule. Yet that’s exactly how the duo of Monica Sorenson and Rick Walker, leaders of the band Sometimes Julie, came into being.

The band has built a solid following that has seen them play to packed houses at venues throughout the Southland, from street fairs to the House of Blues. The duo is set to perform a free early show at Winston’s in Ocean Beach on March 25.

Singer Sorenson and guitarist Walker met in 2012, while she was singing karaoke. Speaking between numbers, Walker learned that Sorenson was a poet in need of musical backing, while coincidentally, he needed lyrics for a batch of new tunes he was working on.

According to Walker, the band’s name came about due to the karaoke connection. “At the time she didn’t want people taking video and posting it, as it might be embarrassing at work. So on signup sheets to sing, she would write in ‘Julie.’ I didn’t know her real name was actually Monica until we had been writing together for six months,” he laughed.

Following a bit of woodshedding, the pair teamed with George Nelms (drums), Bruce Paul Allen (bass) and Alberto Moreno (lead guitar), creating a distinctive sound that mixed elements of Americana and indie rock, as well as blues and pop.

“Our sound has expanded a lot since we started out,” Walker continued. “Early on we had a sort of contemporary Americana sound. While that’s still there, some of our newer material has a harder edge, as the new members of the band had things to bring to the table.”

The progression is natural when you consider that Walker was originally from Chicago. “Being from that area, the blues are in my veins,” he said. “I’m definitely influenced by the likes of Buddy Guy, also Eric Clapton. But I also want to point out that, particularly in the early 1990s, there was a big powerpop scene in the area, so Cheap Trick was really important as well.”

In 2014, Sometimes Julie released their debut album, “Head First,” scoring airplay and following it up in 2016 with an E.P., “Bright Side of the Line.” A follow up is set for later this year, set to be recorded at Pacific Beat Studios with producer Alan Sanderson (The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac). “We start tracking on April 1, but prior to that we will be releasing a new single, ‘In My Bones,’” he said.

The band does perform occasional covers such as Lucinda Williams song “Essence” or Led Zeppelin’s evergreen, “Rock ’n’ Roll,” but Sometimes Julie prefers to stick to their originals. “We do occasionally throw a cover in for fun, but we try not to focus on that as we have lots of our own music that fits the bill for club shows.

With five years in the band, Walker is happy with the progress made by Sometimes Julie. “We really like the creative process,” he said. “We like starting with the glint of an idea, fleshing it out and taking it to audiences. Getting a positive response from a crowd after that work is the best feeling in the world,” he said. “I guess you could say that we love the whole process of making music, start to finish.”

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