1) JULIE, YOU HAVE RECENTLY PERFORMED WITH LEGENDARY COMPOSER JAMES NEWTON HOWARD. EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE NOT NEW TO PERFORMING AT AWESOME EVENTS, WHAT WAS IT LIKE SHARING THE STAGE WITH JNH AND HOW DID THE GIG COME ABOUT?
Let me start by saying that it was an absolutely surreal experience! In August, when James announced that he was searching for vocalists to perform the iconic piece “The Hanging Tree” from The Hunger Games on his European tour, I immediately recorded an audition video and sent it in. I was aware that my approach to the song was quite different to Jennifer Lawrence’s original one.
Even more so, I feel incredibly lucky that James chose me out of thousands of audition entries as the soloist for his Vienna concert. Performing with him and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra is something I will never forget. James is not only a brilliant composer, he is also one of the kindest, funniest and most humble people I’ve met.
2) YOU ARE BASED IN MUNICH, GERMANY AND YOU DO A LOT OF REMOTE RECORDING FOR MANY COMPOSERS WHO SCORE AMAZING VIDEO GAMES. CAN YOU ELABORATE ON HARNESSING THE POWER OF THE INTERNET TO GET WORK AND STAY VISIBLE?
I think we live in this absolutely unique time, when we can co-create music from all over the world remotely, and exchange ideas, compositions and projects online. That’s still mind-blowing to me every day. For me personally, being based in Germany, social media has been a crucial tool to connect with colleagues, composers, musicians and fans. I started out recording and uploading my original compositions on Soundcloud and Youtube, and grew my audience from there. I feel that all of this goes beyond “networking”, it is more about building meaningful relationships one day at a time, organically. And I found this to be possible and enriching even in an online setting.
3) BESIDES BEING A VOCALIST YOU ALSO PLAY PIANO, VIOLIN AND YOU COMPOSE! CAN YOU PLEASE TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR MUSIC BACKGROUND AND WHAT YOU ASPIRE TO ACCOMPLISH IN THE FUTURE?
Growing up, I learned to play the piano and violin, composed and arranged original pieces and sang in choirs as well as soloistically at school concerts. From a young age, I was absolutely fascinated by music and performers. I also discovered that I’m a synaesthete, which means that my brain connects certain colors with musical notes or keys, and even numbers.
Over time, my focus shifted from being a multi-instrumentalist to pursuing singing as my main creative endeavour. While I do play the piano regularly, I must admit that my violin hasn’t been touched for years now. (Sorry, violin Elven!)
I love to compose whenever inspiration hits me. In a creative world full of deadlines, composing is this one “sacred space” for me where there is no pressure, no need for perfection, no tight schedule. If you’re reading this as a full-time composer, it must sound bizzare – but it might be just the other way around for you, if you like to sing or play a certain instrument for fun and recreation.
My plan for the future is to continue to evolve as an artist, and to keep an open mind and heart for opportunities that present themselves along the way. I firmly believe that you attract the energy that you yourself put out into the world.
4) YOU HAVE PERSONALLY BEEN EXPERIENCING THE RISE OF LIVE PERFORMANCES OF MEDIA MUSIC. WE OFTEN TALK ABOUT IT ON THIS FORUM, SO COULD YOU PLEASE TELL US HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT IT? IS IT JUST A PHASE WE ARE GOING THROUGH OR IS THERE A LOT MORE TO IT?
This year in particular, I’ve personally experienced the rising demand for live performances of media music that we also talk about in this forum frequently. It opened up a completely new world to me, as I am generally used to my “studio cat” existence, being able to record even in my pajamas if I want to.
Joining James Newton Howard on stage, as well as performing my original video game vocals live, for example at Playstation Experience (PSX) Germany, the Movie Score Málaga festival in Spain with Neal Acree, and at promotion and launch events of the video games I’ve sung on has been an amazing addition to my studio work. I absolutely love both worlds and consider myself extremely lucky to be a part of this exciting development.
It also helped me to finally meet the composers I’ve worked with remotely before, for example meeting Joris de Man and the audio and composer team behind Horizon Zero Dawn, who are now like family to me, and meeting Neal Acree after years of joint work, to perform our World of Warcraft music at the Movie Score Málaga festival in Spain. I’ve always left these events feeling like we’ve not only performed together, but connected on a deeper, personal level too.
Next, I will be on tour with the North Netherlands Symphony Orchestra right before christmas, for a series of video game concerts, where I will perform my original vocal contributions from Joris de Man’s stunning score for Horizon Zero Dawn as well as other video game scores.
As Eímear Noone mentioned in her interview before, shows like Video Games Live and Hans Zimmer Live have opened the floodgates to a whole new concert genre and demographic of concertgoers. I’m very excited for the future of media music performances!
5) WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO FEMALES WHO WANT TO WORK IN OUR INDUSTRY?
In this industry, we oftentimes do not have immediate control over certain circumstances or situations, but let us focus on what we can change and have control over – perfecting our craft, putting in the consistent effort and passion, building a community of empowerment, connecting with individuals that inspire us, and speaking out about injustice and matters that are important to us. So many of the women in this forum are continuing to be amazing role models to me, and I’m incredibly thankful for that.