As you’ll read later in this interview, Julianne Q’s decision to pursue music stemmed from a desire to live without regret. The dauntlessness that inspired her musical career also became something of a hallmark of it; her songs are bold, vulnerable, and stylistically sophisticated – not to mention that she is a clear vocal powerhouse as well. AMPLIFY. had the opportunity to interview Julianne Q in January, and we’re really excited to be sharing this today. Read on to learn more about her, her music, and what’s in store for her band in the future:
AMPLIFY: What’s one song or album you love that you think is totally underrated?
Julianne Q: “Try A Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding is one of my absolute favorite songs of all time, and I think it’s grossly underrated by many in my generation. That song is literally the definition of making love. It starts off slow, and it gradually builds and builds with more instrumentation, until you get to this beautiful euphoric climax and just want to scream “AHHH YESSS!” His performance totally captures the power of raw sexual energy. At the same time, Otis’s voice beautifully weaves through the emotional waves that humans experience during sex. His message is clear and simple: all you need to do with your lover is try a little tenderness.
AMPLIFY: In your opinion, what’s the most unique aspect of Chicago’s creative community?
Julianne Q: I brag about Chicago’s collaborative and richly diverse music scene all the time! I think it’s amazing that you can see an insane punk show, inspiring jazz set and an intimate acoustic concert all in the same city on the same night. Such an eclectic scene provokes innovative collaboration amongst its artists.
AMPLIFY: If you could time travel to any period in music history, which era would you select and why?
Julianne Q: I would 1,000% travel back in time to the 1960s right around the time of Woodstock. I’m hugely influenced by the rock and roll revolution of the 1960s, and so many of the greatest rock legends played that festival. I would kill to experience the euphoria and pure magic that performers like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones created for their audiences.
AMPLIFY: What moves you to create?
Julianne Q: This is a tough question because I’ve been in a bit of a creative slump lately. So partly what motivates me is to get out that slump. So lately, pushing myself to grow as a songwriter has inspired me to create music far outside my comfort zone – from expansive piano riffs to darker, edgier songs. I’ve started collaborating more with my Band on songwriting, particularly with my drummer/backing vocalist Jeff Mills. Jeff has been on a freakin’ roll lately coming up with melodies and new material. He’s an insanely talented singer-songwriter, and we recently co-wrote a new song called “Born to Die” that I’m super jazzed about and will likely be on our upcoming in EP in the spring.
AMPLIFY: I read online that you chose to pursue music over the theatre career you had been building in college. What advice would you offer to someone who is hesitant to break away from the mold to pursue their passion?
Julianne Q: The most influential piece of advice I’ve received is to do what you would regret more not doing. I knew that if I didn’t at least try to pursue music, I would’ve regretted it more than if I didn’t pursue a career in theatre.
AMPLIFY: Who did you see at your first concert?
Julianne Q: The Backstreet Boys!! I was 6 years old and I painted a sign that said “I love Brian!” It was absolutely magical.
AMPLIFY: If you could pick the title of any movie to represent the essence of your music, what would you select and why?
Julianne Q: I would title it “Q Nation” because I believe that creating music is about building a community and fostering a sense of family. When I perform, my job is to create an atmosphere that encourages people to drop their armor on the floor and just let loose to the music. Let their guards down, dance, and join in the freedom and understanding that rock and roll music provides. When I’m on stage, I’m dancing and grooving and not giving a damn about what anyone thinks. It’s the most liberating and euphoric feeling, and when I’m connected to myself and the room, I can spread that feeling and create a community within the audience based around that feeling. That’s what being a part of Q Nation is all about.
AMPLIFY: Which aspect of your creative work are you most proud of?
Julianne Q: Over the past two years, I’ve really focused on honing my performance craft. I found my niche once I transitioned from the singer-songwriter sitting at the piano to the frontwoman of a rock band. I studied Tom Jackson’s Live Music Method along with my idols Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin and Sara Bareilles. I observed and implemented their ways of engaging the audience into my own performance. I am truly proud of the larger than life performer I have become and the positive impact I leave on my audiences.
AMPLIFY: Lastly, what’s coming up next for Julianne Q and The Band?
Julianne Q: We’ve got a huge year ahead of us and I couldn’t be more excited!! Here are a few highlights for what’s to come:
- The Band and I are going on a writing retreat at the end of February. We’re renting a cabin in the middle of Wisconsin and are going to spend the whole weekend writing, recording demos and working on our live show.
- We’re getting new band photos now that we have our new bassist Egan Franke. We’ll be releasing those in March.
- We’re recording and releasing a brand new EP in the spring.
- We’re working with our booking agent Bill Green for summer festivals as well as the following upcoming gigs: March 16th @ Tracy’s Tavern – Clarendon Hills and March 30th @ Elbo Room – Clarendon Hills
Ready for some tunes? Click here to check out Julianne Q’s recent (and fantastic) classic rock covers.