Meet Sometimes Julie, is a San Diego dynamic duo who ended 2023 with a musical bang by releasing their album “Seven Wishes” on New Year’s night. Sometimes Julie is made up of powerhouse vocalist Monica Sorenson and musical wizard Rick Walker.
Monica’s earthy voice, as a guiding light, adds life to the fear of universal time slipping away while Rick creates sonic terrain that resembles Fleetwood Mac by adding rock touches.
Their fifth album, “Seven Wishes”, opens in pop, country and blues to express seven raw desires. Julie’s music is often so magnetic and compelling that it makes listeners want to realize their desires and grasp the moment.
Monica reveals in our chat how she got the name of her stage persona, Julie – a personality oozing mega confidence onstage. Acting motivated by love and personal lives, their creative path starts from a word to integrated gems with Rick.
Monica’s musical beginnings in a multicultural family influenced her youthful years and how they changed from simple songs to risky compositions express the uniqueness of their sound.
Sometimes Julie celebrates the reawakening of rock and roll with nods to U2 and Brandi Carlile. Apart from music, Monica enjoys nature and a little silliness. The future has a lot in stock for them, from live performances, solo projects and collaborations.
To fans, Sometimes Julie’s message is clear: help local musicians, enjoy live music celebrations and partake in the hope journey of love play. Take a plunge into the universe of Sometimes Julie and make their music vibrate in your heart.
Listen to Seven Wishes
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What is your stage name?
Our band name is Sometimes Julie. My real name is actually Monica, but when I am onstage people call me Julie most of the time, so I guess that’s what I go with for a stage name.
Is there a story behind your stage name?
Julie is my performance name. When I first started singing, at open mics mostly, I thought it was important to use a stage name so I could maintain separation between my performance life and personal and professional lives.
With this separation, I could allow myself to be authentic on stage and perform freely, without having to worry about being tagged in potentially embarrassing videos posted to social media. So in short, Monica is a little self-conscious, while Julie is confident and free. So I’m gonna be Julie whenever I can.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find my inspiration in my relationships, feelings, and personal history as well as in dreams and imagined stories. I hear songs in my head when I am walking or hiking. Being in nature really lets me tune in. Melodies come to me as the stories develop.
When I return home from a hike, I will sit at the piano or with my guitar and work out a little bit of the song at a time. Then Rick and I will get together to fully develop the song. Rick’s collaboration often sends a song in a direction I didn’t anticipate, and I find that to be very exciting. So Rick is a big inspiration to me as well.
What was the role of music in the early years of your life?
Music was really important in the early years of my life. Many people in my family are musicians. Music was always playing in my house, whether it was classical or country or a little bit of jazz, standards, rock and roll, or pop. We didn’t have a lot of money but we had good stereo systems, a great collection of records, and instruments in our house – pianos, drums, and guitars.
Music was always there in the background of my childhood. I remember singing quite a bit to myself as a small child and loving learning songs.
Are you from a musical or artistic family?
My family is full of musicians. My grandparents were professional musicians and played in symphony orchestras, had radio shows, and regularly played in nightclubs. My father, who unfortunately I never met, was a professional musician in the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. My mother also played piano quite well. My little brother is a professional guitar player and vocalist in Phoenix, Arizona.
Who inspired you to be a part of the music industry?
Rick inspired me to be a part of the music industry. A conversation between Rick and my husband is what brought Rick and me together as co-songwriters.
How did you learn to sing/write/to play?
As a child, I resisted my family’s efforts to teach me to play an instrument. And I was shy at school and did not join in with singing (fortunately, I eventually got over that). When I was a little older, I wrote quite a bit of poetry and actually pursued a master’s degree in English creative writing for a while. Writing poetry and writing lyrics draw from pretty much the same skill set. Also around the same time, I took a piano class for a semester as an elective. I loved it, but I didn’t pursue piano further until recently.
Although I have now been singing for several years, most of my development as an instrumentalist occurred only during the last few. After forming Sometimes Julie, I realized that in order to grow into the songwriter I wanted to be, I needed a better understanding of music and music theory. The piano is the perfect instrument for learning those things, and I am always eager to learn more.
What was the first concert that you ever went to and who did you see perform?
The first concert I went to was Elton John. I know I also went to see Chicago at about the same time. Elton John was amazing, he was very energetic, and Chicago’s sophisticated musical arrangements were inspirational. I began going to concerts after I got a job and could afford to buy my own tickets!
How could you describe your music?
Our music is original Indie Alt Rock, influenced by blues, pop, and a little bit of country. Our sound is entirely our sound, and while our music is relatable, it’s difficult to categorize us in a particular genre. What matters the most about our music is that it’s melodic and it’s a fully authentic experience that captures and conveys the moment and the feeling of the song.
Describe your creative process.
Usually, the words come first. A phrase, an idea comes along and then it is suddenly married to a tune that spins around in my head. I sing it into my phone and then I work it out on my piano. Some songs are all composed at once, while others have gone through revisions over a period as long as 10 years. Rick comes in to collaborate and helps me turn it into a song with all of the instrumental parts. A handful of times, Rick has composed a complete musical piece, to which I apply lyrics and melody.
Once the music and lyrics are essentially complete, we produce a demo in our home studio, and then take the completed demo to our band to develop the song further. After the band has played it out a few times, we go to a professional recording studio (Pacific Records, Pacific Beat Recording, and/or Bigrock Studios) for additional polishing and then release to the public!
What is your main inspiration?
Love, hope, pain, loss, hope. I’ve been thinking about love, and falling in love, and how to best describe love, my whole life. I think if people are honest they will say they are thinking about it almost all the time. I have had some very big losses in my life, as we all do. When I lost my son, in 2013, the pain was unimaginable. Writing songs to him and about him has been a saving grace. He too was incredibly creative and musical. I often imagine that he is inspiring me each step of the way. I also often write about a need to feel more freedom to express myself, so that is another recurring theme in my lyrics.
What musician do you admire most and why?
I most admire musicians who continue to evolve and get better and try new things. I also admire musicians who use their incredible talent and their energy to make the world a better place and give back. At the moment the artist that most comes to mind is the band U2 and Bono. We’re going to go and see them at The Sphere in Las Vegas.
But we’ve seen them many times before. They’re the reason I met my husband. I’ve created a lot of relationships with people listening to their music so I have to say they’re pretty influential for me. They use their tremendous influence to create Project Red which brings life saving opportunities to others.
Another person who I really admire is Brandi Carlile because she is so talented. Her music moves me. As an up and coming artist she was able to create while being a very authentic person. She was able to come out in 2002 and marry her wife in 2012. She uses her position of influence to create the Looking Out Foundation which helps fund a number of different things that I really believe in from conservation to supporting people in areas of conflict and Doctors Without Borders, a number of really important causes. Interesting connection: I recently found out that she learned to play piano and guitar after hearing Elton John.
Has your style evolved since the beginning of your career?
So much. We started out with what I would call safe little songs and we have developed into risk-taking songwriters. We try new things, bring in amazing collaborators, and create very original songs. I have grown as a musician, as both a singer and now an instrumentalist, with a better understanding of music theory and production.
Who do you see as your main competitor?
Time. You can’t trust it. It always steals the show.
What are your interests outside of music?
Hiking, glamping, being in nature, and being silly and childish.
If it wasn’t a music career, what would you be doing?
Painting and writing something other than songs. I also like working with animals.
What is the biggest problem you have encountered in the journey of music?
If you could change one thing in the music industry, what would it be?
The rightful return of rock and roll as the dominant genre in popular culture. In my opinion, there is no other music genre with as much variety, and authenticity, than rock and roll.
Why did you choose this as the title of this project?
I am always wishing, hoping, and wishing some more, to have time with people I love and seeing people I have lost one more time. That is really what this is about.
What are your plans for the coming months?
Play! Play! Play! And work on my solo-ish project – which will be largely acoustic and piano oriented. Rick will be right there with me, so it’s only kind of a solo project.
Do you have any artistic collaboration plans?
I may be writing with a few friends, Linda Berry and Pat Pickslay to name a couple. I hope to put together some cool shows with all female-fronted bands.
What message would you like to give to your fans?
Please listen to and support local musicians and live music whenever you can! Hope, love, play! We appreciate your support and hope you will let us know what you think of our new album.