Julie Durden is a must see singer/songwriter who also happens to be a Life Coach and Motivational Speaker for Teens and Women. She grew up in a small town in North Florida, Live Oak Florida. Yep, way down upon the Suwannee River. Since she was nine years old songs were boiling up within her. Her songs tell her story. Her spirit tells her truth. You will find yourself renewed and inspired to live your life to the fullest after spending time with her in her favorite spot... on a stool, with her guitar... telling inspirational stories.
Her Debut CD "Simple Things" released July 2003...a deep -rooted lyric based project, has captured the attention of so many listeners across the states. This album includes a song written and performed by Julie, titled "Heaven" which in 2004 was chosen to appear in the independent film, "Saving Sophie", (written and produced by Lorraine Portman -Portman Productions, Inc.) Julie lived in Nashville for three years and performed in many hot spots in the area. She moved back to Jacksonville and has created a large fan base from Orlando, St. Augustine, and Jacksonville, by performing weekly. Julie travels back and forth to Nashville to work on some great songwriting and it is payed off in her last album, "FREE" with the hit song, "Perfect That Way" that traveled the airwaves.
Julie has four full length albums under her belt and just completed her latest album "Life Is My Church" released March 2012. This latest album was made possible and sponsored by her fans who donated funds for this new project, "Life Is My Church", through Kickstarter.
Julie Durden's release of her second album in July 2005 titled, "FREE", has received airplay in Seattle, WA. 94.1 KMPS FM, and local radio. The song that is receiving so much attention on the album is a true story about a deaf girl growing up, her niece. Julie wrote this song with hit songwriter Tim Johnson out of Nashville and this song is capturing the hearts of everyone. This song is still traveling around the world touching lives. Julie also has a co-written song with Lucio Rubino on the album that won a CMT/NSAI songwriting contest this year! There is also a song on this album "Front Porch" that tells her life story of how she has followed her dream after her Dad taught her to play the guitar. Julie is so proud of this collection...she dove straight into the depth of her soul to give listeners the best experience they could have from twelve songs. This entire album has a very earthy, positive, truthful, and inspiring vibe. This new CD has already proven to be an emotional success with fans.
Currently, Julie has hit another level of success with her songwriting and honesty with her new album, "Life Is My Church" released March 2012. This album was supported by hundreds of fans on kickstarter.com and the community has sponsored this album monetarily, spiritually and lovingly. This much anticipated album is sure to catch the hearts of many and make our world a better place to live and be with one another. Already hitting over 40 states in the US, Canada, Ireland, Germany, Netherlands, Puerto Rico. Her song on this album, "This World is Yours" has received over 20,000 youtube hits in one month and requested to be played at over 100 high school graduations across the country in 2012. A tribute to peace, acceptance, and diversity- this album will make you want to change the world and live your life to the fullest.
Julie has been leading the stage with her original, acoustic alternative-country-pop feel, and an unlimited supply of original lyrics and acoustic drive, for the past six years. She has a sensitive and powerful way of getting out the dirt and beauty of life in her lyrics. Julie has been writing her own music and playing her guitar and mandolin and writing songs since she was nine years old. It is often said by those who follow Julie's music and style that they can relate to the stories. They feel as though she writes her songs just for them, exclusively. Julie's dedication, will, and faith, in doing what she loves, shows in her music. Julie Durden's music will become part of your soul.
Solo Artist Julie Durden
2012 album "Life is My Church" Julie Durden
2005 album "FREE" Julie Durden
2003 album "Simple Things" Julie Durden
1995 album "Just Say When" Julie Durden
Track "Perfect That Way" is recieving airplay in many areas and genres.
Just received feature article in "Curve" Magazine March 2012
Perfect That Way
Just What I Wanted
Thinking About Me Now
Julie Durden’s “Perfect That Way” Named October “Best Song Of The Month
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Julie Durden, a talented, AAA/pop singer/songwriter based in Jacksonville, FL, has won the Songwrite...Julie Durden, a talented, AAA/pop singer/songwriter based in Jacksonville, FL, has won the SongwriterUniverse “Best Song Of The Month” Contest for October, for her song “Perfect That Way” (which was co-written by Nashville pro songwriter Tim Johnson, who has had hits with Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson and others). This song is featured on Durden’s second CD Free, which she released independently in July.
“Perfect That Way” is a beautiful, heartfelt ballad which is musically reminiscent of the elegant, piano-based ballads of Bruce Hornsby or Don Henley. The song has a special lyric message, telling the story of a girl who was born with a hearing impairment, but is nevertheless a wonderful, intelligent person who is “perfect” in many other ways. It was inspired by Durden’s niece Lindsey, 11, who happens to be deaf. The recording of “Perfect That Way” features expressive, tender vocals by Durden, excellent piano tracks by Tory Harris, and it was expertly produced by Durden and Harris.
Durden grew up in Live Oak, Florida (near Jacksonville), and her father taught her to play guitar and mandolin at an early age. She began writing songs in her early teens and throughout high school. For college, Durden attended Tallahassee Community College, before moving to Jacksonville and graduating from the University of North Florida (with a B.A. in English). During her college years, she would play solo, acoustic shows at various “writer’s night” gigs and other venues.
She subsequently moved to Nashville for a few years, but Durden eventually returned to Jacksonville, where she wrote and recorded the songs for her debut CD Simple Things (which was released in 2003 and sold 3,000 units). Durden also commuted to Nashville for writing trips, and it was in February 2005 that she met hit writer Tim Johnson at a NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) convention. Johnson liked one of her songs, so he invited Durden to collaborate with him.
When Durden and Johnson got together, she mentioned that she was a sign language teacher and told her about her niece, Lindsey. They decided to write a positive song about her and other people with disabilities. “Lindsey being born opened [my family’s] mind and thoughts,” explained Durden. “It changed my life and perspective. We wanted the song to be very positive, where people no longer judged deaf people, and to open people’s minds. People with disabilities are capable of doing practically anything anybody else is doing in the world.”
“Perfect That Way” is a key song on Durden’s new CD Free, and it is already receiving airplay and drawing attention due to its subject and positive message. In her concerts now, Durden brings a sign language interpreter, Lori Cimino, to sign the lyrics for her audience. “I have a large deaf audience,” said Durden. “They can feel the music, and see my emotions.”
Durden discussed her goals for the coming year. “I’m looking forward to promoting my album, and putting together a band and tour. I also want to write more songs in Nashville and Los Angeles, to place songs with other artists. And I would like to share ‘Perfect That Way’ with deaf associations and communities. [Tim and I] hope that this song trickles down to all deaf organizations and schools, and especially for families with children who are born deaf…because it is a blessing.”
Durden's latest lands on national radio, hits close to home
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Some may remember hearing Julie Durden's song "Heaven" from local independent film "Saving Sophie." ...Some may remember hearing Julie Durden's song "Heaven" from local independent film "Saving Sophie." On July 16, the Jacksonville native will release her latest album, "Free," which is expected to sell more than 1,000 copies in the first two weeks of its shelf life.
"This is a very positive CD," says Durden. "It will be very healing for listeners. It was for me."
The singer-songwriter will play at 7 p.m. on July 16 at Kevin's Grille, 2429 South Third St., in Jacksonville Beach. Sign language interpreters will be provided for the concert, and a celebration party will follow.
"Perfect that Way," which she co-wrote with Nashville's Tim Johnson, will be the first single off Durden's new disc. The song has already gathered attention, receiving air play on four radio stations in Seattle.
"Perfect that Way has a very important subject matter that people need to be aware of," says Durden who wrote the song about her 11-year-old hearing impaired niece Lindsey Senea.
Many of these songs hit close to home for Durden, including "Front Porch" which she wrote as an ode to her father and his musical influence on her as a child. Durden's July 16 CD release party will also be a send-off celebration. Durden will hit the road in August for her first out of state tour. She will make stops in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina to help promote "Free."
Juggling a tour schedule may be difficult for Durden, a deaf education teacher at Jacksonville's Fletcher High, when September arrives, but she is determined to do whatever necessary to fulfill what she feels is her destiny.
Durden picked up a guitar at age nine and it was then that her dream was discovered.
"When my father taught me to play guitar, I couldn't stop," says Durden.
Her parents have been the constant influence and inspiration that has driven her to realize her aspiration of music stardom.
"I was fascinated with my dad always playing the guitar around the house," says Durden. "And my mom always supported everything I did."
Durden grew up in Live Oak, one of five children. After college she fled to Nashville to concentrate on her songwriting. Nashville wasn't the motivation Durden was looking for, finding herself distracted and withdrawn from the focal point of her move to Tennessee. She re-evaluated the situation and decided to move back to Florida to be closer to family and the ocean.
"I've always been a water person," Durden said. "I just need to be around it."
Durden's relocation proved to be the guidance she needed, admitting she wrote more than she ever had upon her return to her native state.
"My first CD was a product of moving to St. Augustine," says Durden, referring to her 1995 self-titled debut release.
Durden's songwriting is what drives her music.
"My main focus is songwriting; everything else comes second," Durden said. Riding the songwriting wave that flowed from her, Durden released her second album, "Simple Things" in July of 2003. It sold more than 2,000 copies and fueled Durden to continue on the path she had chosen for herself. "If you have a love and ambition for something, it's part of your plan to live it out," Durden said. "I am not stopping until something happens."
For information on Julie Durden including booking information and tour dates, go to her Web site at www.juliedurden.com .
Diverse crowd gathers to hear Julie Durden
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They hung over the upper decks and filled the courtyard to capacity at Kevin's Grille on Third Stree...They hung over the upper decks and filled the courtyard to capacity at Kevin's Grille on Third Street in Jacksonville Beach July 16.
They were a diverse and unusual concert audience, intimate with and connected to the singer by several strands of love. Family members and her students from the American Sign Language Club at Fletcher High School were on hand to cheer her on.
Friends from the local music community as well as visitors from Asheville, N.C.; Atlanta; Miami; Fernandina Beach; Jacksonville and St. Augustine were there, joined by a large contingent of students and staff from the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind.
Premiering her new CD, Free, singer-songwriter Julie Durden crooned 12 original songs to an appreciative audience of over 300, several of whom were deaf. Interpreters Lori Cimino and Danielle Alexander of St. Augustine took turns signing as Durden sang. Strumming her guitar and singing her lyrics in a rich, clear voice, Durden was accompanied by Ron Rodriguez on acoustic guitar and Tory Harris on keyboard.
"I never heard her sing before," said Jenna Bryant, a Fletcher graduate and Durden's former ASL student. "She's amazing!" Bryant, who admitted she originally took ASL because it was the easiest foreign language credit, noted "Ms. Durden made us not only learn sign language, but love it. Because of her, I plan to make a career of teaching ASL and working with families of deaf loved ones."
Bryant and Fletcher senior Marisa D'Elia brought their CDs to the stage for Durden's signature following the concert.
"I'm really proud of her," said Bryant. "I was fascinated by the number of people in the deaf community here tonight. Her song, Perfect That Way, about her niece, Lindsey Senea, is going to be hit. I just know it."
Perfect That Way, the first single from Durden's new CD, was the final offering of the evening and had the audience on their feet before the final chord was played. Inspired by her deaf 11-year-old niece, Lindsey, and co-written with Nashville songwriter Tim Johnson, Perfect That Way vividly describes the young girl's positive perspective on life despite her perceived disability.
As Cimino signed the words, "That girl grew up not knowing the sound of her mama's voice, God's gift to her was silence in a world so full of noise," Lindsey and her best friend, Taylor, who is also hearing-impaired, sat in the front row, their eyes darting back and forth between the interpreter and the singer.
"I had the song in my heart and Tim Johnson brought it to life," said Durden. "It's an honor just sitting in the room with him, let alone having him ask to write a song with me. That was definitely a gift from God."
Johnson is one of Nashville's top songwriters, with several No.1 hits under his belt, includingThank God for Believers by Mark Chestnutt, Someone You Used to Know by Collin Raye and What I Do by Alan Jackson. Judging by the local and national reaction to Perfect That Way, another No.1 hit may be in the making.
"I was blown away by the crowd that came out to support me," Durden said following the concert. "I don't think there's ever been a bigger CD release in this area. When Lindsey ran up to the stage with flowers for me and I looked around at all the people standing and applauding, with tears in their eyes, that's when I just let my tears flow. It's what happens when the music is from the heart."
Song about deaf niece wins hearts and praise
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She'll never hear the song her Aunt Julie wrote about her. She'll never hear the way her aunt sings ...She'll never hear the song her Aunt Julie wrote about her. She'll never hear the way her aunt sings the words or caresses the music with her guitar. But Lindsey Senea, 11, who is deaf, can read the words to the song Perfect that Way on paper. She can see them brought to life in the air through sign language.
She can feel them in her heart.
"It makes me feel special," Lindsey said last week through a sign language interpreter. "It means a lot to me."
The country song that Julie Durden of Atlantic Beach wrote about her niece Lindsey, of St. Augustine, is popular in Seattle and catching on with radio listeners in the Jacksonville area. About 300 fans came to hear Durden perform Saturday night at Kevin's Grille in Jacksonville Beach, when she sang the song and others on her new CD.
Durden, who is also a sign language teacher at Fletcher High School, describes her style as "alternative country" with modern pop overtones. Her roots are bluegrass; her songs tell a story.
She said she is thrilled that people like Lindsey's song, which is about deafness and its impact on families.
"The song is awesome," said disc jockey Ichabod Caine of KMPS (94.1 FM), a country music station in Seattle. "That CD could easily become a hit record."
"We get more requests for that song than most," said program director Roger Henderson of WCRJ (88.1 FM) in Jacksonville, whose station plays the song every three or four hours.
Al Brennan of WAOC (1420 AM) in St. Augustine, who interviewed Durden last week, compares her to folk singer Joan Baez.
"She's folksy," he said. He said he also admires Durden's "stick-to-it-ness," that she's never given up on her music career.
Durden, who grew up in Live Oak, has been singing and playing the guitar since she was 9 years old. She began writing songs at 12
She had four siblings but didn't get lost in the crowd of her large family. Her dad, Larry, recognized her passion early and supported her in every way he could. He was her first guitar teacher.
"He literally sat with me every night and practiced with me for hours," she said. He also worked and supported his kids in sports.
"He was a busy man," she said. "Still is."
The Durden family's lives were changed when Lindsey was born in November 1993 to Julie's sister, Lori Senea. They learned almost immediately that the baby, born by Caesarian section after a long and complicated life-threatening delivery, was deaf. Doctors ordered a hearing test when she was a day old.
"When they said 'no hearing,'" Lori Senea recalls, "I said, 'OK, what does that mean?'"
Faced with a variety of choices, Senea decided her daughter would grow up learning sign language. Even though no one in the family knew anyone who was deaf or knew any sign language.
Larry Durden and his wife, Jessie, made it a rule that everyone would learn. They said: "You will learn sign language and if Lindsey is around, you will sign everything you say," Julie Durden recalls. They didn't want the little girl to be left out of any conversations.
Larry and Jessie Durden they enrolled in American Sign Language courses at a nearby community college then taught the rest of the family and Lindsey.
Larry Durden read books to Lindsey every night. He walked her around the house and neighborhood, pointing to things and signing them.
At the time, Julie Durden was in college in Tallahassee. On breaks, she learned sign language from her parents. After graduation, she decided to pursue a music career and headed to Nashville.
She worked as a waitress and managed a retail store to make ends meet. But her songwriting suffered.
"I didn't get the inspiration I needed there," she said. She missed living in Florida; missed her family and the ocean. After two years, she moved to St. Augustine to be near Lori and Lindsey. The Seneas had divorced when Lindsey was a toddler and Lori was a single, working mother.
"As soon as I moved back here, I wrote like a mad woman. Songs were coming out left and right," said Durden, who took advanced sign language courses at the University of North Florida while she worked in a retail store. She grew closer to Lindsey and became proficient at signing.
Last year, she became a teacher at Fletcher, where she taught about 150 students.
It turned out to be a busier year than she expected. At a songwriters convention in February, she met a successful songwriter from Nashville named Tim Johnson. He invited her to write with him and since the two teamed up, Durden said, her music career has "boomed."
Durden started commuting between the Beaches and Nashville twice a month, driving the 11 hours each way on long weekends. She gained notice in Nashville and a publishing company picked up her expenses.
Durden and Johnson wrote the song about Lindsey in eight hours. Johnson's help was invaluable, Durden said.
"Tim Johnson didn't know about deafness, but he came up with perfect ideas."
During the writing process, she said, "I cried the entire time."
The song begins with Lindsey's birth.
She was born a little less than perfect
At least in that doctor's eyes
He said that she'll be different
Much more than he ever realized
Lindsey sings with her smile, the song says. She's "got a sign for the thunder and one for the wind and rain." She keeps people laughing and is the first to see their pain.
Henderson said when he first heard the song, it brought tears to his eyes. He said his station, which plays contemporary Christian music, doesn't usually play songs from local artists. Since the song's lyrics and production quality impressed him, the station decided to give it a try.
In Seattle, disc jockey Caine said the song has generated a lot of response.
"When I've played it, they've loved it," he said in a phone interview.
Caine learned of the song from Johnson, who he met during a luncheon. Since Caine's wife is also a sign language teacher, he likes the message. He plays the song, even though it doesn't carry a major record company label.
That might prevent the song from catching on nationally, Caine said. But he thinks it is good enough to have a chance.
"It's a powerfully minimal chance but I would love to see it happen," he said. "I'll do what I can."
Caine said deaf people are generally misunderstood and the song can help break down barriers.
Durden agrees. She said that's why she became a sign language teacher.
"I wanted to make as many hearing people aware of sign language as possible," she said. "It became a mission and very personal for Lindsey."
Durden said through her song, she strives to convey that disabilities are not necessarily "a bad thing. It can be a positive thing. The whole experience with Lindsey changed our whole family. It changed how we looked at the world. As a whole, we became more accepting of everyone."
Lindsey said she is glad that people are learning about her. Being deaf is no big deal, she said. "It's cool."
She'll be a sixth-grader this year at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. She loves animals, swimming and dancing.
She might want to be a veterinarian when she grows up. Or maybe a storm chaser. She's fascinated by tornados, lightning and hurricanes. She can feel thunder; it "rattles my ears."
Would she like to become famous through her song?
"Yes, I would love that," she said. "I want people to know me and who I am."
Julie’s acoustic and open-minded arrangement for shows include a mixture of her original songs(all originals for most venues)and covers by… Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Indigo Girls, Fuel, Tracy Chapman, John Mayer, Prince, a lot of good 80’s, beefed up country, and yes…Elvis. Julie Limits the covers to only a handful depending on the crowd and venue. She will play just about anything and put her own style into it, leaving everyone wanting more. She makes everyone feel comfortable and relaxed with her smooth voice and song selection. Julie is a fresh new face, and genre, and you will love having her play in your venue. She is pleasant, exciting, moving, and most of all…Ready to play.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.