Julia Easterlin
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Julia Easterlin

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Avant-garde


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"Julia Easterlin feature in Georgia Music Magazine"

To call singer/songwriter Julia Easterlin's response "excited" when asked what it's like to be selected for the eight-voice Grammy Jazz Ensemble the last two years in a row (which found her performing alongside jazz legends like Oscar Petersen, Jmes Moody, Kirk Whalum and Kurt Elling) would be understating the case. "That experience was totally surreal," she says, breathlessly. "It was one of the things that you can't really process while it's happenieng, and then you look back and say 'Oh my God! I did that!' " It's the first time in our conversation that the reality sinks in that she's still only 17.

The Augusta native's quick rise began two years ago, at 15, when she found ehrself working in the traveling studio known as the John Lennon Tour Bus. After a day of working as the frontwoman for a newly combined group, Julia was pulled aside by the recording engineer Jeff Sobel when her mother arrived. "Mortgage your house," was the emphatic advice he gave Laurie Easterlin. "We've never said this to anyone else, but do whatever you can do to get her out there."

Julia's parents began by signing a form allowing her to spend the following summer unchaperoned at Boston's Berklee College of Music, where she won the summer Singer/Songwriter Competition and was the only vocalist given a full scholarship to return the following summer. It was at Berklee that one of her instructors suggested she audition for the Gibson/Baldwin Grammy Jazz Ensemble, in which she earned the lead soprano position a young woman by the name of Norah Jones had been turned down for years before.

But according to Easterlin, that was hardly the only benefit of her Boston summers. "I think my experiences at Berklee indirectly affected m songwriting," she admits. "Meeting other extremely talented students and wanting to be musically compatible with them motivated me to develop my jazz piano and music theory skills on my owntime, which has definitely affected my songwriting... on the side of better, I hope."

As our conversation sontinues and she reveals musical influences ranging from her mother's classic rock and folk records to modern artists such as Alanis Morisette and Imogen Heap, it occcurs to me how unusual (and rereshing) it is to talk to a 17-year-old who references Crosby, Stills & Nash, Billie Holiday, Caetano Veloso and John Mayer, all in the same sentence. Which all begs the question, why is this otherwise thoroughly modern teen pursuing a genre often associated with old fogeys?

"Ha!" she laughs. "Jazz is old fogey music, but it's so complex and challenging. Understanding the idiom of jazz is like learning a new language - it takestime, effort and practice. I think the hardest thing about jazz is that you have to find a good balance between following the rules and breaking them. It's a metaphor for life. Maybe that's cheesy - no, it's definitely cheesy - but it's also true. That's why jazz is so compelling to me."

Easterlin's take on the genre is growing increasingly compelling to others. She recently won "Outstanding Jazz Vocalist Performance" in the HIgh School Performing Arts School category of jazz magazine Downbeat's 30th Annual Student Music Awards, and will soon attend Berklee on a full tuition merit scholarship valued at over $100,000. In the meantime, she'll be heading to Toronto in late July to record her third album, which she describes as quirky, jazz-influenced pop.

"Some artists don't like the recording studio," she acknowleges, "but I adore it. The writing process for this album has been diferent that the others. I'm taking more risks and taking more time. I'm accepting myself more as a musician, trusting my ears and throwing less out the window. It's totally amazing to create and expand and record it all for keeps." 'Totally amazing?' Yeah, the girl really is just 17. - BRETT LOVE

- Georgia Music Magazine

"Julia Easterlin Wins Downbeat Magazine Student Award"

Julia Easterlin, a senior at Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School in Augusta received a coveted Downbeat Magazine Award in Downbeat's 30th Annual Student Music Awards. The June issue of the magazine will hit newsstands this month and the award is considered one of the most prestigious in the jazz field. Keith Winking, director of the Southwest Texas Jazz Program describes the award as follows, "This award for a jazz student is the equivalent of an athlete being selected by Sports Illustrated as one of the outstanding collegiate athletes." Julia won "Outstanding Jazz Vocalist Performance" in the High School Performing Arts School category.

Julia will attend Berklee College of Music in Boston in the fall, accepting a full tuition merit scholarship valued at over $100,000. Julia's other honors this year include being noted as one of the country's best pop vocalists by the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts Student Competition and also receiving a merit scholarship from the prestigious New England Conservatory. Julia also returned to the Grammys for the second year as the lead soprano with the Gibson/Baldwin Grammy Jazz Ensemble, performing with jazz greats such as James Moody, Phil Woods and Roberta Gambarini.

Julia will spend the summer working on her third album which will be recorded in Toronto in late July. Julia's current albums are available at Borders and on cdbaby.com/juliaeasterlin. - Metro Spirit

"Grammy Calls"

Grammy calls
Augusta’s Julia Easterlin has been invited to perform with the prestigious Gibson/ Baldwin Grammy Jazz Ensemble — for the second time.
On the Grammy Web site’s press release, Foundation and Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said, “The Gibson/Baldwin Grammy Jazz Ensemble provides the kind of once-in-a-lifetime adventure for young artists that can be transformative.”
The soprano from John S. Davidson Fine Arts School has a talent that apparently warrants double-dipping. “It is my second time. But, honestly, it’s not common for people to be re-invited,” Easterlin said with a noticeable humbleness. “It has happened before. I am not the first.”
Easterlin is once again part of a select group of 29 gifted students who represent a small, rich sample of the future of American musical arts. The Grammy Jazz Ensemble will have a chance to perform with established musicians throughout the week prior to the Grammys, and attend the ceremony as well.
The savvy Easterlin, who speaks in an almost singsong delivery, is no flighty musician. She is very aware of how important being part of the coveted ensemble is to her musical future. Easterlin said, “Last year, I was really nervous. This time I am ready. I am going to take advantage of it this year.”
Attending the Grammys is the finale of an event-filled week. Easterlin enthused like any teenager, “We get to walk down the red carpet — even though no one knows who we are! We get a behind-the-scenes tour. I dress myself, though. No stylists. It is to be prom style, very formal. We attend the ceremony. And there’s a pre-broadcast thing we get to go to.” She admits she wants to get up the nerve to speak to John Mayer.
As part of the jazz ensemble, Easterlin also becomes eligible for more than $2 million in college scholarships.
“There’s a college day where different schools meet you. You still have to go through the whole normal process for nearly all of the schools. And you have to audition for any kind of scholarship. But [being a part of the ensemble] does give us a little bit of an edge. The New School in New York will automatically admit you if you are a part of the ensemble,” she said.
Easterlin admitted she’s weighing her options carefully. “I am thinking of going to school somewhere in the Northeast. Julliard doesn’t have a vocal jazz program. So probably not there. Probably Boston — Berklee. I spent two summers there.”
Even with the prestigious inclusion to the ensemble, Easterlin is not looking for any short cuts. Her wish is “to spend two to three years in an intensive music program,” sharpening her skills to become a background vocalist and try touring with a big name.
Last year, the “newbie” attendee parlayed the week into a lasting and tangible high note. Easterlin met 17-year-old jazz piano prodigy Yuma Sung, who was also in the ensemble. A musical friendship ensued. Easterlin said, “We wanted to do something creative together. He flew out to Georgia last summer for a week and we made an album called, ‘Why Can’t You Behave.’ You can get it at Borders in local music or at CDBaby.com.”
That CD was ultimately a direct result of Easterlin’s one week in the right setting, when she was still “nervous.” This year, ready for it all, the young lady will probably meet one of her-heroes like Alanis Morissette or Beyoncé and be invited to sing on their album. She is that talented.

- Metro Spirit

"Students Chosen from Across the U.S. by the GRAMMY Foundation to Participate in the Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Ensembles Program"

Twenty-nine talented high school students have been selected for a position in the Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Ensembles(tm), it was announced today by the GRAMMY Foundation®. Their selection will launch them into the spotlight surrounding the 48th Annual GRAMMY® Awards, as well as provide the opportunity to rehearse and perform in front of some of music's biggest names. Gibson Guitar and Baldwin Piano have partnered with The GRAMMY Foundation to provide students an extraordinary musical experience.

"The Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Ensembles program continues to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience to talented high school singers and instrumentalists," said GRAMMY Foundation and Recording Academy® President Neil Portnow. "This outstanding opportunity to meet and play with peer musicians from across the country brings together future music makers who also receive a chance to perform with GRAMMY-nominated artists and participate in many GRAMMY Week events. These extraordinary young musicians are able to experience the power and possibility of music first-hand."

This year, Gibson Guitar and Baldwin Piano again have teamed up with the GRAMMY Foundation to sponsor the 2006 Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Ensembles. The International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) provides the outreach to the music education community.

"Gibson Guitar and Baldwin Piano are committed to music education and the rewards music can offer a student throughout his or her life," said Henry Juskiewicz, Chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar and Baldwin Piano. "The Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Ensemble program gives these talented young musicians a chance to perform with some of the world's greatest musicians and team up with remarkable people from the GRAMMY Foundation."

The students, who represent 27 cities, 17 states, will travel to Los Angeles for a weeklong musical adventure under the direction of Justin DiCioccio of the Manhattan School of Music and Dr. Ron McCurdy of the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. The Ensembles will then perform at various GRAMMY Week Events including: Salute To Jazz (Feb. 3) and the GRAMMY Foundation's Preservation event (Feb. 4), as well as the WAVE Smooth Jazz Brunch at Spaghettini Italian Grill & Jazz Club (Feb. 5), the Vic (Feb. 6) and recording sessions at Capitol Recording Studios, courtesy of EMI Music. As a grand finale, they will perform at the GRAMMY Pre-Telecast and Post-Telecast Celebration ceremonies, as well as attend the 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 8 as guests of The Recording Academy.

The selectees to the Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Ensembles are eligible for more than $2 million in college scholarships. This is made possible thru the GRAMMY Foundation's college partners: Berklee College of Music, USC Thornton School of Music, New School University, and Manhattan School of Music. As a result of their participation in the Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Ensembles every program applicant and their high school will receive music product from MakeMusic!, including subscriptions to SmartMusicâ, the complete music practice system by MakeMusic!. Additionally, the school of each selectee will receive a professional cymbal courtesy of the Zildjian Company.

Gibson is known worldwide for producing classic models in every major style of fretted instrument, including acoustic and electric guitars, mandolins and banjos. Gibson's digital guitar represents the biggest advance in electric guitar design in over 70 years. Founded in 1894 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and headquartered in Nashville since 1984, Gibson Guitar Corp.'s family of brands now includes Epiphone, Dobro, Valley Arts, Kramer, Steinberger, Tobias, Slingerland, Maestro, Baldwin and Wurlitzer. Visit Gibson's Web site at www.gibson.com.

The mission of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) is to assure the continued worldwide growth and development of jazz and jazz education. As a part of that mission, the Association initiates programs which nurture and promote the understanding and appreciation of jazz and its heritage, provides leadership to educators regarding curricula and performance, assists teachers and practitioners with information and resources, and takes an active part in organizing clinics, festivals and symposia at local, regional, national and international levels. Presently, active memberships total upwards of 7,000 teachers, musicians, students, music industry representatives, and enthusiasts in 35 countries.

The GRAMMY Foundation was established in 1989 to cultivate the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contribution of recorded music on American culture - from the artistic and technical legends of the past to the still unimagined musical breakthroughs of future generations of music professionals. The Foundation accomplishes this mission through programs and activities that engage the music industry and cultural community as well as the general public. The Foundation works in partnership year-round with The Recording Academy to bring national attention to important issues such as the value and impact of music and arts education and the urgency of preserving our rich cultural heritage. For more information, please visit www.grammyintheschools.com.

Selectees to the 2006 Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Ensembles, are listed by each student's name, hometown, school, and instrument or voice:

2006 Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Choir

Julia Easterlin, Augusta, GA Davidson Fine Arts Academy Soprano
Morgan Mallory, Frankfurt, IL Lincoln-Way East HS Soprano
Nadia Washington, Dallas, TX Booker T. Washington HSPVA Alto
Katie Thiroux, Chatsworth, CA Hamilton HS Academy of Music Alto
Pratik Dash, Franklin, TN Franklin HS Tenor
Charles Turner, Carson, CA Hamilton HS Academy of Music Tenor
Quentin Bethea, Charlotte, NC Northwest School of the Arts Bass
Harry McNamara, Englewood, CO Cherry Creek HS Bass

2006 Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Combo

Yuma Sung, Berkeley, CA Valley Christian HS Piano
Billy Norris, Seminole, FL Seminole HS Bass
Cory Cox, Houston, TX MacArthur HS Drums

2006 Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Band

Alex Han, Scottsdale, AZ Pinnacle HS Alto Sax
John Strasahl, Seattle, WA Roosevelt HS Alto Sax
Eli Bennett, Vancouver, B.C. Home Schooled Tenor Sax
Matt Chiasson, New York, NY Fiorello H. LaGuardia HS Tenor Sax
Michael Sherman, Miami Beach, FL New World School of the Arts Baritone Sax
Dylan Smith, Edmonds, WA Edmonds-Woodway HS Trumpet
Billy Buss, Berkeley, CA Berkeley HS Trumpet
Kyle Athayde, Orinda, CA Acalanes HS Trumpet
Aaron Kleinstub, Chagrin Falls, OH Kenston HS Trumpet
Greg Diaz, Whittier, CA L.A. Co. HS for the Arts Trumpet
Tim Craig, Rochester, NY Gates Chili HS Trombone
Rustom Jehangir, Downers Grove, IL Community HS Dist. 99 North Trombone
Stephanie Baird, Beaverton, OR Pacific Crest Community Sch. Trombone
Todd Eames, Seattle, WA Roosevelt HS Trombone
David Rosenthal, Longmeadow, MA Longmeadow HS Guitar
Sylvester Sands, Orange, CT Amity Senior HS Piano
Jeff Picker, Beaverton, OR Arts & Communications Academy Bass
Alexander Bailey, Kansas City, KS Sumner Academy of Arts & Sciences Drums - Modern Guitars


Full Length:
Calling Out - 2006
Why Can't You Behave? - 2007

La La La - 2008
4.6.1. - 2010



Venues played

Joe’s Public Theater – New York, NY
The Bitter End - New York, NY
Casa de Teatro Jazz Festival – Santo Domingo, Dom. Republic
Henry Fonda Music Box Theater – Los Angeles, CA
Wilshire Ebel Theater – Los Angeles, CA
The Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA
The Vic – Los Angeles, CA
Club Passim – Boston, MA
Berklee Performance Center – Boston, MA
Café 939 – Boston, MA
Uncommon Ground – Chicago, IL

Accolades & Awards

2009 New York Songwriters Circle Songwriting Competition - Winner - 2nd Place

2008 National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts – Winner - Jazz Voice

2007 Downbeat Magazine - Outstanding Performance by a Vocalist, H.S. Div.

2007 Georgia Music Magazine -Young Artist Feature

2006, 2007 Lead Soprano Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Ensembles

2007 Berklee College of Music Full Tuition Merit Scholarship Recipient

2007 National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA) – Finalist – Pop Voice

2005, 2006 Berklee College of Music Summer Singer/Songwriter Competition Winner


Julia Easterlin - Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Looper Pedal, Tupperware, Hand Claps

Read more: http://www.myspace.com/juliaeasterlin