Julia McDougall
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Julia McDougall

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada | SELF

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada | SELF
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter

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"Daytrotter"

Julia McDougall's latest EP, "I Don't Really Care," is a work that's mostly misleading. The Canadian songwriter is just being facetious with many of the matters that are most important to her. It's always better not to care about the hard to hold, tough to wrangle stuff because then it's so much easier to dismiss away when it's all in the dumps and struggling mightily to get out of them. It's always so much easier to pretend that you're not supposed to be worried or concerned about the important stuff. It can be amusing and very comforting to just convince oneself that you're just too damned young to be worried about such things. You've got your whole life to live and it's foolish to think that time's ever going to be an enemy.

McDougall has written a batch of songs that are tied together by an overriding thought that there's a lot to look forward to and it's all going to be had - someday. This includes a garden. It includes revenge and it includes a peace of mind that's nowhere to be found currently. It could just be that revenge and peace of mind do not consult with the younger of us. We hold them more closely as we get up there in years, when we care about how we've led our lives and not just what we've gotten ourselves into today, or this week. The hours that we lay waste to as someone with big eyes can be gathered back up later on, down the road, when forgiveness, hurt and laughter can once again be bedfellows.

These characters dream of the day when they'll have that garden full of flowers, a house full of babies to console after nightmares and a husband that will make their sisters cry because he's just so damned great. These characters have their sights set on that nebulous future that is all things and nothing and maybe that's where the aloofness could rear its head. When you're staring into a wildness of everything and nothing, how can you stop yourself from just glazing right over? It's all out there for the pickin', but it's all a lot of work to harvest it, so we prolong the harvest. The garden will lay idle, with the flowers "hanging their pale heads low." Someday will be here someday. Whatever. - Daytrotter


"The Peak SFU"

Ive got a confession to make: being an avid music enthusiast I dont often find the music of singer/songwriter types to be particularly exciting. Dont get me wrong, I think most of them make decent stuff and are fairly talented. Its just that whenever I come across a singer/songwriter musician, he is usually a male and Ive always found it difficult relating to songs of that stereotypical crooner-esque vibe. Just like Nicholas Sparks novels (which are riddled with stomach turning boy-meets-girl clichs like chewy caramel candies that start off enjoyable but rot your teeth and eventually render you screaming in agony from bad cavities), artists who over-do the sensitive and vulnerable boy-next-door department get pretty damn trite and irritating after a while. After all these years of searching for that special solo artist, Im left malnourished and toothless but just as Im about to give up, my last ounce of optimism itching to restore faith led me to Julia McDougall and Her Piano.

Born and raised in southern Saskatchewan, Julia is currently studying at SFU as a music major and English minor student. As a university attendee, Julia leads a fairly conventional life going to classes, writing exams, and dreaming about perhaps one day graduating to pursue what she truly loves: music. The young artist started writing songs when she was a teenager, but, endowed with natural talent, Julia began her relationship with music with her training as a classical pianist at age six. When she was 15 she started playing live at local venues and touring western Canada.

Through the years, Julias relationship with music developed naturally as she grew older. Slowly, she found classical music to be less inspiring so she started composing her own material more suited to her taste. I played classical piano growing up and I still take lessons today, but I dont think I was made for classic piano, McDougall told The Peak. Its super limiting and strict and theres all these rules and they are very good rules that make you a really good musician but at the same time, Im just not like that. Im pretty messy and sloppy. I make mistakes all the time . . . thats more just who I am.

Julias journey as an aspiring musician hasnt been a breezy one. The young artist informed me that, having moved to Vancouver four years ago, she finds that the local music scene tends to be extremely hard to break into and unresponsive especially for a solo female artist. Julia tells me that she often feels under-appreciated and over-looked because of her sex. Growing up listening to Alanis Morissette and continuing to be inspired by female singer/songwriters such as Regina Spektor and Cat Power, she said that even though shes often confronted by obstacles that may deflate hers spirit, shes always able to look to female artist for empowerment and support. I feel like I grew up in the generation of female empowerment in terms of music, she said. There were all these albums that I grew up with, with really empowered women that are totally independent and not reliant on being successful based on the other people they are working with . . . [even though] I feel like I missed the boat, growing up in that period rather than being in it, I feel like they inspired me to just do my own thing and write my own music.

Julias music is simultaneously powerful and vulnerable, contemplative and carefree, honest and mysterious. The singer songwriter expresses her music by embodying contrasting elements of soft and hard. Pairing sultry, contralto-range vocals with smooth and lively piano progressions, her songs of her life and experiences are fantastically cerebral and poetic. Julias latest album, Who Is This, is an absolute auditory treat that tells colourful stories filled with captivating imageries and vivacious metaphors. The songs on the album take inspirations from many genres, ranging from jazz and blues to spoken word and rock and roll. If one were to listen to the album strictly from a - The Peak SFU


"The Prairie Dog"

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Five Musicians and a Writer
The pros and cons of being a musician in Regina
by James Brotheridge
Every musician has a different strategy for building an audience. Melanie Hankewich and Jeffery Straker started out doing house shows and relied on word of mouth to create awareness of their talent.

Kleins96, the Queen City punk band Andrew Love is a part of, worked hard to establish a network of like-minded bands, releasing split seven inches and playing group shows to reach a wide range of fans.

When I ask prairie dog’s local musician roundtable, which also includes Julia MacDougall and Marshall Burns what it is about Regina that helps them build momentum, the response is immediate.

“This place,” says Hankewich.

“Yeah, places like this,” Straker agrees.

The six of us are sitting inside Artesian on 13th. Located in the Cathedral Village district, it’s one of the newer venues in town, and it’s a place Hankewich knows well.

“I’ve played here since it opened and this is the recurring place that I come to,” she says. “They’re always really attentive. And there’s a real culture that they’ve built here with the type of shows that they’ve put on that dovetails with my band in particular. It really helps me build my audience.

“Places like this have [given] audiences more places to try,” she observes. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard ‘You’re playing at the Cultural Exchange? What is that? I thought that was where multicultural people went to meet.’ People need to be educated about the possibilities of places they can experience live music in Regina, and I think the more places there are, to a certain extent, the better.”

At present, the real story of the local music scene seems to be less about who’s playing than where they are playing. Venues like the Exchange and O’Hanlon’s continue to host a lot of good shows, as they’ve done for years. But over past while we’ve seen some newcomers enter the field, like Creative City Centre, Artesian on 13th and the Artful Dodger — which should be up and running shortly.

“For me, it’s been the Exchange, where you can drink and have children there at the same time. That’s super important,” says Love.

“It’s really unique,” says Straker.

“For us, the hard part isn’t getting adults out to the shows,” says Love. “We’ll play the Gaslight and we’ll be fine, or we’ll play the Distrikt and be fine. It’s getting a younger crowd out and having a venue where you can do that like the Exchange.”

In addition to where they play, artists also put a lot of thought into who they play with. If you want to build an audience, you have to put yourself in front people who will like your music.

“We’ve played shows opening for some death metal band or some shit,” says Love. “And people fucking hated us.”

“Those are the great gigs,” says Straker.

“You’ve done a lot of death metal gigs?” I ask him.

“Oh, just opening for the wrong person. It’s awful.”

“Totally,” says Love. “And it humbles you, because I want to rock their fucking faces off. Well, [I would], if they’d stay inside the venue and listen. But they don’t.”

“I always used to open for hardcore bands growing up, because Regina had such a huge hardcore scene,” says MacDougall. “It was always like ‘Hi! I’m going to play the piano for you!’”

“It still happens,” says Love. “The other day at the Exchange they had an acoustic act opening and then a pop-punk band and then a hardcore band. It was almost irritating to see the whole thing. It was a [mess].”

“There’s something to be said for cross-genre, opening yourselves up to different audiences. You just have to have a strategy about it,” says Burns.

He thinks there’s lots of possibilities for that kind of thing in Regina. “It’s a smaller city, so it’s a smaller scene, obviously, but that leads to cross-genre collaborations. I’m thinking of the Band Swap that happened over - The Prairie Dog


"We Are Local"

Next is Saskatchewan singer/songwriter Julia McDougall whose new EP I Don’t Really Care will be released on November 20. The lovely title track is accompanied by an equally lovely video filmed on her family’s farm in Fort Qu’appelle, Saskatchewan. Click here for upcoming tour dates. - We Are Local


"Prairie Dog Magazine"

The headline is misleading, If you go see Julia McDougall, beloved transplant to the Regina music scene, she’ll still be doing playing from behind a piano. What has changed, though, is her performing name. No more will her act be known as Julia and Her Piano. Instead, she’s going simply as Julia McDougall these days.

She’s been performing as Julia and Her Piano for a while now, even before the release of her 2009 full-length Who Is This. But her new EP, I Don’t Really Care, marks her transition into a new part of her musical career. With a full-length on the way and a recently-recorded Daytrotter session behind her, dropping the goofy if charming name made sense.

“It’s something from when I was so young but I never switched it because that’s how people had gotten to know me and it’s hard to switch over,” says McDougall. “But I had to make the transition, because I actually had someone come tell me this summer when I played at the Gateway Festival in Bengough.

“‘We weren’t sure if we should come see you. We imagined Julia and her Piano being a grandma.’

“That’s the last straw. That’s a sign I need to change the name.”

So keep it in mind: from now on, it’s Julia McDougall, not Julia and Her Piano.

Julia will be playing tonight, November 11 at the Artful Dodger, along with Evening Hymns and Andy Shauf, who’s headlining in support of his new album, The Bearer of Bad News.
- Prairie Dog Magazine


"City Slicker Magazine"

Formerly performing under the moniker Julia & her Piano, Julia McDougall is ready to take the stage under her own name in a move that shows maturity as a performer and her music.

A product of small-town Saskatchewan, Julia has been a not-so-secret treasure to local music fans for the past few years and is set to embark on a string of shows in Western Canada to promote her new EP "I Don't Really Care."

Produced by good friend, and fellow savant, Andy Shauf, "I Don't Really Care" is a sampling of the songs written by McDougall for her upcoming album expected out in early 2013.

Watch the video below and you can catch her live at The Artful Dodger on Sunday November 11th. - City Slicker Magazine


"The Carillon"

Previously, under the name of Julia And Her Piano, Julia McDougall has dropped the moniker for her latest release, the I Don't Really Care EP, and it's very fitting that piano no longer shares equal billing with Julia; the piano is only prominent on the final track "Someday". Instead, Julia's sweeping string arrangements and clear, delicate voice singing about finding purpose and direction in life take centre stage. Particularly beautiful is the title track with its simple mantra that encapsulates what many young adults find themselves feeling.

While the 12 minutes of music in this EP stand wonderfully in their collection together or mixed in a playlist with your favourite indie songstresses, I hope this EP is more of a musical promise from Julia of a career that will continue to showcase her incredible, elegant arrangements and impassioned vocals.

Jon Neher
Contributor - The Carillon


"Omniocity"

Julia McDougall, a Regina-based musician, is launching her latest release, a four-song EP entitled I Don’t Really Care. The songwriter is currently on tour to support the EP, and will be playing tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 10, at Vangelis.



While most fans likely remember her playing under the moniker Julia and Her Piano, McDougall is now using her full name to better represent her sound – the piano only makes an appearance on one song on the EP, she says.

“I’m not a band and I didn’t want to make a trendy name that wouldn’t be cool three weeks from now,” says McDougall.

To record the EP, McDougall worked with Regina-native Andy Shauf, who similarly recently released a new album. (And similarly shredded last night at Vangelis.)

“We worked closely on the EP and collaborated on it,” says McDougall. “For the string arrangements I had a clear idea of what we wanted and we notated them on and worked off of each other’s ideas, and decided what sounded best together.”

The EP presents a logically evolved sound for McDougall, who sounds like she is almost on the cusp of adulthood. The guitar hooks take a backseat to the strings, which soar amongst her vocals – on “Married” McDougall croons about her future domesticity with a clear earnestness.

Setting up shop in a church in the ghost town of Bromhead, Sask., McDougall says that the sparse setting, along with Shauf’s collaborations, allowed her to produce the listlessness and spaciousness of the EP.

“The tracking in the ghost town was only used for one of the songs on the EP, but a lot of the tracking will be going towards the full-length,” says McDougall, noting that quite a few people have become enamoured with the locale she chose to record in.

“My mom is a Lutheran pastor and it was her old church. I grew up in a town like this and it becomes an empty, dilapidated space. But the town was peaceful, with lots of birds chirping. Plus the local farmer would always come chat with us and tell us how his harvest was going,” says McDougall with a laugh.

While she remains mum on any details surrounding the full-length album, McDougall says it should be out in the spring or summer of 2013. - Omniocity


"Exclaim"

By Alex Hudson
Having recently graduated from BC's Simon Fraser University with a degree in composition, Canuck songwriter Julia McDougall has returned home to Saskatchewan and is preparing to release an EP in advance of her new album. The EP is called I Don't Really Care, and it will be out on November 20.

The EP and the subsequent full-length were produced by fellow Saskatchewan resident Andy Shauf, with the bulk of the tracking taking place in a church in the ghost town of Bromhead, SK.

Scroll to the bottom of the page to watch a video for "I Don't Really Care." This folksy, dramatically string-drenched clip was shot at McDougall's family farm in Fort Qu'Appelle, SK, and it includes some gorgeous time-lapse shots.

McDougall will be promoting the EP with a few shows across the Prairies. Scroll past the tracklist to see the schedule below and look for McDougall's full-length to drop in early 2013.

I Don't Really Care:

1. I Don't Really Care
2. Married
3. When The Birds Come Out
4. Someday

Tour dates:

11/9 Edmonton, AB - The Elevation Room
11/10 Saskatoon, SK - Vangelli's
11/11 Regina, SK - The Artful Dodger
11/15 Camrose, AB - Scalliwags
11/16 Lloyminster, AB - The Roots Community Emporium
11/24 Winnipeg, MB - TBA - Exclaim.ca


"A Rundown of this week's Soundclouder of the day!"

Julia and Her Piano
Currently based in Vancouver, Canada, but born-and-raised in the prairies, Julia McDougall is ready to swoon you with her piano and voice. Check out her latest album, Who is this, streaming below and click through to her page for more!
- SoundCloud


"The NXNE Personals: The Russian Futurists, The Warped 45s, Hotcha!, Smile Smile and more"

JULIA AND HER PIANO
Solo female artist with whimsy and wit seeks an audience for her show on June 16th at midnight at Czehoski’s. You: a human being who loves jazz-influenced piano and female vocals that will win your heart over so fast you won’t even know what hit you. She: A combination of soul, jazz, blues, indie and pop delivered to you in a whirl of sultry vocals and timeless piano melodies. Wilder than the prairie landscape she was raised on, she is sure to leave you with a night you’ll never forget. - The National Post


"Small Town Girl Makes Big Sound"

Julia McDougall performs at Café Montmartre on November 12 in Vancouver.

SFU’s own Julia McDougall played a set at the Highland pub last Tuesday, to a crowd of barely legal emokids, burgeoning hipsters, and sensitive poetry-types.

The opening act, who introduced herself simply as “Vanessa” played a set of melancholy songs about romance gone wrong, and for a while, I was fearful that Julia’s set would be much of the same fair. I was pleasantly surprised.

My first clue was her oddly clashing attire — Julia climbed onto stage wearing an outfit of loud oranges overtop of murky grey-green. The outfit seemed to say, “I’m grounded, and serious, but also fun and totally frickin’ crazy.” I hoped that her music would suggest the same things and I wasn’t disappointed.

What I hadn’t expected was Julia’s super-relaxed, charming, and entertaining stage presence. The keyboard Julia rented for the show turned out to be sadly devoid of a proper piano preset, but instead of get ting pissed off or nervous, she made cracks about the piano being made in the ‘80s, and ad-libbed new lyrics to become science-fiction themed in order to fit the cheesy synth-sound of the keyboard.

What made the set so engaging was not the music, which was great as Julia is a strong songwriter, a talented singer, and expert piano player. The best part of the show was Julia’s interaction with the audience; she immediately established a rapport with her listeners, and kept it up the whole time. At one point, she got the whole room to join into an extended version of The Beatles’ “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road.”

When asked what makes her so confident on stage, she responded easily, “I think it’s just practice. I’m pretty comfortable because I’ve been doing it for years now. My mom always said that people who grow up on the prairies have a good sense of identity. As lame as that sounds, I have a good sense of who I am and I’m not afraid to just say what I’m thinking, or be myself.”

Julia’s songs range from playful humour (which may or may not contain lyrics about Julia smoking crack with Dr. Dre) to deep and soulful pieces that made me think of Fiona Apple, or Devendra Banhart — young artists that draw influence from the ‘50s and ‘60s. However, her influences proved much more diverse than I thought.

“I’m pretty influenced by solo female artists — Tori Amos, Regina Specter, Tracy Chapman, Joni Mitchell. One of my biggest influences was Simon and Garfunkel. I grew up with them. [For Simon and Garfunkel,] I guess it’s not the music as much as the lyrics [that’re the focus].”

By the end of the show, the audience was eating out of her hand. Julia played for about an hour, but I think she could have played for another hour without having anyone leave. Julia’s songs were diverse, so we never got the same sound twice, but they were quite catchy too, so they were easy to enjoy without having listened to them prior. It was about more than just the songs — with her stage banter, and insistence on audience participation, Julia made the show just plain fun.

The performance was a real treat. I don’t often think of SFU as a school that is particularly well known for its School for Contemporary Arts, but artists like Julia show that perhaps it deserves a little bit more praise. If Julia’s opinion of the program is at all archetypical, then it’s certainly well liked by its students.

“It’s good — I love it. It’s really good. The music program is great, it’s contemporary and experimental and free and open. It’s good for students who need room to breathe when they are doing creative things. That’s why I love it.”

For Julia it is more than just a field of study, it’s a cathartic experience. “[Music is] a way for me to express what I am feeling or thinking and the good thing is when [a message is] in the format of music, people don’t realize it’s about them, or if they do they can’t really say anything about it because it’s awkward and they just pass it off as just being a song I wrote.” - The Peak By: Brady Ehler, Associate Staff Contributor


Discography

I Don't Really Care (2012)
Who Is This (2009)
Julia and her Piano -Live- (2007)
Flight (2005)
Make My Heart Thump (2004)

Photos

Bio

Julia McDougall is a songwriter who has been hauling her piano out on the road since the age of 15. Born in the prairies, McDougall relocated to Vancouver and completed a degree in Composition at Simon Fraser University. In early 2012, McDougall returned to Saskatchewan to focus her
energy on her passion, her songs. With great success, McDougall is pleased to announce the release of I Don’t Really Care. The four song EP was released on Nov. 20th, 2012.

The EP was produced by fellow Saskatchewan musician Andy Shauf and features guest appearances by members of the Regina Symphony Orchestra. Locked away in an old church in the ghost town of Bromhead, SK the two recorded the EP, which will precede a full-length album to be released in early 2013. She also recently recorded a Daytrotter
Session.

The video for the first single, “I Don’t Really Care” was made by Vancouver based director, David Shortt of Shortt & Epic Productions. The video was filmed on a stretch of farmland in Lebret, Saskatchewan that belongs to McDougall’s uncle. The video follows suit with the powerful images the production house is known for, such as “This Is Not An Enbridge Animation”and photographs featured by National Geographic.