julie feeney

julie feeney

BandAlternativeAcoustic

www.myspace.com/juliefeneey

Biography

JULIE FEENEY - Biography

"My mother once gave me a little card for my birthday, listing all my best qualities," Julie Feeney says. "One of the things she wrote was:
'She always crosses the finishing line'."

When it comes to achieving her life goals, Julie Feeney, the composer and singer from Galway can certainly boast an impressive strike rate. She has three Masters degrees, including one in psychoanalysis, plays ten instruments and has been a professional singer for the National Chamber Choir in Ireland for five years. As a composer she has produced music for 2 short films and contemporary dance productions and has lectured in music education. She has worked as a model, and as a "movement actor" in the world of contemporary dance. She loves watersports.

But the achievement which she holds dear above all others is her single-handed success in composing, producing and marketing her own debut album, 13 songs, which won the Choice Music Prize (Ireland's equivalent of the Mercury Music Prize), and has already sold 6,000 copies in Ireland.

There have been a lot of self-help stories in recent times. But Julie really did do the whole job herself. She had no manager, no PR, no agents or shadowy figures in the background discreetly helping to plan her next move. From the very first jotting down of ideas in her "thought copy" (exercise book) for the lyrics and music, right through to the eventual sending out of the finished CDs to reviewers and radio stations, Julie micro-managed the entire project on her own. She composed, arranged, produced and sang all thirteen songs and played most of the instruments on the album herself. She designed the cover art-work. And she financed the recording and manufacturing costs by a succession of bank loans, eventually setting up her own record label - mittens - named after her mother's favourite cat.

"I didn't employ a PR company," Julie says. "It was very simple, just putting the CDs into envelopes with a handwritten letter and sending them to everybody. One of them reached a journalist at The New York Times. He opened it, liked it and reviewed it. Other reviews started to come out, in much the same way, which was really nice. Then it won the Choice Music Prize, which was quite amazing."

Listening to 13 songs, it is not surprising that reactions have been so overwhelmingly positive. Julie's classical training combines with her traditional Irish music heritage and an openness to all areas of the arts, to produce music that is touched by a singular magic. Artists such as Bjork, Stina Nordenstam and Laurie Anderson provide signposts in the general direction of her creative ambitions. But nothing can really describe the heady mixture of sounds on the album, a combination of the ethereal and the eccentric, the strictly cerebral and the deeply emotional.

"I'm passionate about music," Julie says. "Every day I eat, breathe and sleep music. There is no existence for me without it. That's my drug."

Studying from a very young age at Trinity College, Dublin and at The Royal Conservatory at The Hague among others, she earned three Masters Degrees, including one in Music Technology. "I went a bit nuts on the degrees and stuff," she says. "I was just on a roll, really. You have to do a thesis to get a Masters, which is 20,000 words or whatever it is. You can actually do that in quite a short time if you have the right headspace for it. When you are in that sparky place with a particular thing, that is the time to follow it."

She became a professional choral singer in the National Chamber Choir of Ireland, a job she only gave up last March. She also composed her own songs, which she would perform in bars and clubs with a conventional line-up of guitar, bass and drums. But she suffered initially from an identity problem. "The people in places like Whelan's thought I was some kind of opera singer. And my classical-head friends thought I was one of those singer-songwriters. Not correct either way. It was difficult to find a niche." Her eureka moment came when she realised that what her songs really needed were instrumentation and arrangements that drew inspiration from her classical background rather than tried to conceal it. She began arranging the songs for keyboards, violin, recorder, melodica, cello, trumpet and occasional percussion. No guitar or bass required. "From that point on I didn't feel in any way insecure about what people heard. People realised that I am someone a bit different, and it's fine."

Julie is currently composing a 30 minute song-cycle for a large orchestra performance next year, the title of which has yet to be announced. Meanwhile, she is excited at the prospect of continuing to play her songs live, another key element in her artistic portfolio. Accompanied by three classically trained musicians who all play several instruments, her performance guarantees rapt attention from even the rowdiest of crowds.

Having now signed a deal for the

Discography

"...This album marks the blossoming of a major talent." Observer
"... a charming, urbane and dreamy record" New York Times
**** The Guardian
***** Evening Standard
**** The Daily Mail
**** The Sun
**** The Irish Times
*** The Times
9/10 Hot Press
'13 songs' is now on general release in the U.K. and is also available on www.juliefeeney.com where some reviews and features can also be seen. Julie's U.K. tour-dates have been rescheduled. All new dates will be posted here.
She orchestrated her album '13 songs' for the Ulster Orchestra at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast on the 3rd of May. See here for a video link to one of the songs http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/atl/atl_orchestral.shtml The concert was broadcast live on BBC Radio Ulster. She sang solo with the orchestra and the concert included a new song and and instrumental piece that she composed.
She did a show in March in Covent Garden in London, and performed on Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4. She also performed a live session on BBC Radio 6 with Tom Robinson.
She performed at the Eurosonic festival recently in the beautiful Grand Theatre in Groningen, Holland. A video directed Maria Mochnacz for the song"Aching" will be posted here soon and is already on www.juliefeeney.com
Her contemporary classical composition for the 'Crash Ensemble' in which she also performed, was recently premiered in Dublin. The following week, as part of 'Blue of the Night', a concert of '13 songs' was broadcast live on Lyric FM from the Sugar Club in Dublin . She received a 5 star review in the Evening Standard in London for her live show at The Troubadour. She was No.1 Critics Choice that week for her mini-tour of London, and in Time Out magazine she also received an excellent album review. See the press page of www.juliefeeney.com to view some reviews and features. As well as the Troubadour she played at the Cobden Club, (Hitsheet showcase), the Ginglik, The Luminaire and the Spitz. She won the Irish Tatler 'Woman of the Year Music and Entertainment Award' in 2006, and has managed to pay back all of the money she borrowed to make the album and first video!
Enjoy 'Fictitious Richard', the video which she made in 2005 before she won the Choice Music Prize, featuring her favourite car ever, the beetle. On her new website see Julie's art-work which is taken from her album sleeve.
Julie is a composer and singer from Galway in Ireland. Her debut album '13 songs' was awarded the Choice Music Prize - Irish Album of the Year in Ireland in February as selected by 12 critics representing the cream of Irish broadcasters and journalists. She plays nine instruments and sings all of the vocals on the album. It was self-composed, self-produced and self-funded. She has already supported Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, Josh Ritter and Architecture In Helsinki among others.
She has her own label, mittens, through which the album is now licensed and released in the U.K. through Sony BMG (U.K.) imprint Red Ink. Mittens (who is actually deceased) is her mother's favourite cat. She subsequently took her name for her own label even though mittens died before she was born. So mittens is now the home for '13 songs' See mittens.ie
Graduating from Trinity College, Dublin in 2002, she worked as a professional choral singer and composer. She has performed and recorded all over the world with various ensembles on numerous cds, dvds and broadcasts, and her own concert compositions have been performed in Ireland, and the U.K. She has composed music for contemporary dance productions and also for 2 short films. She was self-managed for two and a half years until January 2007 when she began working with a London-based manager.