Julie Sweeney
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Julie Sweeney

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Band Rock Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Julie Sweeney CD Release Show"

By Edward B. Colby/Dedham Transcript
May 20, 2010 Dedham, MA

Dedham native Julie Sweeney will launch her debut CD, “Me Becoming Me,” at the Dedham School of Music’s “CrossRoads” series concert this Saturday night.

Sweeney spent many years as a drummer and vocalist playing with musicians in the United States and Australia before turning her focus to the guitar and songwriting. Her band mates hail from Dedham: George Baldino on drums, Steve Mammone on guitar and backup vocals, Robert Massarelli on bass, and Sarah Reynolds on keyboards and backup vocals. Sweeney and her band will perform again at the third annual Dedham Square Music and Art Festival on Saturday, June 5.

Q: After years in music, what led you to go in more of a solo direction?

A: I had been writing songs and hacking away at the guitar for many years – all the while being the drummer for various bands. A few years ago I was jamming on drums with some friends and at one point picked up the guitar and we played one of my songs. It was so incredibly fun playing guitar with a full band – I knew my life as a drummer was over. I ended up playing with them for three years, with several of us contributing to the songwriting process. I was writing like crazy and hearing music fully fleshed out in my head – guitars, drums, keyboards. I wanted to be able to bring this music in my head into physical reality – the exact way I was hearing it. I knew that no band would want to put up with that control-freak side of me, so a solo project was the way to go.

Q: Can you sketch out how you created “Me Becoming Me,” and the musical roots that you drew on? How long did it take to make the album?

A: The one thing I knew for sure was that I was not going to edit or limit myself when it came to writing the music. These songs wanted to come to life – all I had to do was listen and let them be. Most of the songs start with a melody in my head, which I then transpose to guitar and during the recording process (which I initially do at home on my computer). I come up with the drum, bass, keyboard and other guitar parts. Musical roots … there are many! Throughout my life there have been bands that I really get into for a period of time – a few that come to mind are Tommy James and the Shondells, early R.E.M., Dire Straits, Catherine Wheel and a New Zealand band called Shihad. But I can honestly say that everything I’ve ever listened to has influenced me – all types of music, sounds in nature and even sounds that most people don’t focus on. The repetitive rhythm of a washing machine can easily spark a song idea. It took about 3½ years to finish the CD – only 3 years and 2 months longer than I thought!

Q: You started out as a musician by playing snare drum in the Dedham Drum and Bugle Corps in fifth grade. How and when did you start singing?

A: Ha! I also tried out for chorus in the fifth grade, but did not make the cut. I started singing in college – I was the drummer and singer for a band called the Shindigs. We recorded two albums and I sang about half of the songs. I was a pretty shy singer back then, so it helped having a wall of drums between the audience and me. There’s no hiding now …

Q: ¿Por qué canta una canción, “Estoy Alegre,” en Español?

A: ¿Por qué no? When I first heard the music in my head it was considerably slower than the finished piece – it felt almost like a Gregorian chant, with the words being very melodic. By the time I finished recording the song at home it ended up being much more upbeat, but I still wanted to retain the melodic feel with the lyrics. Italian was my first thought, but why let four years of high school Spanish go to waste?

Q: What are your favorite songs of all time?

A: Boy, it’s hard to pick favorite songs. The first thing that popped into my head was “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” I love pretty much anything from the ’50s or ’60s, because I grew up listening to the oldies with my parents. At the time I didn’t know that oldies were old – I thought it was all current music. I was in love with Buddy Holly. When I first heard “Peggy Sue,” something turned on inside me – like a musical switch I did not know existed. Then my dad bought me one of his albums and I found out he had been dead for 20 years. A little bit of a rude awakening, but I never stopped loving his music. - Dedham Transcript

"Getting To Know: Julie Sweeney"

Every week we let a local band tell us about themselves. Today, we get to know Julie Sweeney. You catch the band’s next performance on June 5 as part of the Dedham Music & Art Festival at the Dedham Community House Field.

Band Name: Julie Sweeney

Julie Sweeney: Guitar, Vocals (Norwood, MA)
Steve Mammone: Guitar, Backup Vocals (Dedham, MA)
Robert Massarelli: Bass (Walpole, MA)
George Baldino: Drums (Quincy, MA)
Sarah Reynolds: Keyboards, Backup Vocals (Dedham, MA)

Me Becoming Me (2010)


How did you form?

I was toward the end of recording the CD with some other musicians and just started thinking about putting the gigging band together when I reconnected with Steve, who I had gone to high school with. Steve held the honor of “most musical” in the yearbook due to his kickass guitar playing and overall cool factor. I had even played a gig with him and some teachers in a talent show (I was a drummer at the time). Steve brought in Robert and George – the three had played together in The Baldinos, years ago. Sarah is the daughter of a friend and makes a wonderful complement to the overall sound. All five of us are Dedham High graduates, funny enough!

Who are some of your influences?

Everything I’ve ever listened to has influenced me in some way, I’m sure. Some of my favorite artists include Buddy Holly (and pretty much anything from the 50s and 60s), Catherine Wheel, early R.E.M. and Shihad (a New Zealand band).

Finish the sentence, someone would like your band if they like…

…music that rocks! Ok, real answer: rock centered on great melodies and harmonies, with a variety in song structure, and a band that’s truly having fun!

What has your most memorable moment as a band been?

Um. we’ve only played 3 shows together, but the CD Release show we played last month was a lot of fun! Our next most memorable moment is hopefully right around the corner.

Walk us through your songwriting process.

My songs start with a melody snippet in my head, which tumbles around for a while (sometimes weeks or months) and if it sticks around long enough and keeps popping back in, I will add words that fit the melody. The words don’t usually make any sense, but the syllables match up with the rhythm. If I really like the snippet with the rhythm of the words, I keep singing it in my head and craft the song, usually while walking to work. Once I feel that the song is “ready” I get out the guitar and figure out the chords and write lyrics. The real magic happens when I record the demo, which I do on my laptop. I experiment with sounds and other guitar parts and keep adding layers – bass, keys etc. It is so fun hearing how the song ends up!

Who is the best musician in your band?

Everyone in the band brings something special to the table, so it would be hard to name someone over someone else.

What is your favorite local venue?

How about a few? The Middle East (because it’s got a cool vibe and has seen so many great bands over the years) T.T. The Bear’s (you can see new bands from all over the world) and The Paradise Lounge (because it’s has an intimate feel).

What separates you from other local bands?

At the risk of sounding immodest, what sets us apart is my role as a strong female lead in a rock band, and there are far too few of us!

What do you have coming up that people should know about?

I’m in the process of booking some summer gigs – will let you know when we’ll be playing next!

Convince our readers to see your next show.

The music is great and we’re having a blast sharing it with the audience! Plus, we are at the beginning of our musical journey, so if someone wants to be able to say, “I saw them when they were just starting out!” – this is your chance!
- Boston Music Spotlight


Me Becoming Me, released April, 2010



Julie’s debut solo CD, Me Becoming Me, released in April 2010, is a powerful showcase of her upbeat compositions, which have a distinctive, irresistible style—at once elegant, complex, and viscerally heartfelt. Her strong, clear voice has a quiet energy that feels both gently soothing and unexpectedly forceful. The CD draws on eclectic musical roots, marked by rollicking rock tunes, vivid lyrics, and memorable pop riffs. She even sings one song in Spanish—a bouncy, contagious tune that features a touch of flamenco.

Julie has been performing and writing music since she was a child. She started out as a drummer, playing snare drum in marching bands and percussion with concert bands throughout her high school and college years, and drumming and recording with numerous rock bands in West Lafayette, Indiana, Nashville, Sydney, and Boston. She was also the principal songwriter for many of those bands. While in Nashville, Julie formed her own band, Skip Tracer, and released a self-titled EP of her original music. Returning home to Boston from Australia, she packed up her drums and concentrated on playing guitar. For three years, she played with a local band, the Snakes, which marked her emergence as a confident lead vocalist. She left the Snakes to write and produce Me Becoming Me. Julie and her band have been performing in the Boston area since the release of her CD.