Julie Tan

 

"Singer-songwriters are back in fashion..."          -Rolling Stone, Aug 2001
   "Well, finally! Couple that with the Asian factor, and I should be doubly chic." Julie laughs sarcastically. Four years after the release of her eponymous EP, Los Angeles singer-songwriter Julie Tan has put together an impressive collection of 13 songs for her first full-length album, Storage. Opening with "LA 66", a poignant true-story-based lament about disillusionment in the entertainment Mecca of the world told from the point of view of an aging golden-era actor, Storage is multi-dimensional story telling from an engaging artist.
   Self-produced, this is a musically satisfying album that succeeds in being radio-friendly and sonically polished; yet maintaining the intimacy of the more introspective songs. "At the end of the day, for me, it's all about the songs. I'm a songwriter first, and everything else I do supports my passion for pairing words to music. The arrangements and performances only exist to enhance and showcase the songs", says Julie.
   Destined for recognition from an early age when she was the valedictorian of her kindergarten class, Julie refined her musical talents while earning a degree from the prestigious Thornton School of music at USC. She helmed the popular Los Angeles band Nobody You Know, opening for Sun 60, Wallflowers and Michael Penn. Her numerous production credits include projects for: Crib, Michelle Malone, and Chris Whitley.
   "I'd love to take all the credit for this album, but every musician that played contributed significantly to giving each song its own feel and space," Julie continues. Backed by long-time bass player Mike Lanoue, studio guitarist Mike Fonte, keyboardist Marianne Hetrick, and drummer Joe Higgins (from the band Peel), Julie effortlessly breaks down musical genres and creates a sound distinctly her own. Making guest appearances on the CD are: Oscar-nominated composer Don Hannah, Linda Kodaira and Bill Marks from Stinkeye, as well as a vocal debut by renowned producer John Hancock, who served double-duty and mixed some of the songs on Storage.
   Though the musical tone of Storage is sometimes light and playful, the lyrics often reveal darker underpinnings, as with the SKA-inspired "I Wanna Be a Door", which deals with a lover's infidelity, and the catchy sing-along "Shoot-out at the Mini-mall" that takes jabs at "too damn many people" trying to get exposure on television at any cost ("I hope my mom will be watching the TV/ /As I take hostages and they show me on a newsbreak"). "All the songs on the album deal with loss in one form or another. Whether it's the loss of trust with another human being, loss of youthful dreams, or in the case of 'Fall Apart', loss of a parent. It's all about loss, which doesn't necessarily have to be negative, either. For example, 'Daydreaming' is about losing yourself in love," Julie offers.
   Explaining the title of the album, Julie notes that it's a reference to the fact that some of the tracks are re-arrangements of songs that she's previously released on demos or has been playing live for the past decade. As for the new songs that comprise the majority of the album, she rationalizes that they are drawn from experiences stored in the mental hard drive, so the concept of storage still applies. "One night, I was driving down the highway and saw a sign for public storage where the light for the letter 'O' was out. I thought that using the word storage but subliminally suggesting Saint Rage or Street Rage would be a great play on words and very apropos in a mega-opolis like Los Angeles."
   Storage is a stellar album from an emerging artist. "The best part of playing live is when the audience sings along," Julie says with a grin. She is currently preparing to undertake her first US tour. Don't be surprised if you find yourself singing along.

Failing to realize her full potential after she was the valedictorian of her kindergarten class, Julie lurked around the seedy Los Angeles fringes while earning a degree from the Thornton School of Music at USC. She helmed the popular LA band Nobody You Know, opening for Sun 60, Wallflowers, Melissa Ferrick, and Michael Penn. Her numerous production credits include projects for: Goo Goo Dolls, Green Day, Elvis Costello, Charlie Sexton, Crib, Michelle Malone, and Chris Whitley.

 

While awaiting the Feb 13, 2015 release of her new album, Petulant Zen, Julie is busy mentoring the next generation of wanna-be rockers.

 

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