Julia Cole, over the last two years, has made significant strides in Nashville. However, the Houston native’s start into music is unlike most singer/songwriters in Music City. From what began as singing the national anthem at her volleyball and basketball games to playing for the crowd at the NFL Draft, she has impressed along the way. Julia’s music fits in the country scene but has some R&B vibes. Undiscovered Nashville first met Julia Cole during CMA Fest in 2019, and we finally were able to sit down with Julia to learn more about her story.
A Unique Beginning
When you hear how singer-songwriters got their start in music, you will get similar stories. Many start writing to process their emotions, or they have been singing since they are three. However, Julia Cole has a unique beginning. Cole said, “I got my start in music by singing the national anthem for my high school volleyball and basketball games. My teammates and coaches would hear me singing in the locker room or on the bus. They usually played a recording, but one of my coaches got me to sing the anthem. At first, I did a duet with my older sister. But, I continued after she graduated. Eventually, I performed the anthem for all my school’s sports.”
Cole won a singing contest, which propelled her to sing the national anthem for the Houston Texans, Astros, and NASA. Those experiences would open her eyes to a career in the music business. The singer-songwriter said, “Here I was singing in front of 75,000 people, and I wasn’t nervous. I realized this is what I am supposed to do.”
Julia Cole Finds Her Passion
Interestingly, as talented as Julia Cole is, she didn’t realize a music career was possible. Cole said, “I played sports growing up, but I did choir for one year to get my fine arts credit. I would try out for solos and get some of them, but I wasn’t around anyone who explained the music industry is a real thing. I didn’t realize it’s attainable for someone who is not Beyonce.”
Julia Cole would begin entering singing competitions, where she met people in the music industry. The singer-songwriter said, “I didn’t know any songwriters, producers, or anyone involved with the business. So, I never thought about it as a real career path. After I started singing these anthems, I began entering different singing competitions. They had cool prizes. The judges involved introduced me to the world of songwriting, producing, booking shows, and the ten million other things that go into being an artist.
Cole was already a writer, but she would unite her passions of music and writing. Cole said, “In high school, I was already a writer. I wrote poetry, and I even wrote a 500-page fiction novel. All of my passions came together when I learned the art of songwriting.”
From Houston to Nashville
Julia Cole fell in love with Vanderbilt University and Nashville before she fell in love with music. Julia said, “When my sister was looking at colleges, she came to Vanderbilt on a visit. I hit it off with a creative writing major, who was our tour guide. Also, I fell in love with the campus and Nashville. So, I already thought Vandy was where I wanted to be, and then the music stuff fell into place. I felt like it was meant to be. I didn’t choose music; music chose me.”
Julia Cole and the Songwriter’s Life
Vulnerability is essential for a songwriter, but it can be challenging. Cole said, “It took me a while to start writing music in which I was vulnerable. I don’t like to be publicly vulnerable. That’s not my personality. I want to promote empowerment, strength, and getting through things. It took a while to click in my head that sometimes you have to talk about those things you’ve gone through to have that empowering message.”
Honesty connects with the fans because it humanizes the artist. Fans relate to music when it feels authentic. The singer-songwriter said, “You have to be honest. If everything has gone right your entire life, it’s easy to say you need to work hard and be strong. However, that’s not reality because everyone goes through so much. For me to pretend like I wasn’t human and never be vulnerable in my lyrics, I realized that was not going to go anywhere. I can write it, but performing it live feels like I am naked on stage. Here’s my whole life and every struggle I have had. What is empowering about that is, they can see you get through it.”
Social Media has distorted reality in many ways. Artists don’t like to show you their struggles. Cole described, “I was on a European tour, we went to twelve cities in twelve different countries. It was an incredible experience of my life, but it was also the hardest thing I have ever done. I posted picture after picture of all the incredible things we saw. However, nobody would ever know my memory of that day was missing a train and being able to speak the language. But, you get on stage, do your show, act like everything is fine, but in reality, it was the most challenging day.”
What Keeps you Going in Music Business?
Julia Cole has been fortunate to play some big stages. She remembers one of her favorite moments. The singer-songwriter said, “I have gotten to do some performances where you have to pinch yourself. I remember playing at Cherry Fest in Traverse City, Michigan, with Dan & Shay. The weather was perfect, and the stage was right on the water. It was the day Tequila and their album went number one. The crowd was so excited. After the show, Shay and I went to all the bars in Traverse City. It was the best night ever.”
Cole continued, “It’s moments like those when the fifteen-hour van rides and the nights you have to stay up working on a song, are all worth it. The behind the scenes work in a studio or the graphics you make are worth it for experiences like that. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I have to do it; its no longer a choice. It’s at the point where I am trying to go to sleep when song lyrics pop into my head, and I have to write them down. I would be mad at myself if I forgot them.”
Julia Cole and The Music
Julia Cole has released a lot of good music in 2020, while many delayed releasing music. The singer-songwriter said, “One of the reasons I have begun to focus on consistently releasing music is how many songs I write and how quickly my story is developing. I would much rather put out music while I still think it’s my best work. If you wait, you are playing music that you are less excited about by the time you release it. You ask any songwriter what your best song is, and they will say the last one they wrote. It’s what you feel most connected to at the time.”
One of Julia’s most popular songs is “Trust You,” but she almost didn’t release it. We are glad she did! The singer-songwriter said, “Trust You” was part of an EP, but that EP isn’t out, and I don’t know if ever will be. Part of me wishes I had put that music out, because who knows what those songs could have done. I kept waiting for a better time. This year I have released more music than ever before, so do it. Put the music out! If it doesn’t do well, you have more songs. Every song is like a lottery ticket, and you have no idea what it will turn into.”
Cole continued, “I only released “Trust You” because I had a bunch of shows coming up, and I had not released music in a while. We didn’t promote it, and look how it turned out. People connected to the song. So, who am I to judge what songs people get. It opened my eye to the fact that I have no idea to which one will be fan favorites.”
Julia Cole Releases “Do You Mind”
Julia Cole released her latest single, “Do You Mind,” on September 4th. She co-wrote the song with Josh Ronen and Zarni DeVet. Julia said, “This song taps into my Houston roots. It has a large R&B influence to it. It is a fun, flirty song. There are not many songs from the perspective of the girl making the first move and hitting on a guy. This song fits my personality because I have done that. I think if I don’t say anything at all, who knows what could have been.”
How many guys would welcome a woman making the first move? I am confident the shy guys out there would. The singer-songwriter said, “One of my favorite things about this song is it empowers women to shoot their shot. Why not? Why do you have to wait around for someone to come to you? You may not get the answer you want, but you will never know if you don’t ask.”
You can listen to “Do You Mind” on Apple Music and Spotify. Follow Julia Cole on social media and be part of the Cole Team. Undiscovered Nashville will also let you know of future releases from Cole through our social media. Please give us a follow, as well.