Just a few years ago, Country singer Julie Roberts was answering telephones for the chairman of Universal Music Group in Nashville. Through much persistence and a little luck, she achieved her dream of a recording career, and has just released her second album. VOA's Mary Morningstar has more on Julie Robert's new CD, "Men and Mascara."
Julie Roberts says she wanted the release of her second album, Men and Mascara, to bring her new experiences and it has. The 27-year-old singer was invited to perform at a recent dinner hosted by U.S. Vice President Cheney. She also met with members of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill during her visit to Washington, D.C.
Five years ago, Roberts had no idea that she'd soon be making dramatic changes in her life. At that time, she was working as a receptionist for Mercury Records chairman Luke Lewis. But, Julie kept her dream of a career in Country music a secret from Luke because she felt it would conflict with her position at the company. But their mutual friend, producer Brent Rowan, had a plan. He went into the studio with Julie to make a demo tape, and later gave it to Luke without telling him who was singing. Lewis was shocked to learn that the voice on the tape was Julie's and immediately signed her to his label.
Entertainment Weekly called Julie's 2004 self-titled album "one of the most auspicious debuts in years." It went on to sell more than 500,000 copies, and brought her two Country Music Association Horizon Award nominations.
Julie says the songs on Men and Mascara reflect her personal and artistic growth during the past two years. For the first time, she co-wrote several songs, including "First To Never Know."
Julie's vocal style blends Country and blues, and has been called mainstream Country's answer to Norah Jones and Bonnie Raitt. Julie says the songs she records must have honest lyrics that she can relate to on a personal level. In the liner notes for Men and Mascara, Julie wrote, "I hope this album touches the lives of many people and is an instrument to help people tackle hardships that life might bring your way. That's what music is and will always be to me."
Julie claims she's happiest on the road performing for her fans, and that's where she'll be for most of 2006 promoting Men and "Mascara.