Julia Wade/Every Day Interview

Julia WadeJulia Wade is presently serving her sixth year as soloist of The Mother Church, the First Church of Christ Scientist, Boston, Ma.  We caught up with her recently following a recording session in New York City where she lives and is presently completing a new Inspirational CD.  She gladly took time out of her whirlwind schedule to meet with us and talk excitedly about her forthcoming album, Every Day.

1. Your new CD, Every Day, is due out for Christmas.  Word has it, it’s a bit of a change of direction for you.  Is that true, and if so, would you please explain?

Well, yes!  My producer, Peter Link, and I set out to broaden my reach — stretch the borders of the music I have been singing in these last 8 years or so.  I love singing sacred and inspirational music, but I also wanted to record songs that reach beyond strictly sacred music and deal with social and world issues as well.  The idea of this CD is to apply the sacred to all parts of our every day lives – both on a personal and a universal level.

Also, I have continued to move into a more fusion style of singing.  I have evolved further away from classical, and feel myself firmly grounded in the classical crossover genre.  This evolution is a dovetailing of folk, pop, theatrical and classical influences.

2. Why is the new CD titled “Every Day”?

The title song on the album, “Every Day,” is a sweet joyful song of gratitude for God being here every day in our lives.  The song just invaded my soul and took me over when I first heard it after Peter Link wrote it.  I went through life singing this song in my head for about a month non-stop.  One morning I woke up and it just hit me: Every Day is the title of the CD!  Why?  Because it referred to the fact that I was singing about things I think about every day – issues and dilemmas in my own life as well as those going on around me in the world – and joys too – all the good things going on.

As I continued to think about this concept, I realized that I was singing about things that I believe are important to most people.  My hope is that the songs on this CD will speak directly from my heart to the listener’s.

3. Peter Link is your principle composer, your record producer and your husband.  What’s that like working with him?  It seems like a lot to handle with one person.

When I married Peter, I told my family and friends that I first had to consider how to take on the kingdom of Peter Link.  It was a lot!  But, conversely, over the years we have mutually decided that I am a bit of a handful as well!  It all kind of balances out!

Yes, Peter and I wear a lot of different hats with one another.  When he is the producer, I am the recording artist.  When he is the director, I am the performer.  When he is the composer lyricist working on songs for me, I am his singer, or interpreter.  Continuing with the work hats, we also wear them together every day working with Watchfire Music.

Then of course, we are husband and wife.  That is the very best part of it all.  We are just like any couple – working it out every day.  I think what makes it all possible is a deep mutual sense of respect and love – and a very strong friendship.

Where it gets kind of dicey is that once in a while we forget which hat we are wearing with one another and we get a little confused!  Sometimes I will be in the studio recording with him, and while he’s wearing his “gotta get it done we’re on a crazy deadline” producer hat, I might still be wearing my “there are only so many hours in the day in which I can sing, manage WFM, cook dinner, pay the bills and do the laundry” wife hat.

Wife and Producer don’t always mix well.  I might end up in tears and sit down on his lap to cry out my woes.  After momentarily taking off his producer hat, Peter will hug me and comfort me.  When all is well again, he might comment, “I hope you don’t cry like that and get hugs on other laps.  It’s just not professional.”  🙂

4. Are you the same Julia Wade who also is the Director of the Digital Sheet Music division of Watchfire Music or is that your clone?  How do you find the hours in the day to accomplish so much?

Yes.  That’s me. (sighs)  Being the Director of Digital Sheet Music is another one of those hats that I wear in life.  I really like it, but sometimes I do wish that I had a clone to do all the things that are in my in box!

I think the answer to how I get through it is that I absolutely love what I do.  I have loved developing this division of Watchfire Music – it’s a natural response to my work as a church soloist.  I saw a huge need for a central place for church musicians of all kinds to come and find great sacred and inspirational music.  I am one of those musicians who’s always searching high and low for new and fresh music for worship services.

So about 3 years ago, I dove in and created the Digital Sheet Music division of Watchfire Music.  We started with 30 sheet music titles and now offer almost 2000.

How do I do this?  With a lot of prayer, help and hard work.  I could not maintain my fast-paced schedule without consistent quiet time and prayer.  We also have a terrific staff at WFM, some of whom I manage and mentor.  They are a huge help in the process.  And then, it’s just good old-fashioned elbow grease and long hours that get the job done.

It’s also true that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day, so I still work to become more organized and efficient.  I don’t think that’s any different than what most people contend with.  One of my biggest problems is that I consistently fall behind in correspondence – email, letters, inquiries, and yes, Facebook!  That area is still a major work in progress.

5. Can you tell us about some of the new songs on the CD?

Yes!  We set out to make an album that would express a broader definition of Inspirational music.  So, we have included a gorgeous love song, “Nothing Only Love” from the Broadway musical, KING OF HEARTS.  I also sing a wonderful story song, “Woman On A Train” about an experience I had during my normal commute from New York to Boston.  Peter Link created an amazing new arrangement of Julie Gold’s “From a Distance” made famous by Bette Midler.  This song is what I call my prayer for social justice in the world.

To be sure, I have recorded fresh new sacred songs as well, including a beautiful new setting of the 23rd Psalm by Peter.  There is also a track on the CD of Greg Granoff’s joyful setting of “Satisfied,” a poem by Mary Baker Eddy.

6. How do you go about the selection process?  Where do you find your songs?

The process of choosing songs for a CD is for me a magical mix of many things – an elixir, if you will.  My producer/composer Peter Link has huge input into this process.  He writes a large percentage of the songs that I sing on my CDs.  Sometimes he presents me with a song he has written and thinks I am the right singer to record it.  Other times, I will come to Peter with an idea for a song – a concept or theme – or even the rough outline for the lyrics, and I ask him to write the song.

Other music comes from my experience as the soloist at the international headquarters of the Christian Science church in Boston.  I spend a large portion of my time programming music, preparing and performing solo songs that match the sermons each week.  So I discover a lot of gorgeous music along the way.  I keep lists of songs that might be good for future recordings.  And some of those do end up on our CDs.

I should add that folks write in often with requests for songs to be recorded.  We try to listen to those requests as well.  Sometimes that is where inspiration for a song choice comes from.

Sometimes, we will start with a theme for a CD.  If that is the case, Peter begins to write songs specifically for that CD.  I begin to gather material from my lists and search for songs through other research.

In the case of Every Day, we did a combination of these processes.  We began by looking at some of the songs we have wanted to record for a long time.  I also did a lot of reading and writing about what’s important to me these days – what’s been on my mind.  Out of this reading/writing exploration, it became clear that I needed to expand my definition of ‘inspirational’ and to deal with world issues like hunger and war.  I hope this CD will help in the healing of these world-wide issues.

7. Both your previous CDs, Upon The Mountain and Story For The Ages, were best sellers for Watchfire Music and yet it’s been two and a half years since you’ve recorded an album.  Why is that?

The truth is, I have just been far too busy.  I had the opportunity to do some other great projects that simply put off the CD.  For example, right after recording Upon The Mountain and Story For The Ages, we were asked to record a CD of sacred songs in Spanish to minister to the worldwide Spanish congregation of the Christian Science church.  So we recorded “Alabado sea Dios”.  This was a complete joy and a great spiritual and artistic achievement in my life.  I should add that many people that do not speak Spanish have loved it, so please check it out at wathfiremusic.com.  It’s a beautiful listening experience full of beautiful music!

It was also about this time when I became much more involved with Watchfire Music.  That took over a huge portion of my time.

8. We recently caught your act at the Watchfire Music Listening Room and were so impressed by your deep connection with the lyrical content of your songs.  You seemed to embody these songs and live inside them.  Many singers don’t seem to be able to commit to their material the way you do.  Can you help us understand why this is?

How much time do you have?  I could talk about this for hours!  Quickly though, I believe deeply in the acting process behind the singing.

As a singer, my goal is to faithfully interpret the composer’s and lyricist’s intentions as I understand them – to be true to the music and the lyrics.  As an actor, my goal is to live Sanford Meisner’s definition of acting: “to live truthfully under imaginary circumstances.” As a soloist in church, my goal is to live my solo in my own expanded definition of acting: “to live truthfully here and now in this healing circumstance.”

In essence, I have to create a story of imaginary circumstances for each song that I then live out in performance.  I have to commit to living this story fully on stage.  I work the actor’s process as much as I work the singer’s process.  I try to live the songs truthfully.

I have actually been writing a series of blog articles on just this subject.  If anyone is interested please check out my blog, Inspiratus at http://juliawade.wordpress.com/

9. We also noticed that there’s a rather dramatic drop in the pricing of your new CD.  Can you tell us why?

The music industry has never been more difficult or perplexing.  We have been watching it and changing with the trends and times.  We’ve learned to be nimble these days.

As recordings go, the emphasis is on single song purchases these days, mostly downloads from the Internet.  So, we decided to stay cutting edge.  Rather than recording a 12 or 14-song CD, which would not have been released till the spring of 2011, we decided to record fewer songs and get the CD out now.  Fewer songs equals a lower priced CD – but one still full of great Inspirational music, carefully and lovingly crafted.

On Every Day, we have recorded 8 gorgeous songs – one for every day of the week plus a bonus track!

10. Will we have to wait another two and a half years for the next one?

Absolutely not!  When we made the decision to cut our CD tracks down to 8 for Every Day, we looked at each other and said, “Great!  As soon as this is done, we can go back into the studio and do the next 8-song CD!”  We hope to get that out in June of 2011.

11. What’s in store for the future of Julia Wade?

I am looking forward to getting this CD out to the world and continuing my shows at The Watchfire Music Listening Room here in NYC in the 2010 /2011 season.  I am planning to do a concert tour again in 2011 and we will be getting back into the studio for the follow up CD to Every Day.  In the meantime, I continue to enjoy my solo work in Boston as well as working with Watchfire Music to continue developing its Digital Sheet Music division.  I also hope to get a little sleep.

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One Response to “Julia Wade/Every Day Interview”

  1. Carol Jay Says:

    Read the interview with great interest. Truly, Julia, you are an inspiration to us all!

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