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A Conversation with Singer/Songwriter Julie Elias

If the name, Julie Elias, tickles the back of your mind, that tickle might come from an unexpected source. You may have seen her name as the credits rolled following an episode of Community or Parks and Recreation. You might have seen her on Grey’s Anatomy, Flash Forward, CSI: New York or Bones. You might even have caught her on the big screen in such films as Larry Crowne with Tom Hanks or Due Date opposite Robert Downey, Jr. But after flirting with heady success in Hollywood, Julie Elias did a 180 and launched a fresh career in music. It’s a decision she says fed her soulin a way that Hollywood never could.

From her music video "Breathing Room"
Yake Films - Used by permission

Mike Parker – Your new music video, Breathing Room, combines a lovely song with some pretty harsh imagery involving both wife abuse and child abuse. Can you talk about that a bit?

Julie Elias – There is a lot of risk even taking on that topic. I think it is important to note that the story portrayed in the music video is not my story. I had a great childhood. I asked my mom and dad to make sure they were cool with it. They were both supportive and want it to minister to people who have gone though those kinds of instances. We chose this story for the video because it was so visual.

Parker – The video focuses on the freedom-giving power of forgiveness, but I think that a subtext to the story is that forgiveness doesn’t equate to condoning the behavior that required forgiveness in the first place. For example, a woman who is physically abused can choose to forgive her abuser, but that doesn’t mean she puts herself back into a situation where she would risk being abused again.

Julie – Exactly right. It is one thing forgive, but it doesn’t mean to forget. The image is more about being free yourself. The choice to forgive affects how you proceed in your life. If you wait for someone to apologize, that day may never come. And it is a process. Forgiveness may not come overnight.

Parker – Prior to embarking on your career as a Christian singer/songwriter, you were well on your way to a successful career as a Hollywood actress. Why the change from acting to music?

Julie – I loved acting. I still do. Storytelling is something I will always enjoy. But after figuring out the games in LA, I had this ‘a-ha’ moment when I didn’t feel like I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. I wanted to feel significant and fulfilled, but I wasn’t feeling that. I started praying for overall direction for what I was supposed to do with my life. In the past I had prayed, but I was more like, “Lord, let the audition go well.” Doors opened to do music, and to make a living doing it. I was happy. After praying about it for a while, it was just obvious that this is what I’m supposed to be doing.

Parker – What’s next on your agenda?

Julie – I’m working on a new album. It’s going to have a combination of covers and original material. There are some worship tunes that are geared toward female voices.

Parker – Last words?

Julie – I want to encourage young artists, young authors, young filmmakers to keep shooting for the same high standards that the mainstream has. Aim high for quality. With all the secular movies coming out with Biblical themes, I think the time is right for Christian filmmakers and artists to use their talents for the glory of God.

The Seven Questions

1. What’s your favorite sound?

Julie – Ocean waves. Live ocean waves, not fake, sound machine ocean waves.

2. What makes you happy?

Julie – Anything, as long as I’m around people I love.

3. What makes you angry?

Julie – Hypocracy.

4. What is the secret of success?

Julie – Being able to combine what you’re doing with your passion. When you love what you do.

5. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, living or dead, who would it be?

Julie – I’m a big American history buff, so probably Thomas Jefferson.

6. What is the epitaph that is written on your tombstone?

Julie – “She tried to make the lives of others a little bit brighter.”

7. When you get to heaven, what is the first thing you want to hear God say to you?

Julie – “Thank for trying your best.”