Julianna Raye’s new and unreleased project, Hush, takes you on a lush journey into the sensual and evocative world of South America… by way of Nashville. Produced in Music City by the extraordinary Joe Pisapia (KD Lang, Ben Folds), Hush is a magical blend of primal afro-cuban rhythms, rootsy, Americana flavored guitar and bass stylings inspired by Paul McCartney. This combination of ingredients takes the listener on a magical journey wholly fresh and innovative while the songs themselves sound like lost classics, interpreted anew. Raye’s voice is at it’s clearest, most powerful and refined. The theme? Love, in it’s varied forms.
In fact, Hush itself is a labor of love in the deepest sense of the word. Two of the songs, the title track and Hummingbirds & Harbor Lights were written about Raye’s mom, who she lost to cancer. The record was made in honor of her memory and most of the songs were written over the course of her mother’s 2 and a half year battle with the illness. Raye’s mom had always encouraged her to make art for art’s sake and Hush was created in that spirit. While Raye helped her mom through the process she was undergoing, writing the songs offered Raye solace, a creative outlet and a beautiful place to go in a dark and challenging time for her family. Hush is heartfelt and tender without veering into sentimental; at once passionately romantic and hypnotic. And Hush seems to bridge the musical gap between all of Raye’s prior endeavors.
Julianna’s debut album, Something Peculiar, was produced by Jeff Lynne (Traveling Wilburys, ELO), who met Raye through her cousin, composer, Michael Kamen. Lynne was so taken by her voice and songs, he offered to produce Julianna’s album. Signed to Warner Brothers by Lenny Waronker, Something Peculiar met with great critical acclaim. It was described by Spin magazine as “a pop rock diamond in the rough… Raye’s luminous voice and cinematic tales of love, dreams and life carry the day.” Something Peculiar was also voted one of NPR’s top ten records of the year.
After Waronker’s departure from Warner Brothers, Raye was left without a label home and with a very uncertain professional future; it took eight years for her to release her next album. In one of those rare, defining moments in an artist’s career, she re-emerged from a process of self-discovery and a string of dissatisfying major label flirtations with the brilliant independent release, Restless Night. Working for the first time with Ethan Johns as producer, she crafted an enticing foray into the wearisome search for love amidst the creeping vapors of Los Angeles nightlife.
In true indie fashion, Raye and Johns put together a website, pressed up cds and sent out some packages. Before long, Billboard, NPR and Entertainment Weekly had picked up on the cd with glowing reviews, the latter describing it as “languidly gorgeous.” Next came the official thumbs up from harbinger of cool, KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic and a full-page article in defining alternative paper, the L.A. Weekly.
Then Johns ran into the legendary Don Henley at a party. When Henley requested a copy of his latest Ryan Adams project, Johns took the opportunity to slip him Restless Night. Henley was so impressed by what he heard he invited Julianna to open for him on his solo shows for the next couple of years, which included dates with another icon, Stevie Nicks. Raye also toured Europe as a member of Rufus Wainwright’s band (for whom she has also opened.) Her live performances include multiple 4,000 – 12,000 seat venues throughout the US and Europe, Sundance Film Festival, The Grammy Museum and corporate events for Conde Nast, Details Magazine, Spin and MOCA. Julianna’s last release, Dominoes (2009) was nominated for an Independent Music Award for Best
Concept Album and was hand selected by Peter Gabriel for inclusion in his elite Bowers & Wilkins Music Club.
In addition to singing on multiple Wainwright releases, Raye can be heard on Ryan Adams’ Gold, Demolition and 48 Hours and is featured on Van Dyke Parks’ tribute to Haruomi Hosono, Yellow Magic and the first single from his own project, Dreaming of Paris, Robin Danar’s Altered States, and singer/songwriter AM’s Side by Side. She can also be heard on Joe Cocker’s Hymn for my Soul, Tift Merrit’s Bramble Rose, Scott Thomas’ Lovers and Thieves and The Best is Yet to Come a tribute to Cy Coleman, in the company of Fiona Apple, Missy Higgens and Patty Griffin.
Julianna’s songwriting credits include collaborations with Rufus Wainwright, Ryan Adams, Ross Godfrey (Morcheeba), Joe Pisapia (KD Lang collaborator and producer),
Courtney Jaye, Composers Michael Kamen and Paul Haslinger and writer/director Rod Lurie. Her years as a staff writer at Chrysalis Music also yeilded many great collaborations with top charting Nashville and London based writers too numerous to name. One of her collaborative efforts, One Way Conversation, can be heard on the 2013 Courtney Jaye release produced by Mike Wrucke (Miranda Lambert.)
Raye’s music has been featured in many films and TV shows. Some highlights include Leaves Before Autumn from her Dominoes release, in Justin Timberlake’s In Time, Dewberry Wine, also from her Dominoes release, in the Charlize Theron film The Burning Plain. Director Rod Lurie asked her to co-write two songs, Land of Quiet Poems and Every Eden for his 2007 release, Resurrecting the Champ, starring Josh Hartnett and Samuel L Jackson (which she performed at the Sundance Film Festival). Holding All My Love for You, a song she co-wrote with composer Michael Kamen, is heard over the end credits to the Kevin Costner directed film, Open Range, starring Costner, Robert Duvall and Annette Bening. This wide range of styles represents Raye’s tremendous adaptability as a writer.
Says Raye, “I’ve spent a lot of my time in the music business searching and experimenting. I feel fortunate to have had that opportunity because of all the wondrous places I’ve been led. I’ve been exposed to an incredible diversity of experience and opportunities and I look forward to wherever my musical journey takes me next.”