Rising Stars [Issue
New York Seen Slowly By
Slow New York
says his new album, Slow New York, isnt so much about New York,
but a state of mind. However, his songs contain imagery drawn from the
Manhattan landscape. A New Yorker might recognize the reference to the yellow
boundary lines on subway platforms that symbolize risk in the song, Dont
always writing subway imagery, Julian notes. Theres something
about standing down there, waiting for that light to show up in the dark.
Julians songs deal with relationships that are in the dark or on the edge,
set in a world of Cold Grey Sky (another song title), unpaid bills,
and frustrating long lines. Theres a sly humor in the song End of
The Line, wherein Julian laments the increasing rudeness of customer service.
He notes: When Ive been performing that song lately, Ive been
dedicating it to the company of the week.
Richard Julian grew up in Delaware, began writing songs at age 14, nixed college
in favor of the music business, and played for a year in Las Vegas lounge bands.
But he sensed that Vegas was not his scene and he split for the Big Apple. When
I came to Manhattan, I was like Jon Voight in Midnight Cowboy, he jokes.
I didnt have any music business connections [in New York].
He lived the life that inspired his songs: low-paying jobs, observations of
local characters, and gigs in small clubs. He made two albums for the indie
Blackbird label, but after it folded he found himself at a career impasse. It
was the early 90s, singer-songwriters werent in, and
Julian had to take a day job selling real estate.
So he stepped into the yellow line by using his credit card to fund
a DIY album, Good Life, which he recorded on vacation time from his day job.
When Good Life got good coverage in the New York press and impressive Web sales,
Julian was able to return to music full-time.
Now Richard Julian is garnering praise from people he has always looked up to.
Norah Jones invited him on her 2002 tour and co-produced two tracks on Slow
New York. He was delighted to receive an accolade from Randy Newman. Does he
think they share a sensibility? I know from the few times Ive
talked to him, hes really into harmony. Maybe he likes some of the stuff
I come up with.
Slow New York