About The Artist
The Set List
The House That Charlie Built
Chaplin, that is. Formerly Charlie Chaplin's movie lot, now (Muppet creator) Jim Henson Studios, this legendary building at LaBrea and Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood was the site of the Julie Roberts Soundcheck performance.
The location couldn't have been more appropriate. Most people are unaware of Chaplin's songwriting skills. And it was Universal Music Group's Nashville chief Luke Lewis who was just as unaware of the musical talents of his then- administrative assistant, Julie Roberts.
"YOU'RE the Singer on This Demo?"
Roberts, you see, never let on that she was an aspiring country singer. She worried that mixing her two worlds - making a living and her nighttime hours in the studio - would end up with her being fired. Once Lewis found out, however, he signed her to a record deal and did go shopping for a new admin - so that Julie could focus on her new career.
Upbeat and Buoyant
Julie and her band arrived in good spirits, obviously very excited about the performance she was about to record for Soundcheck's viewers.
First impressions? Very down-to-earth. Very "girl-next-door." Very friendly. And very well-liked by her band, something that imbued her performance with a warmth and genuine musical support for her mellifluous vocals.
Men & Mascara, the Album
Roberts was here to introduce Soundcheck's audience to her second album, Men & Mascara. While many artists worry about "sophomore slump," it was obvious from the tracks she debuted that she was destined for anything but a "slump."
Smile: A Great Start
As Roberts warmed up with the bluesy "Smile," launching into the song like a seasoned pro despite her relative newness to life in front of the camera. The first of all-new material she'd perform in the set, it was a harbinger of the heartfelt, bluesy country she's become so respected for.
Like a Living Room Jam
The mellow, casual session could be likened to a warm, easy and informal living room jam more than a videotaping of a set of new material to be viewed by the masses. As comfortable with the camera as she was with her band, Roberts went from wistful to downhearted as she made the lyrics to "Lonely Alone" deeply believable.
The Camera as a Window
What struck us as uniquely Julie Roberts was the way in which she acknowledged the camera with an occasional glance rather than playing to it, as performers will often do. Rather than pander, Roberts let her audience know that she understood the camera to be a window looking in for Soundcheck's visitors.
The Soundcheck Dancers
As she moved through the set we spied the Soundcheck crew dancing to the more uptempo "First to Never Know," a song of resolve to move on from a broken relationship - "One thing's for sure, I'm outta here."
Men & Mascara, the Song
Roberts and her band wrapped the set with the title track of her latest album. The track's most telling line, "Men and mascara always run," is emblematic of the entire album's introspective, deeper look at love and relationships.
"Men & Mascara" the song also shares a thread of melancholy optimism that runs through much of her material. When Roberts sings "Tomorrow's gonna be a brand new day," you believe her. In fact, it's this intense personal growth that she so naturally mirrors in her career. Out of the four songs she performed on the Soundcheck stage, she shares co-writing credit on two. Men & Mascara the album is a showcase for the musical growth - the "next steps" - of Roberts' creative side.
The Girl Next Door
Call it a cliché, call it overused, call it whatever you like, but Julie Roberts' model-good looks, sweet innocence, friendly demeanor and perfect smile brand her the new girl next door.
When she looks directly at you in an interview, it's hard to not feel a little self-conscious. In the movies, Halle Berry has the quality; in sports, Michael Jordan. It's called presence and Julie Roberts radiates it. Yet as she talked about her life and about the unusual path her career has taken, a genuineness and warmth put everyone at ease.
It's one interview you'll want to make sure you don't miss.
An Icon for Karma
If karma has an icon, its embodiment lives in Julie Roberts. Because she held back from promoting herself directly to Luke Lewis when she could have at any time, Julie Roberts has broken through. Maybe it's in spite of it. What matters is this: It doesn't matter. Her caring about the thoughts and feelings of others could only have added fuel to the embers of her career that have caught fire. We hope it's one that burns for a long, long time.
Thanks for stopping by today. We'll see you around the site.
-The Crew at Wal-Mart Soundcheck