By: Luana Mattos, Guest Blogger
Julia Morrison Summers is a mother and a wife, but also a singer and songwriter because according to Julia, “If you are doing it, then that’s what you are.” This is her motto; this simple truth changed her life and moves her through her music. Music has always been a part of Julia's life; it flows through her veins and nourishes her heart from where her own music comes. She found herself as songwriter through music therapy and that was so liberating that Julia plans to help people through music as well. In a world where music is often seen as a money machine, Julia has found her purpose and speaks her own truth through her sweet but yet strong voice.
When did you become interested in music?
Music has always been a part of my life. My dad was a high school band director and my mom taught clarinet lessons out of our house ever since I can remember. I played piano and violin when I was a kid and sang around the house all the time. I realized that I could sing really high when I was in the car one time and I could match the pitches of Mariah Carey’s song “Emotions.” This realization inspired me to keep singing. I also sang Disney songs all the time. When I was too little to know better I would sneak off to the bathroom at a restaurant near our house to take advantage of the wonderful echoey acoustics and sing Disney songs.
You are also a songwriter; do you have plans to record your own album anytime soon?
I would love to record an album. I never thought I would have the capability of writing my own songs until I went to school for music therapy. Music therapy is a process- oriented field. There are no mistakes in music therapy. This freedom allowed me to let go of expectations of trying to sound a certain way. I finally found “my voice.” Now, I am more willing to make mistakes and explore my own ideas instead of being overly concerned about what is right or good or expected. Also, I have a little green record player that my sister got for me, and I am dying to play my own record on it. Now that I’ve imagined that, it’s hard to think it won’t happen.
How would you define your music style?
I think my music has a folky singer-songwriter feel. My background is in musical theatre and opera, so this is quite a departure from what I studied, although I’m sure those styles influence my music as well. I love strings of all kinds and I hope to incorporate more strings into my music when I have the chance and capability.
Who are your musical influences?
I love Ingrid Michaelson. She is number one on my list right now, but I also love the Civil Wars, the solo music of Joy Williams, Sara Bareilles, Katie Herzig, Brandi Carlile, Christina Perri, the Beetles, Fun, Pink, Ben Folds, Cake, and one of my great friends, Kelli Rae Powell. I went to school with Kelli Rae and she is a brilliant writer and performer.
What piece of advice changed your life?
A friend of mine told me a story about how she was empowered to write music when she was a little girl. She said that her childhood babysitter simply told her, “if you are doing it, then that’s what you are.” Even when she created simple melodies as a child she identified as a composer and continued to grow as a composer as she gained musical skills throughout her life. This statement affected me when I heard it as an adult. This story opened my mind to writing music, which was absolutely life changing.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
That’s a really good question. For the most part, I am taking things day by day and trying to pay attention to the opportunities that present themselves. Down the road, I hope to work as a music therapist and also continue to write, record, and perform. I’d love to collaborate with some of my friends who are also performers. I feel so lucky to have access to technology that allows me to create my own content and put it out into the world. Who knows where technology will be in ten years! So far technology has allowed me to pursue my passion while also giving all I can as a mother and wife. Singing and songwriting combined with hugs from my baby and husband is pretty hard to beat.
Who has been the biggest female influence in your life and why?
My sister has always had a huge impact on my life. She dreams big and then makes those dreams happen. My mother is also a huge influence in my life. She is thorough, careful and determined. She doesn’t give up on herself or the people in her life. I am beyond lucky to have such positive female role models in my life.
This interview will be posted on I AM THAT GIRL blog, this is an organization that inspires girls to follow their passion, and you are definitely following yours, what advice would give to the girls that want to pursue a music career?
I feel so honored and excited to be a part of the I AM THAT GIRL community. I’d like to pass along the advice that changed my life…If you are doing it then that’s what you are. If you are writing music, you are a composer. Whether you play it for your cat or for a huge venue packed full of fans, you wrote that music and it will always be your creation. You composed it. You are a composer. Let all of it come out of you, even if you think it is junk or cheesy at first. Most likely it won't be junk or cheesy, and even if you think it is, keep going. Keep listening to the music that inspires you because this music will inform your creations. I’ve found that I have an “I can’t” voice in my head. It tells me all the reasons why I am not good enough and why I can’t or shouldn’t do something. I think this voice is attempting to keep me safe, but singing and composing is not dangerous. It is empowering and wonderful. When it comes to art the “I can’t” voice is not helpful. Start creating and keep creating. Your creation will evolve and grow as you evolve and grow.
Luana is Christian girl whose faith inspires her to be the best version of herself every day. Besides her work as an administrative supervisor, she is a freelance journalist and writes a column about real life experiences, focusing on topics relevant to social projects, volunteer work, and awareness campaigns for the Brazilian website www.hollywoodeaqui.com. She also had the opportunity to interview Nicholas Sparks, Wm. Paul Young and L. J. Smith.