Introducing ReFolkUs, a new podcast by Folk Music Ontario, where we talk to artists and music industry professionals about building sustainable careers as creative workers, with a focus on folk.
[00:00:00] Rosalyn: .Hello and welcome to Refocus. Our guest today is Julian Taylor. Julian is a Toronto based, award-winning singer, songwriter, radio host and label owner. Over the course of his esteemed career, which spans 20 plus years as the leader of Staggered crossing Julian Taylor Band and his solo work, Julian has established himself as one of Canada's greatest trou doors.
his 2020 lp, the Ridge earned two Juno Award nominations, along with a pair of Canadian folk music awards for solo artist and English songwriter of the year five Native American Music Award nominations, plus a nomination for Canada's most prestigious accolade.
The Polaris Music Prize, Julian's new album Beyond the Reservoir, released in October, 2022, contains the hit single seeds, and he was recently nominated for a Juno Award for Contemporary Indigenous Artist of the Year. Julian's a self-managed musician who has handled every facet of his own career, including owning his own label, howling Turtle.
He exemplifies the d i y ethic and has been a model for other indie artists to follow. Please welcome Julian.
[00:01:05] Julian: Hello, how are you? Rosalyn? Nice to see you.
[00:01:07] Rosalyn: nice to see you too. Thank you so much for being here to chat.
[00:01:11] Julian: Thanks for the invitation.
[00:01:12] Rosalyn: So the indie artist, the self-managed artist, the DIY artist, wears a lot of hats.
how did you learn, to embody all these different roles in the music industry? Was it something you picked up along the way, or did you get any training?
[00:01:27] Julian: mostly along the way, to be honest with you, when I first started out in my career and when I was in high school, I guess that's when it would've really started. Cuz my first EP came out in 1996 with my band Daggar Crossing. We had a four song EP it came out on a cassette tape. At that time it was called Mold, and I think we printed about 300 copies at the time Ended up, you know, trying to hustle that and trying to get that to record labels. I sent it to Universal Music and Warner Music Canada and Emi at the time was there, Virgin was there at the time, and nobody really picked up on it. And it ended up in the hands of, a girl named Emmy Davies, her dad worked at, who was rather the president of the music publisher.
he got wind of the songs and, and really liked that particular EP that we had produced on our own with this guy named Rusty McCarthy. it was done in his basement and when we had the 300 copies, we had to slog him ourselves and sell 'em ourselves. So we had like this backyard party, at my parents' place.
I remember everybody coming and it was like a, a keg party and you got a, red solo cup and a, and a, and a cassette when we were near the end of high school, I guess it was. And I guess that was the first bit of, know, learning the business. that I had had, you know, recording, producing, manufacturing, the cassettes and then trying to slog 'em out there to your friends and, and try to get interest in people to come to any one of your shows.
The same thing with the, uh, battle of the Bands. At the time in high school, they were all over the place and these people would put the, together, these shows and get these bands on the bill, and the bands would be responsible for slogging the tickets. They'd make all the money, but the bands had stage to play on .
And, that was another sort of early introduction into it. But I used to read a lot about the music industry and how it worked during that time. Cause I was very interested, same as very interested in reading about how songwriters, created their craft. you know, at the time there was really, there was no cell phones.
So I was at the library all the time, going through sections of. material, uh, about the music industry and songwriting. And then we ended up signing with the tmp, the music publisher. And, the deal there was that we were all writers assigned to this publishing company and, the president of the publishing company was gonna go out and, and hunt for a label deal.
And he, succeeded and we were signed to Warner Music Canada a couple of years later and Stagger Crossing put out their record in 2001.
[00:03:43] Rosalyn: for a career that has spent, I guess over 20 years now, the music industry has, been turned on its head and back around and back on its head again a few times, you know, since then. And, well, I think the solo cup marketing idea would still, you know, still works now, you know, slogging the CDs isn't, exactly, the same as it was.
you know, how is it different, going from, coming into your own in, in your career during the time of CDs. You know, you're on a major label, kind of taking care of with this publishing deal, to then, going into, the DIY world basically like a different music industry
[00:04:22] Julian: Yeah, it's been a lot of, change For sure. So I think personally, and I, I've spoken to some of the people from back in the day, that if we had released our debut album on Warner Music Canada, maybe two years beforehand, I don't think we would've run into the same problems as we did. Cause our record came out in 2001, and in 2001, Napster hit full swing.
Really? I guess it was just bubbling under before that, and, and only a few people knew what it was, but all of a sudden it hit the mainstream. And, uh, pirating and down the downloading was really the norm at that time. I'm, I did it as well. I'm, I'm sure that anybody who was around at the time did, first out of interest and then out of ease, I guess.
I remember watching the Napster bars, The blue line would slowly fulfill your download.
we might've had record that would've sold a lot better had we been released a couple years. And so what happened to us was the record didn't do well. the industry, like you said, flipped on its head. it was funny because we went on tour as a support act for, I, I can't remember who it was now.
Might have been Spirit of the West or it might have been 54 40. cuz we spent a lot of time with those people. But on the way out we had reps in each city. and then on the way back, those people were let go. Unfortunately. I mean, a lot of people lost their jobs as a result of that. And we were.
Basically left to our own devices. And then very shortly after that we had, you know, we had management, we had major management, major publishing company, major label lawyers, the whole sort of thing that you, at that particular time looked like it was a go and then all of it fell to pieces within a year.
and we were still really, involved in wanting to make this dream come true. And, certainly I was, and, and the rest of my band mates and we stuck it out. Some of the band mates, fell to the wayside as well. They decided that, you know, there might not be a, a good enough living, to make in music and they wanted to start a family and things like that.
And, and, uh, we all continued to play together over the years. but it was at a necessity. So I had to figure out what to do next. And we had just recorded a demo with, Jay Bennett Wilco. He was in Wilco at the time. And we recorded this demo. We didn't have any other money. So, after management left and we had the masters for this record, decided that we would put it out best we could.
So it became a record called Last Summer when we were famous. still my favorite Stagger Crossing record actually. title got a little bit of slack from people in the industry, but we, we thought it was a laugh. It was just a joke. and so I ended up speaking to Maple Nationwide was around at the time, and that was before it became Maple Music.
It was just a distributor and it was just a website as well. I guess they were learning how the game was changing as well. And so they took us on as a distributor and, and distributed that record, uh, no, sorry, that's the next record. Outside music distributed last summer when we were famous. And, uh, that was basically the last deal that our manager had put in place before departed ways.
I think, you know, at the time we felt pretty burned, and burnt at the same time, you know, as young kids thinking that the dream was in our fingertips. and then gone. It was rather disheartening, and I've had to deal with that and sort of, we all chipped in. Uh, Jeremy would work on advancing shows and, and the production side of things.
He's a drummer of the band. Dan would help with publicity. and Dave, who was a guitar player who lives in Montreal, he would do finances and things like that. And I would do, promotions, radio and distribution, we just sort of learned as we went along. Funny thing is that now Jeremy works for psi, which is a production company.
And so his, learning curve with that paid off in that, regard. And I guess for me, I, I'm still doing a self-managed, organization that I've put together, and it seems to be working out all right. and who knows, you know, a couple years ago, actually, was it last year? Last year was our 20th anniversary of the first record.
So we all got together and bashed something out and put the anniversary of stagger crossing's first record together. So yeah, it's been, yeah, it was cool. It's been necessity, I guess. Um, and then I've had the opportunity and the honor and, and privilege to sort of be placed in different roles in the music industry regardless just to make a living.
done pretty much everything I can think of.
[00:08:31] Rosalyn: now you have a radio show, is that correct?
[00:08:34] Julian: I do. I didn't expect to get into that either. I was the drive host when Element FM in Toronto launched. They contacted me cuz they had heard me, uh, speak and do a playlist thing, my playlist on CBC and were interested in talking to me. So I'd never really. Been part of radio. I, I've always liked radio.
I've always thought that radio in Canada needed to be a little bit more inclusive. And so after, my resignation at Element fm, I decided to put together my own, uh, show called Julian Taylor's Jukebox. And what that does is I try to be a, as inclusive as I possibly can. Most of the music that I play is people like myself who are bipo.
You know, I'm a, I'm of mixed heritage and I really wanted to support indigenous music and I really wanted to support black music. I really wanted to support more women. I wanted to support more minorities and, you know, any denomination out there that I felt, uh, isn't getting the same sort of traction that others are.
the show's going well. Yeah, we're on about 85 stations across Canada and we're about to expand to, uh, the United States as well.
[00:09:34] Rosalyn: Oh, that's incredible. is there like a website where people
can find it?
[00:09:37] Julian: Julian Taylor's jukebox. Yeah, you just have to Google that and then you can find where it's on, each station in the country and you can, it's, it runs for one week, basically because it's carried on so many show stations across the country.
[00:09:48] Rosalyn: how do you put your playlist together? Uh, and where do you draw your inspiration from for the show?
[00:09:56] Julian: It's funny because Shazams now become a really big part of my life, and I never really used it before, but now that we're out and about and being able to go places, I find myself on Shazam a lot. Like whether it's in the grocery store or at you know, restaurant or whatever.
a lot of the times I just hear something and I like it and I just says it and then go from there. And that can sort of lead down a rabbit hole as well. Cause then you find different connections to the people that you're exploring and, and, and, and experiencing. I also, because I've been a musician for such a long time, I, I do have a, a really, close network of musician friends that are part of the community, large.
And it doesn't really matter what genre they're in, cuz I've sort of split my, my mind and my body and soul into so many different incarnations. so I'm always looking to my peers for what they're releasing and what they have released in the past. And like I said, that will take you down a rabbit hole as well.
up some of my favorite music I always go towards that kind of light. I loved hip hop, growing up. Jazz, blues, country music, folk music, rock and roll. R and b, all those things are really, really important to me. Um, I have played some classical songs on the radio show too.
it's rare, but you know,
[00:11:06] Rosalyn: recently you, were on, Giro Buchanan's Folk Recovery.
[00:11:11] Julian: I was, yeah,
[00:11:12] Rosalyn: had a great interview on there and, I'm a big fan of that project. And, mention mentioned at one point in your interview there that you were kind of, I dunno, maybe like reluctantly pulled into the world of folk in some way.
can you tell me a little bit? Maybe about like what, what you think, folk is and, and, feel your connection to that,
[00:11:30] Julian: Well, first and foremost, don't really feel like I was pulled into it accidentally. I, I almost feel like everything in my career has been accidental, but you can't really look at it that way. You, you end up being in a certain place at a certain time, and that's never an accident. So, you know, it's, it's funny, I, I joke about it, but I, I realize that everything's happening for, uh, a reason and that the universe is certainly unfolding the way that it should.
whether that's difficult to, uh, accept or, or whether that's easy to accept, it's a little ins sinuous for me to think that I have any control over that. So, comes to folk music, I think that, for me, the, the real connection probably comes from the fact that My family's from two, distinctive, oral traditions, you know, African and indigenous.
And a lot of those stories, that we have are passed down through, the oral tradition. We don't really have a lot of history books that's changing obviously. but uh, that's probably something that runs through my, my veins and my blood and my spirit just in general. And another thing that I always seem to, uh, include in my work is the natural world, because I was taught that at a very young age as well.
And the natural world's very important. I always say that the elements, all of them have everything us that we need to, learn here on this planet. And they do. you can learn everything from the elements and from the natural world because it holds the key to everything that we're actually searching for.
And so I keep that a part of my work and I think that's part of folk music. people ask me what type of music might. I create, I usually tell them that it's roots music, because I feel so connected to the natural world. but I also, I was having this conversation, now somebody asked me to define folk music and I said, well, it's people singing it, folk singing it, um, maybe, um, but country music, blues, r and b, bluegrass, even soul music and rhythm and blues, singer songwriter stuff, which I, I, it's another sort of hard thing to define as well.
But when I look at folk music, sometimes I think maybe it's an organic sort of sounding thing. Maybe it's because of the organic use of the instruments and, and because they are our organic instruments and the voice is an org organic sort of, instrument as well. Maybe that's what folk music is.
[00:13:35] Rosalyn: I, I love that along with the connection to the elements. there's also the, connection to, story and to, Personal history and you put so much of that into your music. you have some really beautiful lyrics, you know, just describing, growing up and describing like scenes from, growing up and, and telling, your family's is that something that you always did or was that, kind of a part of the evolution of your songwriting?
[00:13:59] Julian: I think it, it's a little bit of both. personally I feel like I always did that, but when I go back and listen to some of my music, I realize that I was in a different place and a different space. And, and that's okay too. Some of the earlier lyrics, in the stagger crossing world to talk about frustration.
And I, I feel that in, for example, the record last summer when we were famous, you can feel that frustration not only in the lyrics, but in the instrumentation and how it's, delivered and that was what was happening at the time. and then further on in the career, there's. there's songs about love.
There's songs about, you know, having fun and, and there's songs about sex, and there's songs about food, and there's songs about sleeping and there's songs. So I always felt that I was telling the story anyways, but maybe I wasn't doing it in such a descriptive manner. more recently I would say that the album Avalanche by the Julian Taylor Band, is the real turning point in terms of the lyrics touching a different sort of, descriptive, way of portraying the stories that I've been telling.
But like I said, I'm, people have always said, wow, you're a folk musician now. And I've, I've listened to all my material from the very beginning and thought, well, if you break it down, I've always been that,
[00:15:07] Rosalyn: since I'm diving a bit into your, catalog, can you tell me about, where Seeds comes from and a little bit of the story behind that song?
[00:15:14] Julian: that was written pretty much days after the announcement of the 215 unmarked bodies found in Camloops, not far along from when George Floyd was suffocated as well. There was a lot of angst and a lot of hurt, and a lot of pain.
going around the world, certainly I felt it in my heart and my, I know my family did. I, I remember getting a phone call from my mom and people had always told us about these stories, and, and it wasn't really a surprise, but for her, she just sort of cried and said, it's like a sweet paint. It's like a bruise, you know?
It's there and now everybody else knows it's there cuz you can see it. Finally. and at that time my cousin sent me a text and it really just simply said, they tried to bury us, but they didn't know we were seats. That's the text that I got from my cousin
Ajika. And, uh, I just looked it at that and I, I just wrote it back.
I'm like, well, I gotta write a song now. And so I started writing the song and I was speaking to another friend of mine who's a poet and, and I'm really lucky in, in terms of. He's been around since the days of the music publisher when I met him with Frank Davies. So he's known me since, I was a kid when we got signed way back.
And he was a writer, a guy named Robert Priest. And Robert is one of those wonderful people that I show my work to. He's like an editor for what I do. And I'm really grateful that I have people like that in my life that I can, before anything goes to print or, or goes to record, I, I send it to them. I'm like, what do you think?
And Robert always comes back. He says, well, I think this and I think that, have you thought of this? Have you thought of that? And so when that kept going, bouncing back and forth, he, uh, had his 2 cents in into what he felt I wanted to say. And it's really nice to have a person who knows you so well that almost speaks like you.
And so Robert and I finished the, the, the song together, uh, lyrically melodically and, and musically. I had finished the song already. I mean, there's, there's so many things that I'm sitting on that I've finished all the melodies and all the music, but the lyrics I just slave over a little bit longer than want to really.
that's what that song's about. But what's interesting about that song, and I was just in Europe for a month touring for the first time, and it's a song that really translated to people there too. even though the song was written In retrospect and, and, about persistence, about perseverance, about strength and courage from my own family's heritage point of view, what was so shocking to me is that it took on a new life over there.
in the audience in Germany, there were people who had, grandparents who were Holocaust survivors in the audience, and they, they didn't realize that the song was written about the indigeneity and the, the things that are happening here in Canada. And it really didn't matter to them until I told them that.
Because they took it on and it had its own meaning for them terms of how their family had struggled with those issues and, genocide. And I was surprised. you can't really go into a situation when you write a song and think that that's how it's gonna end up being, but that's what happened.
[00:18:10] Rosalyn: you know those moments when you like remember when you heard like an artist for the first time or like a type of music
or something. That was like that song for me. I can remember like the exact moment when I heard that song and Yeah,
[00:18:20] Julian: Wow.
[00:18:21] Rosalyn: it last summer you performed it at the, uh, cultivate Festival and I like, just had tears going down. It's just, it just, was really overwhelmingly so gorgeous and has been, stuck in my head ever since. It's, it's really, Incredible. If, if, if anybody hasn't heard it yet, You fools, go out and look it up right now.
download it, pay for it however you can.
[00:18:44] Julian: Now I don't know what to do next.
what are you gonna do? Right? You, you can do it anyways. Just ride, ride the wave. I'm actually, you know, speaking of my back catalog, one of the things that I am gonna do is because when I went to Europe, I realized that nobody's ever heard of me. they've heard the ridge and they've heard beyond the reservoir, but they hadn't heard anything else.
And I've been around for 20 years. So there were some sets where I decided that I would just go back and see what would happen if I played something older and it went over very well. And so what I'm, I've decided now while I'm writing the next record, I'm gonna go back and I'm gonna re release, uh, the Julian Taylor anthology
and then get it.
Over there and see how that goes. Because there's 20 years of music that they've never heard. And it might might happen here too. I mean, some people may not have heard some of the things. So I got, I'm gonna go back and carefully choose songs from the past. maybe find some things that were unrecorded and unreleased and, and go ahead and, and go back and do, do them over find a definitive version
and release the anthology.
Might as well 25 years in. Right?
[00:19:44] Rosalyn: Yeah. What a celebration.
[00:19:46] Julian: that'll come out before the next record.
[00:19:48] Rosalyn: looking forward to that. oh, and, speaking another hat that you wear. I wanted to give a, special shout on and thank you to you for your hosting our folk music awards.
[00:19:57] Julian: That was fun. I'd never done anything like that, so thank you for asking me. I hope I did. Okay.
[00:20:02] Rosalyn: you did a great job. that was fantastic. Speaking of celebrations too, that was a really fun,
It was, uh, Amazing to have you there. And it was neat to come back. I didn't know if anyone would come back after the pandemic,
[00:20:13] Julian: They're coming back. It's nice, isn't it?
[00:20:15] Rosalyn: Yeah. Yeah, it is really nice. how was that for you? Like emerging from that time and, and getting back into the swing of things?
[00:20:23] Julian: it was difficult to be honest with you. when I first started to gig again and I was worried while I was at home, cause most of the contents that I would do were online, sort of like what we're doing now in a, in a podcast sort of formation Before the pandemic. singing and playing guitar and playing piano is something that I always did, but as well as doing it at home, I would get a chance to do it out in front of people.
And when you do it out in front of people, I think there's a different sort of elevation and, and strength and e courage that you push forward, whether it's through your voice or through your guitar playing or, or your, you know, playing at all. And it's just a different thing at home. Sometimes I'm sitting there and I'm not really putting any real force or energy into something.
I'm trying to figure things out more so, and practice things rather than, command my body to push forward that strength and, and, and, and whatnot that's needed. And so I was really worried because at one point during the pandemic my hands started to freeze up and I thought I was getting arthritis.
Now I'm, I very well maybe getting like early onset arthritis in my body because it runs through my family. But, Since I've been back. When I first started back, it was hurting really badly. And now that I've been playing a lot more, the pain's gone away. It's like the muscle that you gotta use. And the same thing with my voice.
I wasn't able to hit notes, while sitting at home the way that I used to hit when I was out performing. And for a while I was really worried that I wasn't gonna be able to sing in the same capacity that I had before. I was also having I'm, and still having some trouble remembering, lyrics. but it's coming back.
It's stronger than ever now. I think, uh, it just has taken pretty much, a year for it to actually come back the way that I was used to.
[00:22:00] Rosalyn: are you approaching your career in the same way? in terms of booking or, or how you're touring and, um, is, has it been the kind of same approach or, or have you come at it in a little bit of a different,
from a different angle this time around?
[00:22:13] Julian: I think I'm busier than I've ever been. I'm traveling to places that I've never been. I finally, Actually picked up an, an agent at Folk Music Ontario and Folk Alliance in the United States, as well as one in the uk. So I'm going to those places, which I, I wish I had gone there sooner.
and my body was younger than it is, and, and maybe I have a daughter at 11 years old. So that's, that's tricky. But I'm doing my best. I'm trying to make sure that I get out there and, and pursue this lifelong dream of, reaching people with a message that I think's important.
And as long as I, I keep that in mind, I think that it'll work. Like you said, you know, it's such a different industry now. I mean, when the pandemic hit, it was the booking agents in the booking world and the performance world that really took the hit, not like previous years where it was, distributors and the labels with the Napster stuff.
So I think everybody's had their fair share now. the shows are coming back. I don't know if I'm approaching it differently other than thinking that, you know, I want to stay at with this for a long time. I also hate being away from home for that long too. It's really difficult and it does weigh on my heart and my soul.
So trying to balance, that's really tricky. sometimes I think to myself, like, why do this to, to me and my family and maybe I should just find a, a publishing deal and, and sit at home and write songs for other people so I can be around. So who knows if that's maybe another stage of the game where that might happen.
I love playing live, so I don't think I'll ever stop doing that. But right now, people want to see me play and, and are willing to show up and buy some tickets and, and that's something that I can't squander. I, I'm really grateful and honored that they would. It's a privilege really. So I'm showing up.
[00:23:49] Rosalyn: yeah, I wanted to ask you about, parenting in, in the music industry and, because it's, you know, well, parenting isn't easy
anyways, and uh,
[00:23:57] Julian: difficult. Like, all children should have a warning label on their
forehead along with their name tag, but Oh my god. Yeah. No, it's tricky. And we're a chosen family in a lot of ways.
So my daughter and, and her mom and I have been separated for most of her actually all of her life. and, she goes back and forth from either home. have a good relationship and there are other people, you know, That are part of our chosen family that are our, parent figures to, to my daughter on both sides.
And they're very wonderful people too. And their families are wonderful. So we have a big sort of support network. but it is also tricky in terms of like, I suppose that if we all like her mom and myself and I, if we had stayed together and lived in the same home, maybe me going away wouldn't be as hard because the time that I'm supposed to be with her ends up falling on somebody else like my parents or somebody else within our chosen family.
not easy, for her or for me or for them. And wouldn't be easy if we were all like a unit living under the same roof either, but maybe when I got back it would be all on me. And, you know, so It's tricky, uh, in, at the best of times. And it's like you said, it's tricky just being a parent.
Like, you know, I'm, I'm at that stage where she's getting older and, and I'm getting a lot of side eye and things like that, and it's like, oh man, door's shut now, and to the room. And I'm like, here it comes,
[00:25:23] Rosalyn: Buckle
[00:25:24] Julian: buckle. Well, you have to buckle up at every age, I think. Right. And it's so funny, I, I don't know about for you as, as being a mother, but it seems like for me every two weeks or three weeks, once you felt like you had a handle on it, all of a sudden it would change.
and you gotta navigate through this now It takes three weeks to figure it out and then it changes again.
[00:25:44] Rosalyn: Yeah. it's a tough one, and I don't know anyone who's like written the textbook on it, Yeah. What a balance. And, you know, it's cool. you know, you had taken your, your family with you
to the Junos, recently. when you, include your family in, part of what you do?
do you, do you get at least like a little bit of like, oh my dad's cool.
[00:26:04] Julian: like she got to meet Maestro Fresh West and I got like, my dad is kind of cool. Same with like at the, the broadcast awards when um, I guess it's Tate McCrae that she's a fan of. She came out and there was fireworks and dad was cool for a minute, especially cuz I had the french fries as well in my lap.
You know, I had the, uh, Sprite and the french fries and that was, that's pretty cool.
[00:26:26] Rosalyn: That buys you points for
[00:26:28] Julian: Hey, you know what? Food can buy you points anywhere. You don't have to be an 11 year old. You, you can be two to 200 and food will always get you some sort of points.
[00:26:38] Rosalyn: we talked a little bit about the pandemic, but Some folks aren't emerging as triumphantly from it, I think there's still some, some hesitation and, and, you know, some grieving that's going on, generally in the industry.
And, you have some, advice for folks who are, who are kind of struggling to get back up on their feet after this disruption?
[00:26:57] Julian: Well, I would think that maybe one of the most important things to say about that is that whether or not somebody looks like they've landed on their feet and things are going really well, that they are also going through, uh, very similar things. social media is not helping, our psyche in terms of what actually goes on in the lives of people and how they're feeling about what is going on in their lives.
I mean, for me, I, I'm still, scarred from a lot of the things that have happened over the last few years and, and certainly throughout my entire life. and trying to, to deal with those traumatic things is always a, a battle.
And, one of the things I always say is that every one of us is suffering from some varying degree of mental illness. the reason I know that is because we don't wake up every day feeling the same. You know, there are days where I have more energy than I, to do with.
And there are days that I have none. Uh, some days I wake up really worried and anxious or sad, and there's some days I feel really happy and, and accomplished. And I think that we have to stop judging ourselves on what we are doing out there in the world, and more. Just looking towards ourself as to what we're doing for ourselves so that we can help, bridge that gap with the outside world.
When I listen to the outside world, that's when I feel the worst. When I listen to my heart and when I listen to the people who love me, that's when I feel the best. And it's very easy to let outside voices in. So I would say that do your best. Keep your guard up. Know who loves you the most, allow them to love you the most, and allow yourself to be loved the most.
[00:28:29] Rosalyn: that's beautiful advice. And in the, pre-interview chat the word resiliency came up and, there's certain ebbs and flows and, and you were talking about, you know, the earlier career as well, and like some trauma that was, there in, in, in that journey.
and you've, kind of built this. beautiful resiliency to your career. does it feel that way? do you feel stronger now before?
[00:28:53] Julian: sometimes,
yeah, not all the time, but sometimes I do I feel like I've cut my teeth in this country, and it's been a wonderful learning experience. It's been hard. I can't deny that I've been beat down a lot in terms of. What I've wanted for my own career, I've realized that, you know, all of those things are really important though.
and I'm not so frustrated by my losses, cuz I don't really count them as losses anymore. It's a difficult way to, to look at the world because it's very easy, like I said, to allow outside voices in. And those outside voices can be inside your head. Do you know what I mean? When you look at what somebody else is doing with their life and career and, and, and I guess envy, jealousy, those kind of things sort of pop into your mind rather quickly because we're only human.
but celebrate your wins and you know, you have so many, like every human, I believe is a genius and has a countless number of wins on their belts. They may not realize that, but you, your, your life has been, blessed with so many wins. Even your losses can be looked at, at, at that way. You know, they're there to teach you certain things about yourself and about others.
And my losses have taught me so much about what I care about and, and what, what matters to me. I'm not perfect in any shape or form, and I never will be. I will have more losses and more wins in my life, but I'd like to look at them as wins, as lessons as that needed to be learned. You know, even past relationships that didn't work out, things like that.
That really hurt my heart still. And I have to look at it and say, you know, that was then, and this was a lesson that needed to be learned. And have I learned that lesson and asked myself those questions? Sometimes I haven't, and sometimes I have, and sometimes I'm still in the process of, of actually trying to digest the information.
That, has been, given to me.
[00:30:45] Rosalyn: is there a way that you, find inspiration or, or, or find like a creative spark to pick up the guitar or to maybe write a song or to, even just to practice
[00:30:56] Julian: I wish I practiced more, to be honest with you. But, inspiration comes from all sorts of things. like I was walking home yesterday, and, somebody, the street asked me for some money. I didn't have any, uh, like any change or anything like that, but I could tell that the person was, very cautious in, in, in their approach towards me.
Maybe it was them anxious, maybe they were embarrassed, I don't know. But what they said to me in return was something that I wrote down right away. and they just looked at me and I said, no, I didn't have anything. They just turned and they looked at me and they, I mean, you no harm. And as soon as they said that, that sparked something in my heart, in my mind, and I knew that that person meant me no harm.
And I, I wondered what, what it was about me and my reaction in that situation made them feel that they might need to say that. And so it took me a moment to, to reflect on those simple words and their, their words that you hear a lot. I mean, you no harm. And then you can reflect those words in, into your own psyche and, as well as the person that you're communicating or, or, or attempting to connect with and why that is something that has come to fruition.
And so it really ha, it sparked an interest in my mind. And I kept exploring why do people say that and what do they actually mean by that? And so I started working on that. I mean, you No harm. It's something that I find inspiration is right in front of us all the time. And as a writer, what I've learned over the past years is that I, I actually don't have to go too far.
Like I can describe the tiles of my bathroom. People will understand what I'm talking about, you know, or describe the scent when you walk into someone's house or something like that. describing that scent and that smell is an inspiration to me.
Maybe it's the way somebody smells and, and when you hug them like It always really strikes something in me. All of those senses. All of those things are elements of my work that I, I really try to, I pay more attention to smaller details than I do to larger ones, is what I'm trying to say.
[00:32:48] Rosalyn: Interesting. And, maybe those smaller details are, know, some of the most relatable ones
[00:32:53] Julian: I think so, yeah. Like I remember in one of my songs on the, on the new record, and I think it's my favorite line on the, on, in the record was, it's a reference to a Stephen still song because records are something that are a big part of my life. And it was about a relationship and the, and the lyric says, love the one you're with kept repeating in my mind, recalibrating that fine line.
I loved that lyric. I, I thought, oh my goodness, I wrote that. That's neat. sometimes you don't know, you just gotta go for it.
[00:33:21] Rosalyn: on in the conversation. cause you were talking about the person in your life That you send your work to and like the, the people that, you collaborate with.
can you tell me a little bit more about like, the importance of, of those kinds of relationships where you have that, trust to be able to share your work and collaborate on, on your work.
[00:33:38] Julian: I find it important to. Collaborate with other people. I mean, I write a lot of songs on my own, but I also write a lot of songs with other people. there's a handful of people that I really, really, really trust, like Robert Priest and, Rosie Baker Thorn, and, uh, Ellis, and then some of my band mates from the past and things like that.
They have to really know you and you have to really know them for, for me, in terms of, what I would share on, on a project that I would create. But I've also written with other people where you, you get into a room and you're, you're, you're instructed to do, to do something completely different. I find that actually easier.
I've always said that if you walk into a room with somebody else, uh, and you don't have something happening within a couple hours, that you should walk away. Now, that doesn't mean that you have to walk away from that person entirely because two days later you could walk into the same room with the same person and something could come out.
I really do reflect as a writer, uh, like I said, like the natural world has all the answers that we are looking for. I really do believe that all the songs in the world that we will ever hear and have heard are just floating in the air. And it's up to people to pick them out of the air and put them to, to music, but they're all there, every single one of them.
And so I like writing with other people because they have that same, intuition. It's not a talent, it's just intuition. It's following your heart and your gut. And everybody who says to me, oh, I couldn't be a songwriter. I'm like, absolutely you can. If you can follow your intuition and your gut, then you are able to create something out of thin air, even if that's a conversation with somebody.
And I think everybody has that. So that's why I all, I say we're all geniuses cuz we create stuff outta nothing all the time. Even when we're worried about things.
we create a lot of something outta nothing a lot of the time, which means we're geniuses.
[00:35:21] Rosalyn: People have created whole shows that are nothing.
[00:35:24] Julian: Yeah, exactly. There you go.
[00:35:27] Rosalyn: so what, what do you have, coming up? Let us know a little bit about, what we can look forward to, summer months.
[00:35:33] Julian: well, I'm playing a couple festivals, Winnipeg, folk Festival announced, uh, and I'm so happy to be on that bill. Also, I'm going back to the UK for the Cambridge, folk Festival and a couple dates there. Really enjoyed, performing for audiences in Great Britain and in Europe. I was in Germany and, the Netherlands, Brussels.
I'd like to go back and hit Switzerland, but I'm gonna try to get over there as much as I can. I realize that it takes 20 hours to get to Thunder Bay, and it takes two hours to get to Cambridge and then another two hours to get to Manchester and another two to Liverpool. It just seems after, you know, 20 years of slogging it out here it might be easier on my body.
And I gotta think about that. I'm 45 years old, so I'm not No. Spring chicken, you
know? So I'm gonna be going back there. I got a bunch more shows here in, in Canada, some stuff in the United States, like I mentioned earlier. I I'm gonna put together the anthology very, very excited about getting to work on that.
And, I've got a few songs, in play for the next record. I am grappling with the idea of how to, put this record together, cuz I know I've been super deep on the last few. it's something that I guess is just who I am. So it will probably end up coming out that way a little bit, but, It was funny, I, I was in Liverpool and two guys started yelling at me and they were just heckling me, during the second set.
They didn't heckle me during the first set, cuz I guess they went and had a few more drinks, but they decided that they would heckle me in the second set. And they were like, man, these are so depressing. We're so depressed. Wha wha wha. And I'm like, oh my God. All right. Well I better, I better figure something out because they're getting depressed.
I'm depressing them with all of these sad, deep songs. And maybe I need to work on some songs, some that are a little bit more joyous.
[00:37:26] Rosalyn: I have like an image of like, we just need those, we need those guys at every gig.
[00:37:30] Julian: Right.
[00:37:31] Rosalyn: just to like come in when the songs get too sad. You know, all of a sudden the two guys from Love for Pool will
pop up at your, at your gig.
[00:37:40] Julian: And they're just like two dudes that are like few sauces in and they're just like, man, come on. We know we, uh, we get it. You're sad.
So I was actually very grateful for their, interruption and their fodder because it, I did have to turn on a dime which is when I had to go into my back catalog and sort of like find happier, upbeat things that the audience could. gravitate to, and they're like, all right, okay.
And so it made me realize that maybe on this next effort I can let go of some of the stuff that I've been holding onto and, and just ease a bit, you know, it might be nice for me as well.
[00:38:18] Rosalyn: it's certainly neat to find yourself in the place where maybe that's just a natural.
[00:38:23] Julian: Yeah.
I know myself there's gonna be stuff that is deep and sad and depressing cuz definitely one of those people. Uh, that writes about those things because I feel them so heavily. but it might be nice to have a jig here or there,
[00:38:38] Rosalyn: so Julian, where can folks go to, uh, find out more about you and your music?
[00:38:43] Julian: Well, uh, I do have a website. It's called Julian Taylor music.ca. And, uh, Julian Taylor music is all my socials as well. you can check out and see where I'm playing and, and come actually, and visit me in person. I, I'm a big hugger.
[00:38:58] Rosalyn: well, Julian, it was so, so nice to see you. So nice to chat with
um, please come back and, and let's do it again.
[00:39:05] Julian: would love to, I can't wait to see you in person and, uh, best to you and your family and, and feel better.