The music industry is unique in the fact that it can not only offer us the listener the opportunity to listen to our heroes, but also offer up some wonderfully talented look/sound-alikes.
In this world of tribute artists, some shine more than others. One such stand out star is Julie C. Myers, who takes to the stage performing the work of Fleetwood Mac and solo star Stevie Nicks.
Fame’s Phil Allely tracked down Julie to learn more about her musical career, her aspirations and so much more. Here are the highlights of Phil’s chat with the vocalistHi Julie, you are a tribute artist and perform the work associated with the legendary Stevie Nicks. What made you make this career decision?
It really is a bit of a long story. I was a theatre major in College and have been a dancer and performer for most of my adult life with some fairly prestigious postings… but some years ago, my long term boy friend passed away unexpectedly… and that event plus a dance related injury hijacked my career as a dancer/backup singer to celebrity stage shows.
I decided my dance career was over and I should probably pursue a career in another interest of mine, skin care. I went to school and got my license and for some years work with Ole’s, as in Ole Henricksen’s Skin Care and Spa to the stars in Hollywood.
This detour was not all negative as I got to meet and know many of the biggest stars in the entertainment business.
I would meet people like Cher, Mark Wahlberg, Christina Applegate, and others, and be invited to birthday parties and people like Vanna White would bring me produce from her garden. I was living the dream!
Some years ago now, my father took ill with Alzheimer’s disease and I left that work to move to Florida to help my mother with his care.
He passed away in just a few years and I was back to making career decisions. I knew I missed the stage but was thinking I’d go back into skin care in some way and did begin to work with a spa in Florida, trying to stay close to my mother so I could help her adjust to single life.
About that point people began telling me I resembled Stevie (Nicks) wherever I went.
I found it interesting that it had never really happened before and suddenly it was happening all the time! Whatever the reason, I decided I should do something with this… and I began studying Stevie, as if I was getting ready for a role in a Movie as I’d learned in Theater.
As soon as I felt I was ready, I landed a role in a longer term contract at a Casino in California doing an impression of her playing three nights a week… and I suppose it’s grown from there.
Was Stevie a hero of yours?
I always loved her music…. but I can’t say she was a hero or and idol. I have a very broad taste in music and performers don’t tend to become “heroes” or any such thing…. perhaps because of my exposure to these people or having been in the entertainment business all my life.
I like a lot of Rock, love the Blues, like some Country, some Classical, a little Reggae, a little soft Rap, and I’m still looking for some Gangster Rap I can truly enjoy.
I tend to like individual songs artists release but rarely their entire catalogue. With Stevie, I like virtually every song she’s released… but even there I do have my favourites.
Much of her music is timeless and destined to become standards a lot like many of the tunes by the Beatles.
What does a typical set for ‘Nearly Nicks’ consist of?
I would try to make sure to lead off with some of the most recognizable songs even Non-Stevie fans have heard and can identify with to draw them in. I would make sure I covered some of my personal favourites, many of which are NOT quite as main stream.
I’m thinking of Somebody Stand By Me and After The Glitter Fades here. Somebody Stand by Me is really Blues song… and having grown up in the Memphis Blues scene, it’s one of my favourites. After the Glitter is essentially a country song and appeals to another slightly different subgroup of people.
fter these I usually cover a couple of songs off her Latest album in an effort to help promote that. During the last third of the show I usually get back to all the timeless classics. While, for identification purposes, I try to look like she has more recently, I work at doing her songs with the energy and drive she did them with back in the mid eighties.
My object is always to make sure everyone walking out is a big Stevie Nicks fan… and I think I’ve been modestly successful at doing this.
Have you received any cool celebrity endorsements?
I have… but many of which are not things I feel free to talk about. Celebrities are entitled to their private lives and not everything that comes out of their mouths should be assumed to be okay to pass on for public consumption.
I think I’d like to honour that privacy. I will say that I’ve had some really amazing conversations with people close to the real Stevie Nicks… such as current and past members of Fleetwood Mac, Stevie’s Ex-Husband, and other people in her employ.
Have you met Stevie?
I have shaken her hand in a situation where there were a ton of people clamouring for her attention… but never met her in a one on one situation. That is something I’d cherish forever.
I want that to happen and need to thank her for making, what has by now become a big part of me, possible…. and maybe ask her what, in her eyes, more I could do that would help her publicity and service her fan base.
What did you aspire to be before the opportunity came up to take this career path?
I find that question hard to answer… because I was in a state of personal reflection and career path review when this work seemingly found ME! I feel like it has been almost a divine calling in the way this has come about.
Strangely enough, when I look at old photos, I didn’t look like Stevie all my life. It’s like my face somehow Morphed INTO Stevie’s over the last 7 or so years… and I swear I haven’t had any plastic surgery either!!
Very strange. I’ve always enjoyed performing and I have a feeling that is what I was headed back to regardless of whether or not I would have been “recruited” into this. This has given me an audience for music of my own as well.
Julie do you write your own material too?
I do and I enjoy working on it. I also enjoy doing remakes and covers of other artist’s work. I have my own recording studio and spend a fair bit of time there these days.
I am becoming fairly well known because of the Nearly Nicks act and it has been a kind of lever to help people pay attention to music of my own.
I would never have originally thought to become a recording artist and musical personality on my own… but this has served to “Jump Start” my career as a recording artist as myself.
Have you any unfulfilled ambitions?
I suppose right now, I need to do some more recording and get an album together. I have people asking about that and I have enough material. I enjoy being an “Actress” … which is what being a Tribute Artist is really all about.
I have recently discovered that I can do a pretty good job of mimicking Linda Ronstadt’s voice… and with a dark wig, I actually look a lot like her as well! So this is fast becoming ANOTHER avenue to spending time on stage.
I am somewhat unique in having a singing range that is beyond normal and much lower than most women… something I share with Linda and Stevie. It makes it possible to sing a lot of songs originally sung by men… and remaking some of them in a female voice gives them a whole new twist that some people really enjoy.
I also would love to portray Stevie in a more Theatrical way… whether on the stage or screen. I know I could do it convincingly and would LOVE that challenge.
You of course play many gigs in a year. Can you tell our readers what it is like to be a tribute artist such as yourself, how often are you on the road?
I have been very selective in the gigs I take on. Firstly, I am not really trying to be a Fleetwood Mac tribute… more of a Stevie Nicks Solo Career girl. Some would say I’m too fussy. I’d rather have 6 or 8 great concerts in respectable larger venues than playing in smoky bars and the like every weekend. I simply don’t do a lot of that any more.
I’m not very consistent in that as I DO like to play the odd wedding… which is usually just a small, more intimate, affair. They are just a lot of fun. I am gregarious to a fault. I love the environment and people are always so unbelievably grateful and I like all the personal interaction after the show.
I admit to feeding off of that. Having said all that, I find myself on a plane at least once a month on average… sometimes a fair bit more often being that my mother lives half a world away. I played with the Dallas Symphony for three nights in March and that is the kind of thing I’d like to do more often.
I AM doing a 9 date tour of Florida (Partially so my mother can take some of them in and I can be close to her for a few weeks..) starting mid February but that isn’t the norm for me. I may start doing more touring but this will be a trial run.
It doesn’t look like my travel will get less in the near future. Personally, I’m agitating for a private plane cause I really dislike commercial air travel with the multiple transfers and stops you need to make these days.
Finally Julie, what do you do to relax when you are off stage?
Besides the fact that social media tends to vacuum up any spare minutes we have in a day, I still find time to hang out with friends and spend a fair bit of time in my studio. I am totally getting into the writing and recording thing.
It’s very satisfying to get a track down that you are ACTUALLY happy with. It’s not often a “one-take” kind of situation. I am lucky enough not to HAVE to work for a living but I do it cause I truly love it. Love love love it!
If I can inject a little bit of joy in someone’s life with what I do, I go away motivated to do it again and do even better next time. Many people do not realize that I am actually married… since January of this year. Until then, my life pretty much mirrored the real Stevie’s. My husband thinks I need to keep it that way as some of the appeal I have with fans is maybe slightly sexual.
I know that’s kind of naughty… but it’s done all the time and it seems people like me to give an understated appearance of availability. I say that in order to tell you that beyond anything related to work, I enjoy traveling with him and going on short motorcycle trips, etc. We spend a lot of time in our hot tub and attend every music concert of the older rock star era we can muster.
I STILL have never seen the Rolling Stones live and I need to check that off the bucket list before they quit for good as well. Gonna see Mark Knopfler and Bob Dylan October 5th… so that’s the next one. We have a lot of fun together! Lately, I’ve been working on designs and contracts with a Jewelry company to make stuff for me to sell (The same one that made my Engagement Ring. You HAVE to see that some day!) … as well as other Merchandise reflecting what I do.
I’ve also been helping my management company, Sound Track of Our Lives Productions, put a new website together for me. That takes a ton of time. Not relaxing, but it has been fun just the same. The site should be live as of Sept 1st with a few modifications to come in Late Sept.
You can also contact Julie via Facebook under Nearly Nicks.
By Phil Allely