KC Q&A with Julia Haile
Singer/songwriter Julia Haile talks favorite post-gig spots to eat, best places to perform in the Kansas City area, as well as a bit of insight into her songwriting process and personal inspirations.
Favorite place to perform
"For an intimate feel, I love being at Ça Va in Westport."
Favorite Post-Gig Spot to Eat
"One of my faves now is Il Lazzarone. The pizza is really good and I dig the cocktail menu."
The full interview
Q: From big to small and classic to state-of-the-art, there’s a ton of great venues in Kansas City. Where’s your favorite place to perform?
There are a lot of great places! I guess some of my favorites range in size. For an intimate feel I love being at Ça Va in Westport. Drippy candles, low light and just being tucked in the corner of the small setting is nice. When you're a table away from people you really feel like you have their attention. And then I love looking out from the stage at Crossroads KC. It's the quintessential summer venue! I've had great times at both places.
Q: You’ve ventured into the realm of original songwriting. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve seen when writing and performing your own songs?
Singing someone else's tunes is easy because you can hide behind their emotions. Even if you've never experienced what they wrote about you can play the part. It's not always easy to be yourself! Writing from the heart can be nerve-racking. You wonder how people will view you after a glimpse into your soul. I'm still learning how to overcome that feeling. It's a mix of writing about my own experiences, stretching my imagination and creating stories and scenarios that reflect the time I'm living in.
Q: Kansas City finds itself at what feels to be a pivotal moment in its history. The arts are as important as ever, and music plays a huge role in the City’s culture. Where do you see it heading in the years to come?
I think we can expect some great things to come. As we see the growth emerging in the city, it will only attract more people who want to create and contribute to the scene. It's so fun to witness! New venues, new galleries and so many events that have something for everyone.
Q: You’re probably more in tune with the scene than a lot of other people in town. What artists are on the rise?
When you play regular gigs, it's not always easy to get out and see the people you want to see! But there are bands that I love to catch. I dig Boogaloo 7. Seeing them in a place like Green Lady Lounge really feels like you’re stepping into another little world. The music really swings!
I love the Grisly Hand too. I've known Lauren for years now and enjoy hearing her sing. Seeing your friends do their thing is always fun. I can listen to Lee Langston sing soulful tunes and in the same night hear The Conquerors play rock ‘n’ roll.
Q: First Fridays recently expanded into the 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District, which could bring jazz and blues music to many locals and visitors who weren’t previously familiar with its heritage here. What impact do you think this will have on KC?
I think that is so great for KC. The history of that area and the community that has kept it alive deserve to be seen and heard. People should know of the milestones that were set and how Kansas City had a hand in creating some great music of the age. I hope focusing on 18th & Vine will inspire a new generation of musicians to work here in their hometown.
Q: Artists seem less constrained by the concept of fitting neatly into their respective “genres,” resulting in music that represents a fusion of sounds, styles and production. How do you view yourself as an artist now and moving forward?
The new band I'm in, Hi-Lüx, is a perfect example of that. Someone asked me about the sound before our last show at The Record Bar and I was stumped for an answer to give them. I'm fortunate to work with guys who are so multi-talented. They can do it all and still know and play what they really love. It's fun to witness.
Q: Which musician or group has been most influential to your development as a performer and artist?
That's a very hard question! When I was much younger and learning about music and my own voice I was obsessed with Ella Fitzgerald. Her voice was (and still is) one of the most unique and beautiful ever. And as I was listening to her I was learning a lot about music in general. It prepared me for being able to jump around the genres and helped me find my place.
As an adult, I continue to be inspired by the late Amy Winehouse. And specifically her style of songwriting. She had a way of painting a picture of her world that is unlike any artist.
Q: What’s a song that you can’t stop listening to and you don’t care who knows?
Well, I've had Beyonce's “Lemonade” album on repeat. And also, for some reason, the summer season hits and I wanna listen to 70's disco. But if I'm not going to lie and will be true to my girly self...I love Gwen Stefani's song “Make Me Like You”...it's pop at its finest. There, I said it!
Q: Let’s say that you have a visitor in town for the day and you want to show them a great time—the best of what you think KC has to offer. What’s your day look like?
Dang, okay: I want people to see all KC has to offer. Food, music and art! I'd start with food because I like to eat. Breakfast somewhere tucked away, like Happy Gillis, then to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to explore the Bloch Building. I've been to a few featured exhibits in the last year and I'm always inspired when I go. From there we could creep around the Crossroads. Check out galleries and the unique shops.