Teen singer Julie Marie is like most 12th graders who are home-schooled, except that, well, she spends her weekends doing the most interesting things. Like performing “Haiti Girl” in front of fans at BET Experience, and being interviewed by MTV. Interesting things, as in performing in stadiums around the nation, opening for the R&B/pop group act Mindless Behavior. Born in New Hampshire to an American mom and a Haitian dad, the singer-songwriter has already released her first EP entitled “The Movement.” And it’s her voice behind the Generation Z love anthem “Generation”.
Kreyolicious: First off, how long have you been singing?
I’ve been singing professionally for about two years now. But I started singing in church since I was 9 years.
Kreyolicious: While you were singing in church, did you find yourself struck by the voices of any singers in particular?
When I was about 10, I went to my first concert, and it happened to be Alicia Keys. When I saw her up on stage doing her thing, I was star-struck. After the concert, I even got braids in my hair. That was the moment I knew that this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to be on stage and have everyone looking up at me singing along to my songs.
Kreyolicious: Where was this—what venue?
Boston. TD Garden.
Kreyolicious: What was it about her and her singing?
I think it was just the way she carried herself. When she was on stage, she was just having fun doing what she loves—and you could see it in her eyes.
Kreyolicious: You were born and raised in New Hampshire. What was that like?
It’s most definitely different from L.A…The lifestyle there is very homey and everyone is family- orientated. Everyone cared about you basically. It was a culture shock moving to L.A…because you already know the industry…and for me the way I was raised was way different from the the lifestyle here.
Kreyolicious: Do you think you’ve fully adapted at this point?
To be honest…No. I don’t think anyone could adjust to it. It just really important to keep yourself grounded with good people and always remember where you came from. That’s how I go about everyday.
Kreyolicious: This past weekend, you had to do two shows. How do you keep your energy up when you have back-to-back performances scheduled?
I love it! I love performing! I don’t even get nervous! it’s crazy. If I could perform back-to-back shows everyday that would be amazing! But when it comes to getting tired, I keep my Takis, Monster, and Kool-Aid close by.
Kreyolicious: What do you usually do to prep for a show?
Right before a show I eat Takis. It’s kinda become a tradition for me. Then, my dancers and team turn up and dance backstage and pray right before we go on.
Kreyolicious: So, you’ve already recorded an EP entitled “The Movement”. Can you discuss putting it together?
The processes of making “The Movement” was amazing, but also a bit stressful. I love being the studio. I could be there all day—everyday. The only hard part so to say would be choosing what songs would make the EP.
Kreyolicious: Did you have a lot of songs to choose from? And how did you determine which to include?
Not a lot. The team came in and we listened to the songs and it is just about choosing hits. “What will the fans love?” is the questions you have to ask yourself.
Kreyolicious: Did you write all of the songs on the EP?
I co-write my songs with my producer. I keep a journal with me everywhere I go, and I write about how I feel about certain situations going in my life or something that I see. And then when I get into the studio, we turn it into a song.
Kreyolicious: That’s awesome. I think it’s always nice when a performer can also create their own material.
Exactly…It’s more real. The artist connects to the song more.
Kreyolicious: How long did it take for the actual recording of the album?
From start to finish…about eight months.
Kreyolicious: Oh, wow…I think it’s pretty cool that you have a non-profit foundation. What made you start it? And what’s the latest with it?
Thank you! I started when I turned 16. Being half-Haitian and hearing about the earthquake, I wanted to do something about it. For my sweet sixteen, instead of having presents, I had everyone donate towards my charity. Then in July , I went to Haiti for about a month and just gave back. It was amazing to be there and see how they live. It really opened my eyes and made me a lot more grateful for what I have.
Kreyolicious: That’s cool. Was that your first time going to Haiti?
Yes, it was.
Kreyolicious: Going back anytime soon?
I’m planning on going there and doing a concert. I’m very much looking forward to it. My song “Haiti Girl” is going crazy over there so I can’t wait to go back.
Kreyolicious: What were your impressions of the country?
I love how everyone is family…like literally everyone [Laughter] the whole town is your family! I love how everything is so chill and you can just relax and crack some jokes on the beach.
Kreyolicious: What part did you go to?
Port-au-Prince briefly. Mainly Les Cayes and Port-Salut.
Kreyolicious: Do you know Creole?
Yes. Fluently. My grandmother taught me when she came to the US when I was 4.
Kreyolicious: Your parents moved to Los Angeles to support your career, so obviously they approve of your career choice. What’s the biggest lesson they’ve taught you?
The biggest lesson they’ve taught me was to remember where I came from.
Kreyolicious: Speaking of where you came from…where do you want to end up in your career?
L.A. I plan on staying here. Eventually, I want to move to England for a short time, but as of now, L.A.
Kreyolicious: In terms of accomplishments…in terms of a full-length album?
I’m actually starting on the album right now…I’m on tour with Mindless Behavior and Aaron Carter so soon I am going to be doing my own tour and selling out arenas.