I first met the extremely talented Julie Reiber in 2010 at a reading of Bobby Cronin's "The Beaten Path" (now retitled "W2ML"). Since that time she has been seen in the recent Broadway production of "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever," alongside Harry Connick, Jr., was "Connie Bradshaw" in the World Premiere performance of "Tales of the City" at ACT in San Francisco, sang the music of Jason Sellards (Jake Shears) and John Garden of the Scissor Sisters, starred as "Cathy" in "The Last Five Years" at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, and "Betty Haynes" in the classic "White Christmas" at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, PA. Julie just finished up her run in one Broadway's most fun and colorful shows "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" and has released her debut CD "Love Travels."
"Love Travels" is a joyous trip through the musical realms of theater, pop, folk and soul from one of New York's brightest and most compelling voices, supported by a 12 piece band of Broadway veterans. The disc takes advantage of Reiber's considerable Broadway experience by opening with an effervescent take on "I Got Love" from the 1971 musical Purlie. She then offers a majestic reading of "Still Hurting" from one of her favorite stage roles in the Jason Robert Brown musical "The Last Five Years." Her careful interpretation of "Through The Mountain," a selection from Adam Guettel's "Floyd Collins," echoes the score's Americana influences. Of course there is her unique version of Elphaba's anthem "Defying Gravity" from Wicked, a special bonus track on the CD. She performed the song over one hundred times both at the Gershwin Theater on Broadway and with the show's original Los Angeles company, opposite Adam Lambert as "Fiyero."
Julie also finds inspiration in some of the 20th Century's most beloved singer/songwriters. She is able to display her more introspective side – and an appealing folksy charm – on Stevie Wonder's "Knocks Me Off My Feet." Burt Bacharach and Hal David might not recognize their famous 1960s hit "Walk On By," which is recast by Julie as a funky jam, but still retains the song's yearning and naked emotion. James Sampliner’s swirling string arrangements intensifies Julie's vibrant performance of the John Mayer hit "Back To You." Other highlights include her lilting version of Joni Mitchell's "Little Green" and the exciting groove of Chaka Khan's "Stay."
Her three original compositions are no less impressive. "When You're Around" is a dreamy yet introspective love song with an irresistible lyrical quality. "Be My Love," which she wrote for her husband soon after they met, is an eager declaration with a driving rock beat that would fit in on today's Top 40 radio. The sunny "There's A Way" expresses Julie's innately positive attitude with an upbeat and modern sound.
"Love Travels" is arranged and orchestrated by James Sampliner, the Musical Director of "Legally Blonde," "The Wedding Singer," and "Brooklyn" on Broadway – who also serves as co-producer along with Julie. Jack Sharkey serves as Executive Producer.
1. We first met in 2010 at a reading of Bobby Cronin's "The Beaten Path" (now retitled "W2ML"). Since that time you have been seen in the recent Broadway production of "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever," alongside Harry Connick, Jr., were "Connie Bradshaw" in the World Premiere performance of "Tales of the City" at ACT in San Francisco, singing the music of Jason Sellards (Jake Shears) and John Garden of the Scissor Sisters, starred as "Cathy" in "The Last Five Years" at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, and "Betty Haynes" in the classic "White Christmas" at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, PA. Now you just finished up your run in one Broadway's most fun and colorful shows "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" and you released your debut CD "Love Travels." You've certainly done a lot! What made now the right time for you to release your debut CD "Love Travels"? What did you get from working on your album that you do not get from your theatrical endeavors? Yes. I've been busy and it’s been wonderful. I've had the chance to play a lot of great roles over the past couple years AND I also got engaged and married within that time as well. ;-) So it has most definitely been a very busy time...but all amazing stuff!
The process of the album was slow and steady. I had been working on it slowly over a course of about two years before we got into the studio. And even our studio time ended up being divided because of other jobs interfering. My musical director James Sampliner and I were very busy with other projects, so it was about fitting in sessions to work when we could. Our schedules took us out of town and kept us really busy, so although I was eager to finish it all and get it in my hands, I had to trust the process and not rush it. Pushing timelines and forcing things wouldn't allow me to be thoughtful and really make it my own and exactly how I wanted it. So I tried to just relax into the process and take my time knowing that when it was done the time would be right.
Working on the album was such a personal endeavor. It's a unique opportunity to express myself in a different way then I get to experience when I'm playing roles in shows. Although I love playing roles and stepping into someone else’s shoes, it's a very different experience to put yourself out there as just you. And musically this was an opportunity for me to show who I truly am as an artist and what kind of music I love to sing. This album is a full expression of me which is really special to me. It's a full experience of who I am, what I stand for and the kind of music and singing I love to do.
2. How did you come up with the title and song selection for "Love Travels"? When picking the tunes for the set list I realized that everything I was looking at was related to love in some way. Not just the heartbreak, but the joys, the yearning, giving, receiving....all the different spaces and forms and stories of love. The album concept was always to be an old school album that could be listened to from beginning to end and take you on a journey. All the tunes moving from one to another in regards to tune, but also story, so it can take you on a ride. Hence, the "Love Travels" idea for a title came from that concept.
3. You have contributed three original songs to your debut CD "Love Travels." Out of all the songs you have written, why did you choose these three to debut? I am a fairly new songwriter and my guitar skills are pretty basic. I was actually terrified to put any originals on the album at all, but I got enough encouragement from friends that I went for it. And I'm really glad I did. I've only written about 11 tunes in my life so there wasn't a ton to choose from really. And it was also pretty clear which ones had potential and which didn't....so I just tried to go with my gut about which ones I felt most confident about and my favorites.
4. What was your favorite part of the creative process in putting the album together? This one is tough because I loved so much of it. The beginning process with James and I in his apartment was awesome! We would throw ideas around and make it up as we went along. I'd find myself jumping around with excitement at the prospect of an arrangement. It was such an amazing, creative part of the process. And I'd also have to say the studio. I had such a great crew of guys and recording at Avatar was such a tremendous feeling. And it didn't hurt when Roberta Flack stopped by who was recording next door either. ;-)
5. You just finished up your run in "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" on June 24. What was the best part about being part of this terrific show? It really was a blast to do this show! It was such a blessing how it fell in my lap. The group of actors and crew on this show were so terrific and how can you not have a great time going to work when you're singing disco music all night and talking with an Aussie accent. The show flew by because we were so busy running around and it was such a great feeling to have your audience EVERY night....no matter how big or small the crowd....singing along, jumping to their feet at the end smiling ear to ear. It was a wonderful feel good show. Broadway is gonna miss it.
6. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? The list of actors I admire and would love to work with is many. If I could do a scene with Philip Seymour Hoffman I'm sure I would learn a lifetimes worth of knowledge. There so many composers as well that I admire. I love singing Jason Robert Brown's music. I would love to sing anything he writes anytime. I also have my lifelong dream of being a back up singer for Stevie Wonder someday. That would make my life!
7. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer/songwriter? Oh gosh. I have discovered myself. As you grow and move through life and especially through a career like this, with its many ups and downs, you are constantly challenged to look at yourself and what you're all about. It pushes me to question who I am, what I think of myself, and what kind of a person and talent I want to be. I've learned to trust myself as a performer and it's given me confidence over the years. There is so much rejection and judgment that you feel in this business and through it all the most important thing I've learned is to be myself. I am enough and whatever I bring, if I am my full self and I give it my all, then that is all I have to do. Enjoy what I do and be my full self.
8. What's the best advice you've ever received? I can definitely reiterate what I said above. The advice to just be myself and trust that that is enough is the biggest lesson I've learned. Also learning to just trust in the universe and that I'm right where I'm suppose to be always. Sometimes in this business you want a gig so bad and you're sure it's made for you, but sometimes you don't know what's in store for you and I have always headed the advice of trusting that I'm right where I'm suppose to be, no matter what.
9. Favorite way to spend your day off? Yoga. Catching up on my DVR. Being outside. Lunch with a friend. Spending the night lounging around with my husband.
10. Favorite way to stay in shape? Yoga and walking in the park.
11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Ooh. Time travel! Only at times of my choice of course, not like in "The Time Traveler's Wife." But that would be amazing to see other moments in time.