Artist: Julie Williams
Hometown: Tampa, FL
Song: “Big Blue House”
Album: Julie Williams EP
Release Date: May 12, 2023 (single); June 2, 2023 (EP)
In Their Words: “‘Big Blue House’ is a song about racism and violence through the eyes of a six-year-old girl, who is told by her father that she can’t play outside with the other kids, but she doesn’t know why. Originally written as a poem, the story came to me after reading the news of Keyon Harrold Jr., a teenager who was assaulted by a white woman who thought that he stole her cell phone. It made me think of the conversations that parents of color have to have with their children — that you might be a child, but some people in the world will see you as a threat. I knew that this story was special and that I had to bring it to life with my friend and one of my songwriting inspirations, Brittney Spencer. I brought her the poem written on scraps of white notebook paper and together we created the song that you can hear now.
“What really brought the magic was working with Nicole Neely — an amazing violinist and composer who arranged the strings and brought together an all-female lineup of players, including Monique and Chauntee Ross of the SistaStrings and Josée Weigland-Klein, to record the strings. Together with Gabriel and Gideon Klein’s production and Rodlin Pierre’s mixing magic, the song and stories came to life.
“I originally planned to release ‘Big Blue House’ with the rest of my EP that comes out on June 2, but after the recent Covenant Shooting, the expulsion of the Tennessee Three, and the continued news of gun violence and political inaction, I felt called to release the song and its message into this world. I wrote this song over two years ago, and it is heartbreakingly still relevant.”
Photo credit: Mackenzie Ryan