In a rather unconventional road to Christian music, new artist Julie Elias has had to learn and adapt to a new field pretty quickly. “I feel like I got a Masters’ degree worth of information in the first two years, everything was so new! I hear of a lot of worship leaders and Christian artists who have wanted to do it their whole lives. Even though I grew up singing in church with our praise team, it was never something I pictured doing with my life. Never.”

Julie’s path included a passion for musical theatre, film and acting which took her to the hustle-and-bustle of Hollywood. Appearing regularly on shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “CSI:NY” and even in films with the megastars like Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts made for some great experiences but left her empty in the long term. “Once the initial excitement wore off, I realized that acting alone was not making me feel significant. Since a little girl, I wanted to do something with my life that really impacted others and this wasn’t it for me. I prayed to God that He would open doors that would reveal His master plan for my life, so obviously clear that even a stubborn 20-something like me couldn’t ignore them. And He did. Almost immediately.”

Despite what some could see as a delay in her calling, Julie recognizes that her previous experiences were crucial to where she is today. “It was definitely where I was supposed to be at that time. It shaped a huge part of my identity in my young adult life. The crew and actors I met on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ really encouraged me and in Hollywood, you don’t always find people who truly want the best for others. I learned so much by that experience and I am so grateful for that chapter.”

Julie is the first to recognize that all of her life experiences have proven essential to her ministry, songwriting and a new series of teen Topic-Driven Concerts that she does at youth groups across the country. “All of the topics I cover – real beauty, rejection, etc. – all are from personal experience. Nowhere do you learn about rejection faster than trying to be an actress in Hollywood!!” she laughs. The concerts include skits based on the topics, a short message, a free 16-page book on the topic (authored by Julie), and, of course, tons of music.

Teen concerts were the driving force in recently creating her first worship CD, Love Rain Down. “For me, this album was about creating a worship experience that would really connect with people, especially young women. So many worship songs are led by guys and most of the songs led by women are ballads. Girls can rock, too, you know!” Julie hopes this CD will resonate with teens as well as with all fans of contemporary worship. “I want it to be a worship experience. The songs I chose are all about letting God be a part of your life, through the good times and the bad.” The title song, “Love Rain Down,” is one of two originals Julie co-wrote on the album. Based on Psalms 36:9-10, “Love Rain Down” is about God’s blessings in our lives and quest to fill what is empty. “No living creature can exist without water; it is cleansing, nourishing and sustaining. We as believers are made complete and refreshed with God’s love as it rains down from Heaven. Whether you’re personally on a peak or in a valley, God’s love is always a welcome blessing!”

The song that stands out the most from the other worship songs is “I’ll Depend on You,” a powerful rock ballad that encourages people to depend on God at all times…especially in that time of waiting. “You hear a lot of songs about times that are good and times that are bad, but what about the in between? I think that unknown time is the scariest. Sometimes learning to trust God while we’re waiting for His answers is the lesson we need to learn. “ 

Also on the album are favorite worship songs that Julie has enjoyed leading in the past that she sees as essential to her future. “I have loved ‘Oceans’ by Hillsong United since I first heard it…whether I am leading it or listening to it, there’s something so intimate and honest about that song, I knew I had to include it.” There is a good mix of popular choices like “Great I Am” and new favorites like “God Be Lifted High in Me.” Julie cites worship bands like Jesus Culture, Bethel Music, Planetshakers and Hillsong United as influences not only for this album but also in her personal preference for worship. “They have really nailed the combination of quality music and a spirit of worship; a lot can do one or the other but I think they do both so well. I’d love to experience Jesus Culture someday live, just as a worshipper in the crowd, because I can sense the anointing and power of their music even through an MP3 in my car. My prayer is someday that God allows me to have this impact with my own music.”

Music moves people in ways other things can't. The potential to reach people through great music with a message of God's love is huge. I consider it a massive privilege and I can't wait for what He has planned next

To combine a spirit of worship with musical influences that include Kelly Clarkson, Sara Bareilles, Christina Perri and even some hints of 80s rock, and Julie’s sound is sure to stand out to listeners. “Good music is good music. God has given me a huge responsibility with this platform and I want to bring a sense of purpose and artistic quality to my music that makes even non-believers go ‘wow, that was really good.’ Music moves people in ways other things can’t. The potential to reach people through great music with a message of God’s love is huge. I consider it a massive privilege and I can’t wait for what He has planned next.”