If you would have told a teenaged Julie Elias that in only a few years she would be worshipping with people across the country, she would have cocked her head and puckered her face like she just ate a sour blue Warhead. Although she had grown up in the church and become a Christian after the untimely death of a beloved grandpa, she had never pictured herself directly being a vessel of God. Her path was driven by a passion for musical theatre 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 some major feature films, Julie had some great experiences but felt something was missing and started praying for God’s direction in her life and prayed that she would be willing to be obedient in whatever He had planned for her.
Within months, Julie was writing and recording her first album “A Wild Rose” and singing at Night of Joy at Disney World. In the past few years, she has released a Christmas album, fronted her own Christmas tours, sang at major Christian festivals and conferences, and worshipped with many churches throughout the US and Canada. In August 2014, she released an album called “Love Rain Down” which features upbeat, energetic worship songs that have been a huge hit at student events.
In 2014, she created Aurora Ministries, a 501(c)3 in April 2014 which would be the foundation of the Aurora Conference. The conference derives from her successful Topic-Driven Concert series for youth groups which focuses music, drama and speaking on one particular topic. The key to each of these events, including the Aurora Conference, is making the impact of the event just as important, if not moreso, than the event itself. Julie’s last album, “Unbroken” was not only a project full of original songs, it is meant to be a companion for the Aurora Conference. Songs have been created based on topics teens face every day – and lets face it, these issues are NOT limited to just teenagers!
This concept was hugely effective and Julie is taking it more personal with her newest album “A Girl Like Me.” We are constantly reminded what we don’t have and ways in which we are not good enough. We accept our faults in an unhealthy way and think we are only our mistakes and our failures. Personally for Julie, this has been a real struggle, feeling many of times like she is “not good enough” for the things she deeply desires…and then of course feeling guilty about not being thankful for the things we do have makes us beat ourselves up even more. But even when life isn’t what we want it to be, God is still good. The title song, “A Girl Like Me,” is about how despite our shortcomings, a girl like me…is still worthy of a King. Nothing we can do will make us “not good enough” for God. Echoes of this central theme are evident in every song throughout the album.
“Awaken,” is the first single from the new album. It’s about closing the chapter of darkness in your life and stepping out into the light, committing to God that you’re ready to obey Him and do His work. The song is inspired by Romans 13:12 which says “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” It is truly an anthem, with big guitars and a soaring melody all backed by a powerful message.
One of Julie’s personal favorites of the album is a throwback to a song she sang a million times in youth group by one of the classic youth group bands, dc Talk. The song “In the Light” was an energized catchy tune that swept teens across the country when it came out in the mid-90s. A reimagining but keeping to the original style, “In the Light” is totally in line with so many of her talking points to the teen girls – it is definitely one Julie is excited to share with a new generation!
There are several songs in “piano-pop” style that is becoming one of Julie’s signatures, including “Forgive Me” a song about repairing a relationship and “Only For Awhile,” a semi-autobiographical tune about how the seasons we go through in life make us who we are. There are also exciting worship songs such as a cover of Kim Walker-Smith’s “Alive” and a new high-energy original penned by Julie called “Unchained.” The theatrical ballad “Wherever You Roam” has an 80s rock feel and a message of hope for anyone starting a new chapter. The song was written with high school graduates in mind as they embark on their first experience away from home. Several personal songs round out the album, such as “Run Away” and “Lost,” written about times in Julie’s life where she had to fight her “flight” response and trust that God was indeed in control- definitely a recurring theme for so many of us!
Through various musical styles and influences, the album centers over one theme. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says this: “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” We need to acknowledge those very weaknesses, fears and failures that make us feel like we aren’t good enough; but instead of succumbing as a helpless victim, we need to choose to trust God more than we did before and fight the darkness with bravery and fortitude He gives us.
A California girl by birth, Julie went to college in Colorado where she majored in history and musical theater. She now lives outside of Dallas, Texas with her awesome dog, Fiona and Brody, who is a crazy puppy that we are all adjusting to. Julie is an Anglophile and loves all things British…except Scandinavia is a close second. In her free time, she loves traveling and you can most likely find her outdoors (as long as humidity isn’t too high!), reading a book on the beach or bundled up on the ski slopes. “A Girl Like Me” releases nationwide October 27, 2017.