|A New Start | Posted November 20, 2012
If Julie Elias looks familiar to you, it's most likely because you've seen her before--not in the music world, however. If you have seen her, it has been through the bright lights of silver screen stardom.
Having moved to Hollywood after studying musical theater in college, it wasn't long before she was landing both film and television roles with some of the industries A-listers, such as Robert Downey Jr., Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.
As her acting career seemed to be taking off, a discontentment settled within Julie's heart. Although she was happy on the path she was taking, she couldn't help but feel as if there was something greater she could be doing--something greater God was leading her towards.
"For whatever reasons, I had blinded myself to the place music had in my life," she says. "I took piano lessons for years, played sax in band throughout junior high and high school, and sang in my church for most of my life… It was as if He said, 'I am spelling it out for you, in bold caps: pay attention.' Despite this revelation, I was still hesitant and spent a few months praying about it, but His guidance never faltered and it was so clear what He wanted me to do."
Elias' journey led her to Nashville in early 2011 where she began writing and recording with some of the city's top songwriters, the fruits of their labor coming in the form of her first full length project, A Wild Rose.
"Breathing Room" immediately brings to mind musical shades of Natalie Grant, and paints an honest portrait of a life needing to live the reconciliation it believes in. It's sets a nice foundation for what's to follow.
The album's namesake, "A Wild Rose," is a richly haunting tune about being set apart in a world that demands us to be ordinary. "In His Plan" has a congregational worship feel to it, talking about trusting God and following Him, even when life feels confusing.
Following along the same worshipful lines but on a much mellower note, "I Am Yours" is about the faithfulness of our God, who heals broken hearts and gives them life once more. "Lord You Reign" brightens the album with a song of total adoration to the Creator.
"Breathe In Me" stands apart as the most lyrically honest on the project, it being my favorite. It talks about the frustrations of waiting on the Lord and the anxiousness that can tend to overtake our thoughts, the chorus coming as a cry for God to come and still our hearts and breathe His life into us.
"Here I Am" makes use of slightly grinding guitar riffs to capture your attention, while the next two offerings, "Peace I Leave With You" and the classic hymn "Be Thou My Vision" bring the album down to a soft level, focusing mainly on giving passionate praise to God. Julie's strong vocals on the latter of the two become one of the highlights on the record.
"Freedom In Love" ends the project on a bouncy note, and leaves the listener with a smile on their face as they celebrate the victory Christ has given them to walk in the freedom of His love.
One thing I loved about this album right off the bat, was that I could tell Julie Elias is an honest songwriter. Although it's till early in her career, I can see her becoming a prolific female vocalist due simply in her unashamed nature to communicate both praise and pain to her listeners. While that certainly is not a rarity, it's hard to find someone who makes it work well, and Elias does.
A Wild Rose paints a nice picture for what's to come for this talented songstress. I felt the instrumentation sounded a tad dated, but overall, the message of hope in Christ really hits home with the listener. This is a great start for Elias, and with this as merely her launching ground, I look forward to seeing her grow as an artist.
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