Karen Knapstein
May 11, 2014
More Music

Julia McKinnis

Texas-born singer-songwriter Julia McKinnis is going to have a big summer. She’s about to graduate from college. She’s entering a web series in the New York Television Festival. And she’s working to support her debut album, The Good Has Won

But all of that is just part of what she does.

“I sang before I could talk,” she shared. It was a family affair. Her mom sang, her aunt regularly sang with Elvis.

“I just grew up with it. I can’t imagine doing anything other than being a performer,” she explained. Later, she was “inspired by my brother. He was singer, a writer and he played the bass, and I would go and watch him.”

After high school, and the usual high school music stuff — choir, talent shows and show choirs — she was studying in New York when a roommate gave her a cast-off ukulele.

“I picked it up and it was a beacon of peace. That was three summers ago. I started writing an album then.”

Her songs are, in general, are upbeat. “I write happy music, and some people might see it as naive or shallow, but I write happy because there are people out there that need a lift. I’ve dealt with depression, so I know if I can make someone’s mood go from bad to good, I’ve done my job.”

Recording her album was “one of the most enjoyable experiences. I’m a pop artist, but I didn’t want every song to sound the same or to sound just like what was on the radio.” The producer she worked with “got that. What was added to it was exactly ‘me.’”

And on release day, “seeing my name on iTunes made it real, though the whole thing was a little surreal.” She had a show that evening at Rockwood Music Hall on New York’s Lower East Side. “It was completely packed to the brim and when I played, everyone was completely silent — there were there to hear the album.”

She’s looking to play more shows like that in the coming weeks, as she shoots a video and some of her songs are being used in play she’s also acting in. As far as a career, she’s “50/50 for acting and singing.”

“Music,” however, “will always be my one true love.”

Keep up with McKinnis and her busy summer on her Twitter feed and Facebook page and check out tracks from the album and photos below.


“Knack for Love”

“The Good Has Won”




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