Versatile, soulful and intuitive, Julie Wolf has blazed her own trail into a music career that combines producing, composing, performing, music directing, teaching, sound design and more. Based in Oakland, Calif., Wolf's resume of collaborators includes Carly Simon, Indigo Girls, Ani DiFranco, Maceo Parker, Toshi Reagon, Bruce Cockburn and Sia. In the latest episode of Behind The Board, she dives into her musical past, touring with DiFranco, and what makes a great record.
Wolf recalls taking a gig as music director for a musical theatre production in Seattle that led her to enroll in a jazz program, which reignited her interest in music.
"It was a complete plate tectonic shifting life-changer, opening my heart and my ears and my soul to jazz and improvised music," Wolf said. "It gave me life."
She goes on to detail how she began to work with singer/songwriters and hit the road with legendary folk disfuptor Ani DiFranco. Wolf found her niche in performing live in a band that had not had a keyboard player prior to her arrival, and she began to merge her diverse musical experiences into a larger production philsopy.
"There is a through line you can follow like a north star: Does this serve the song? What does the artist want to communicate? Have you opened the channels of your heart and your creative flow so this comes through unobstructed? I think that's what makes a great record," she said.
Now Wolf specializes in music production, composing for film and dance, sound design and music editing with her company, Julie Wolf Music. She also serves as in-house music producer for the legendary Fantasy Studios, where she puts the lessons she's learned through a life in music to use with artists from a wide array of genres.
"The more trust that is developed and built, the more risks can be taken," said Worlf. "And that's where really beautiful music is made."