Julie Slim is a Lebanese-American multilingual jazz/world vocalist based in Austin, TX. She founded her band, Julie Slim & RendezVous, in 2013, bringing forth the cultural influences that shaped her life. A child of the world, Julie aims to create cultural bridges and heart connections through her warm vocals which are known to soothe, uplift and transport their listeners. With RendezVous, Julie won an Honorary Merit Award in the 2017 USA Songwriting Competition for her original song, Sarabande de Solitude (Shawn Ellison/Julie Slim). As a result, Julie Slim & RendezVous was featured in the 2017 Songwriters Showcase at SXSW Music Festival.
With RendezVous, Julie combines her experience as an actor, linguist, and improvisor to create a fun and diverse show that takes the listener on a trip around the world. With RendezVous, Julie has self-released a three-song studio EP, and a five-song live EP recorded in Austin, TX. In 2017, Julie self-released her first full-length album titled Promenade Sentimentale, a collection of French standards close to her heart. Julie is currently working on her next album with RendezVous, which will be multilingual, featuring original songs.
Julie has worked as a vocalist with the Austin Jazz Workshop since 2001, performing in several of their seasons. She welcomes opportunities to collaborate and has often sat in as a guest vocalist or recording artist with a variety of world and jazz bands.
Growing up in Beirut, Lebanon, Julie remembers singing herself to sleep, listening to a variety of musical genres, among them Edith Piaf, Joni Mitchell, Barbara Streisand, The Beatles, and Fairuz. She fell in love with the theatre in her teenage years, and after nurturing her second love for languages in college (BA Speech/Language Pathology, MA Linguistics), she immersed herself in musical theatre in Allentown PA, with credits in summer repertory theatre like Hodel (Fiddler On The Roof), Pitti Sing (The Mikado), Princess Ababu (Kismet) and Sheherezade (1001 Nights). After her move to Austin, TX in 1996, she earned the nomination of a B. Iden Payne award for best character actor in the original children's show, Deep In The Heart of Texas (dir. Alice Carnes).
Julie is a multitalented musician, whose eclectic background in performance and commitment to collaboration are a testament to her lifelong passion for connecting with diverse audiences. Julie is a member of the Indie Collaborative and ASCAP as a creator.
Julie Slim & RendezVous
Founded by Julie Slim in 2013, this band incorporates the musical and cultural influences in her life. With the mentorship and collaboration of the Grammy-nominated jazz pianist, Dr. James Polk, she created new arrangements for French and American standards that she has known since her childhood. Dr. Polk was instrumental as a musical director in the first version of her band, a sextet with him on piano, Michael Stevens on bass, Mike Maddux on accordion, Ethan Vlah on drums and Roberto Paolo Riggio on violin. The band premiered at Esquina Tango to a full house and a standing ovation. Julie's first three-song EP came out of this experience, produced collaboratively with the visionary Roberto Paolo Riggio and featuring a new take on an old standard, La Vie En Rose, a haunting arrangement of a Kurt Weill song, Je Ne T'aime Pas, as well as Julie's original song, Time Flies, arranged by Dr. Polk. Over the years, RendezVous has provided Julie with the opportunity to form a community of accomplished musicians. Julie is very grateful for the last three years with her current band members, amazing musicians, and friends: Shawn Ellison (piano), Shirley Johnson (accordion), Phil Spencer (bass) and Joe McCreary (drums).
In 2001, at the suggestion of her vocal coach, Mady Kaye, Julie transitioned from musical theatre to jazz by joining the Austin Jazz Workshop as a lead vocalist in their Cole Porter Season, the first of many seasons over the years, namely: Harold Arlen, Henri Mancini, George Gershwin, and Songs of The American Spirit. She is happy to join them again in 2019 for their Hoagie Carmichael season. Fulfilling her love of teaching and performing with professional musicians, Julie is a clinician with the AJW, teaching third through fifth-grade students about the jazz composer of the season, while promoting music in public education and raising awareness for jazz among the youth.
Blanton Museum of Art: SoundSpace - Biosounds
In the Fall of 2018, Julie was invited to participate in Biosounds with a sound installation exhibit linking music, medicine, and the body. Julie decided to explore the soundscape of MRIs and their effect on the psyche. Her installation, titled M-R-I: Melodic Rhythm Improvisation, consisted of a 13-minute recording of a brain MRI scan which she used as the background for vocal improvisations. Her goal was to associate the jarring sounds of an MRI with music, providing an escape from the confined space and comfort during this procedure. Julie considers this her most impactful project of 2018 and enjoyed the challenge of bridging science, music, and medicine to create a musical piece in a fine art context.
University of Texas: OLLI LAMP
In the Spring of 2018, Julie was invited by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute - Learning Activities for Mature People (UT OLLI LAMP) to give a seminar of her choice on the topic of love for the occasion of Valentine's Day. Accompanied by her pianist Shawn Ellison, Julie presented her seminar, Edith Piaf: Hymn to Love, a review of Edith Piaf's love life through her love songs. It was positively received with a standing ovation from a full lecture hall.
Bereket, UT Middle Eastern Ensemble
In the Spring of 2008, Julie joined Bereket under the direction of Dr. Sonia Seeman, rediscovering Arabic singing with them, while practicing her percussion and Arabic musical skills. With them, she has enjoyed the opportunity to sing in new languages like Turkish, Armenian, and Farsi. Julie enjoys directing the Arabic choir and being a vocal coach for the Bereket community.
After Julie's father passed away in 2013, she felt called to use her voice for comfort and healing. In the process, she discovered the international organization, Threshold Choir, with whom she sings every Tuesday at Austin Hospice's Christopher House. This amazing group of women has ebbed and flowed over the five years that she has been with them; through it all, the joy of singing together and giving through song has never faded.
Julie is a proud member of this nonprofit organization, which fulfills musical last wishes by organizing private, customized concerts for individuals with a terminal illness or nearing the end of life.