Infinity Artists Group is proud to announce, Julian Vaughn, as one of the newest additions to our roster. While you cannot miss the 6’7” lead bass player in a crowd, what is more attention grabbing is his sound. Like many artists, Julian grew up performing music in his church. Originally drawn to the drums, he found lots of competition among his friends because it seemed like each of the boys wanted to play the same instrument. At age 15, Julian decided to choose another instrument and picked up the bass guitar. He fell in love with the bass, taught himself how to play and quickly realized he could play by ear. By the age of 19, Julian had his own 6-string bass guitar and had figured out that this was not just a hobby but a life’s passion.
Julian recently released his album “Breakthrough” with Trippin ‘N’ Rhythm Records and we were able to speak and learn more about him. Enjoy some of our interview below.
IAG: How were you introduced to jazz music?
JULIAN: I was raised in the church with gospel music but was introduced to jazz when I was around 15. My Dad had a cassette tape lying around of Najee’s “Tokyo Blue” and after listening to it, I was immediately hooked.
IAG: Who was a major influence on your becoming a musician?
JULIAN: There were a few local guys in Kansas City that I looked up to. Artist wise, I have to give props to Wayman Tisdale.
IAG: Tell me about the first time you performed in public.
JULIAN: I was 19 or 20 and the first song I ever performed in church was a song I wrote.
When I finished I received a 5 minute standing ovation from the congregation. I don’t know where it is but I would love to have it for my archives.
IAG: What was the first song you learned how to play?
JULIAN: I do not remember a song specifically. When learning how to play, I would just put in any gospel music and try to learn whatever the bass player was playing. That is what I mean when saying I’m self-taught. I learned by listening and repeating the sounds.
IAG: What was the first concert you ever attended?
JULIAN: It was before I even began playing music; it was a gospel group called “Commission” with Fred Hammond playing bass.
IAG: You just released your new CD “Breakthrough”. Tell us a little about it and how it differs from your last CD.
JULIAN: The title is really self-explanatory. I have heard many artists, including other bass players, and I had to figure out how to create my own signature sound. I wanted people to recognize it after the first few notes and be able to say, “Hey, that’s Julian!” I believe I accomplished that with this record. If you love this, just wait and see what I have in store for you on my next CD. I am excited to continue creating music so look for a new release in the Winter of 2013.
IAG: Where do you do most of your writing?
JULIAN: On “Breakthrough”, two songs were written on the highway in the car. I was writing a song in my car as it hit me, singing the vocals into my phone. I’ve also had a song hit me in church where I have had to step out and record something into my phone. But, on the flip side, when I do have the time to sit down and create, sometimes my mind is blank and nothing is comes to me. So I’ve learned that when a song comes to me, I have to immediately take notes and record it into my phone. I never know where and when inspiration will happen.
IAG: How did you end up working with Darren Rahn?
JULIAN: Back in the day, I was on MySpace listening to Wayman Tisdale and Toby Keith’s remake of “Never Gonna Give You Up”. The thick bass line stood out, so I pulled out the CD liner notes to see who created and worked on it. I found out that the bass player was Mel Brown, so I sent him a long email telling him I enjoyed his playing and that I would love to have him work on my album. Mel replied, and after communicating a while Mel did some work on my album. Later, I asked Mel if he knew Darren Rahn, and Mel said he and Darren were good friends. So, Mel called Darren, put me on the phone, and our working relationship grew from there.
IAG: How did you get in the line-up for the Dubai Jazz Festival this year?
JULIAN: I was at the mall when I got a call from Darren Rahn. He asked if I would be willing to go to Dubai to perform, and I said “Yes!”. When I was over there I was walking around a huge 1,300-store mall and three people stopped me because they knew who I was. I was blown away that people on the other side of the world, in Dubai, knew who I was.
IAG: We love the entire new album but we have to ask about “Ju Ju’s Groove”. Who is Ju Ju?
JULIAN: Ju Ju refers to me. It’s a family nickname I was given as early as age 2. No one calls me that now, but growing up I was Ju Ju. That song will probably be the second single that is released.
IAG: What’s your favorite tune to play live?
JULIAN: From “The Purpose Project” album, I like playing “Get Up” live. On the “Breakthrough” record, I enjoy playing “On Your Feet”, but I think my favorite so far is “Ju Ju’s Groove”. Oh yeah, and the title cut “Breakthrough” is fun to jam on. It’s a three minute song, but at my recent CD Release Party we jammed on it for 10 minutes. That was so much fun, we just tore the place up!
IAG: Do you play any other instruments?
JULIAN: Besides bass and drums, I play a little keyboard. I really need to brush up on my piano skills though because that will only enhance my writing abilities.
IAG: What has been one of your most memorable performances so far?
JULIAN: I would have to say Dubai this year. HHHow I was able to get up there in the windy 62 degree weather, not think about anything and just focus on putting on a memorable show. I did some things I have never done before; jumping on a table during the last song, bringing people on stage for their birthday, things I have never done before. I was just in the zone and it was great.
IAG: What was the last concert you attended as a fan?
JULIAN: Wayman Tisdale’s concert in Kansas City, Kansas about six years ago.
IAG: Whom do you listen to?
JULIAN: I listen to and get inspiration from all genres of music except for maybe heavy metal. I can work out to it, but I cannot get much musical inspiration from it.
IAG: What are your hobbies?
JULIAN: Fitness is my main hobby. I try to work out and lift weights every day to take care of myself and be my best on stage for the audience. I also love to play basketball. I enjoy watching movies, but have been so busy lately that I don’t have the time to sit down and enjoy a movie.
IAG: If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would you like to play?
JULIAN: I would love to perform in Paris or South Africa.
IAG: What can your fans look forward to from you in 2012 and 2013?
JULIAN: Great music and a great show. “Breakthrough” is just warming everyone up for the next CD. I am ready to take the fans on a ride.
Well Julian, we are ready to go on that ride! We cannot wait until Sunday October 7, 2012 when we can see him perform live on Catalina Island during JazzTrax. For more information or to purchase tickets to this show, please visit: jazztrax.com/jazz/catalina.html
If you are unable to make it out to Catalina, you can catch Julian this month on Friday September 7th in Reno, Nevada at John Ascuaga’s Nugget in The Orozko Lounge. For more information on this show, please visit: www.janugget.com/entertainment/orozko–lounge.asp
To learn more about Julian or to purchase his music or to see if he is performing in a town near you, please visit his website at: www.julianvaughnmusic.com
We welcome Julian to our Infinity Artists Group family and we wish him only success and look forward to the ride he is going to take us on in the future.