Julian Velard’s engaging style of theatrical, piano-based pop has been colored richly by several stints in London, where he recorded his first two full-length albums, The Planeteer (2009) and Mr. Saturday Night (2011). On his upcoming release, “If You Don’t Like It, You Can Leave,” he’s bringing it all back to New York City, his birthplace and lifelong home.
With a style The Sunday Times calls “catchy but complicated; a surprisingly rare combination,” Velard turns the piano-pop tunesmith stereotype on its ear with a most refreshing twist: a biting, 21st century wit in a stylish package – think Harry Connick, Jr. with the panache of a Brooklyn hipster – recalling Stephen Sondheim or Randy Newman at the peak of their talents.
“If You Don’t Like It, You Can Leave” finds Julian at his most inventive and deeply personal, with nine engaging originals about happiness and heartbreak across the five boroughs. From the opening chords of the shimmering “New York, I Love It When You’re Mean,” to the cockeyed romantic overtures of “No One’s Getting Married Tonight” and “Brooklyn Kind of Love” or heart-tugging ballads like “A River Away” and “Jimmy Young,” Velard becomes the most captivating keymaster to the greatest city in the world.
Through his songwriting gifts, New York City brims with a kind of pain and promise that anyone can recognize, no matter how well you’ve memorized the mass transit schedule. He wraps it all in a beautiful bow with a heartfelt hat-tip to another New York hero, Billy Joel, with a cover “Where’s the Orchestra?” the elegiac closer to Joel 1982 masterpiece The Nylon Curtain. Add a dash of production magic from Steve Power – producer of several albums by U.K. pop legend Robbie Williams as well as Velard’s own breakthrough The Planeteer – and gorgeous arrangements recorded over five days at the Clubhouse Studio in Rhinebeck, NY, and you’ve got a record as exciting as the very city it pays tribute to.
From the moment he found himself in the middle of a record company bidding war in London after posting some songs online, Julian Velard has established himself as a winning musician and raconteur – an unrepentant motormouth who could just as easily bowl you over in concert with between-song bon mots as he does with his pop hooks. Time Out London even compared him to the likes of Tom Waits and Harry Nilsson.
Julian’s versatility has also earned him regular appearances on NPR, serving as the musical director for the new pilot Scott Simon’s Wonderful Town and making regular appearances on the musical trivia show Ask Me Another with Ophira Eisenberg. When not performing to rapturous audiences from New York to The Netherlands, Julian also finds time to pen songs for other artists, from U.K. pop sensation Olly Murs to the New York Knicks (his rollicking “The Mighty Lin,” an ode to the team’s former point guard, was an undisputed viral sensation).
– Mike Duquette
Editor, The Second Disc
So…….., why do I like listening to Julian Velard?
I first discovered Julian Velard when he toured with Jamie Cullum,( I am a huge fan of Jamie Cullum !) Julian was the perfect act to open up the shows for Jamie, with his witty tunes and great stage presence . Not long after I found myself humming a song which I couldn’t get out of my head. I had heard it on radio , it was ‘Love Again for the First Time’…
That was it, I needed more, I was hooked !!!!
Julian Velard has a deep voice & with it sth which is quite unique, it’s some sort of authoritative presence, the kind which you don’t forget easily ! His lyrics & songs are brilliantly & intelligently written, even his early songs (such as his Nitetime CD from 2003 ) still sound good today. Julian fuses clever words, which are often both: statements & warnings, to memorable chords, which to me is the perfect mix for songs that I’ll play again & again…
Many of JV’s songs explore relationships…..Julian not only writes & composes songs, he also checks out films and writes very honest film reviews. Julian has worked with comedy & radio shows and he appears frequently on the NPR Ask Me Another quiz show. He is working on many projects & over the past two years he gives away plenty of free music (make sure you sign up to his website here) !!!
Currently Julian is putting his finishing touches on the new material he has been writing for his NYC concept album which will come out summer 2014. Julian ran a very sucessful Pledge Music Campaign for his album during the summer 2013, it was a brilliant move , cause it meant his fans could become part of his new CD !! Listening to Julian’s new songs & watching his CD grow is wonderfully exciting :))
I find there is a certain quality & depth in his songs, they are perfectly worded with passionate, intelligent lyrics that paint vivid pictures of relationships taking centre stage ! Julian is best seen live, his booming vocals captivate you immediately right from the start. No shows are ever the same, for he is continually working on himself & changing styles and format to create something fresh, witty & intelligent. Julian’s shows are much more than a gig, they are entertainment, a good night out!! Julian often appears with his trusted friend Ryan Bull ( his Bull) & his card – board duo, Hall & Oates, all which are a brilliant addition to his live shows.
He is someone who never rests, never sits still. He is always one step ahead, .which, in one way is a great thing, but it’s also a nightmare if you want to take good photos, and…..…
Beware…. he is very addictive !!!