Friday, August 31, 2012

Just Jules Features: Jill and Kate

   Last week at the Mixtape Festival, I had the pleasure of being introduced to Jill and Kate. It was right after Kelly Clarkson's stellar performance at the festival. I had been standing on the right side of the stage and was watching her back up singers most of the time.

 Come to find out, Jill and Kate were those back up singers. 

 We had a great conversation and I just fell in love with them. They're the sweetest girls with charming personalities.  We even took a super cute picture

  During the conversation, I found out they're an act themselves. As soon as I got home from Mixtape, I looked their website up and discovered their music. Go check them out for yourself :

 After I read their website, I asked them if they would do a interview with me for Just Jules. I've never interviewed anyone but Marty before. It seemed like a fun idea and a way to share these two great ladies with you. They've very kindly obliged, I am so excited for you to get to know them with me!

Heart of Stone out September 18th

  Tell my readers a bit about yourselves. Where are you from? What is your family like? What are your favorite memories of growing up?

 Jill: I was born and raised in a quaint beach town in New Hampshire. I have one older brother and the greatest parents ever. I grew up in the same town as my whole extended family as well. I had a slew of cousins about the same age as me and we spent our summers at the beach all day every day. It was a great way to grow up! 

 Kate: I grew up all over! I was born in Germany, lived in two different countries in Africa, Colorado, California…Boston…yeah…it's hard to really pick a place that "I grew up in"….but my family now lives in Colorado so that's where I spend the holidays :) I have an older brother, older sister & two little brothers. My little brothers are both 12. I may or may not spoil them rotten because they are really just the best things ever! Growing up all over gave me a great perspective of the world and it made it easy to start traveling for my job since I travelled so much as a child. One of my favorite memories as a kid was camping with my family. My dad taught me how to fish and we'd all lay out and watch the stars. I have stellar parents…they were always trying to create fun memories for us. 

 So how did you two meet? 

  Most people think we're sisters, but we're actually not...(although we might as well be!) We met at The Contemporary Music Center on Martha’s Vineyard in 2003. We call it a “semester abroad” even though technically it wasn’t abroad. It is a 4 month music program that focuses on songwriting, studio recording, performing, etc. We went in as solo artists and ended up co-writing a song together for an assignment. We worked really well together and our voices blended well so we decided to keep working together as a duo! 

When did you fall in love with music? Did you always sing growing up?

 Jill: I’ve always been in love with music. I always have a song in my head and I would drive my brother crazy when we were kids because I would never stop singing. I was also SUPER shy as a kid and wouldn’t sing in public. But when I was home, I was either writing music on the guitar or piano or attached at the hip to my Walkman. (Yes, Walkman.) I didn’t really start singing for other people until I was 17 or 18. 

 Kate: I've always loved music as well. If I heard a song on the radio or at a friend’s house that I liked, I'd be obsessed with finding out who sang it & how I could get a copy of it. I have this horrible habit of playing a song over and over again. Literally, I'll play a song 30 times in a row and not get sick of it! Jill sometimes wants to kill me cause I just wear songs out!! But…music to me can convey so much of how I'm feeling…I just get lost in it. I grew up singing in church and my parents were always singing and harmonizing. From a young age I knew I loved performing and being on stage, but it was around 13 that I started singing more.

 I recently did a bit on my blog about The Six Songs of Me project. I would love to hear each of your six songs and why you love them?

The first album you bought

 Jill: Boyz II Men “II” 
 Kate: Mariah Carey: Music Box

 The song that always gets you dancing

 Jill: Hey-Ya - Outkast
Kate: 'Til The Worl Ends- Britney Spears

The perfect love song

Jill: “Whenever You Call” -Brian McKnight and Mariah Carey
Kate: "Yellow'- Coldplay

What song takes you back to your childhood?

Jill: Any song off of Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” (I wore this album OUT!)
Kate: If-Janet Jackson (I was so impressed by this video…I thought it was SO 

What song would you want at your funeral?

Jill: House Of Gold (Patty Griffin version)
Kate: Top of the World--Patty Griffin (my FAV Patty song)

(We are both kind of obsessed with Patty Griffin)

The encore, the song that makes you, you
Jill: “Stay” by Lisa Loeb
Kate: “See You Soon” by Coldplay

Every night when you are on stage what do you watch for in the audience? What's it like being on the back of the stage versus the front of the stage? What is it like being on stage night after night?

Jill: I like looking for people who are just having the time of their lives. Sometimes it’s a little kid’s first concert or sometimes it’s a fan who has been to a hundred shows but still gets excited like it’s their first time. I also love watching for sweet dance moves. It can be quite entertaining. 

Being back stage is interesting. SO much goes on back there that you would never think about when you go watch a concert from the audience. People are working really hard. I have gained so much respect for all the guys and girls that work behind the scenes. 

Sometimes it feels really weird to be on stage night after night and sometimes it just feels normal. It’s definitely a privilege and I try not to take it for granted. It’s so awesome to be able to share that “live” experience with so many different audiences around the country and the world. I try to just take it in every night and appreciate those moments. You never know what each night will bring and there is such a huge level of excitement in that!

Kate: I look for people who are singing along with all their hearts but have no clue what the lyrics are. It's awesome to see people with no abandon sing their hearts out & not know the lyrics :) 

Backstage is interesting…sometimes there are random made up games that people are playing to entertain themselves…sometimes everyone is having trouble moving away from catering cause that's where the food is..sometimes there are random dance parties in dressing rooms…really anything can happen. Sometimes it's more glamorous than other times…it kind of depends on the venue. 

Being on stage night after night is awesome! I still sometimes can't believe that I get to do it. I know there are so many talented people in the world and the fact that I am on stage is beyond my wildest hopes/dreams. My favorite part of the night is when the house lights go out and people start screaming…there is a rush of energy and excitement that reminds me of when I was a kid & would go to concerts and the lights would go dark and you'd just hear the drums start blaring. Ahhhh….that excited feeling still comes back to me every night. I think if that ever goes away I'll know it's my time to walk away. 

Since you tour a lot with Kelly and on your own, where is your favorite place in the world and why?

Jill: I love South Africa. It totally changed me. I love the people especially...but also the landscape, the animals....everything about that country is magical. It’s the one place I always find myself wanting to go back to. 

Kate: South Africa. For sure. I lived there from when I was 12-17 so I have an attachment there. Also, working alongside my dad's non-profit "African Leadership Development" we've been doing work with Houses of Hope building orphan homes for displaced children in South Africa and Zimbabwe. ( ) We try and go twice a year to play with the kids and help in any way we can.

What inspires you?

Jill: God. Music. Positive people. Kids. The ocean. Laughter. 

Kate: Africa…a hypnotic guitar part or piano part...God…my insecurities…love…

What are your dreams for your music? How do you set yourselves apart in the music industry?

Jill: I hope for our music to be relatable. I hope someone can hear a song or lyric or melody and go “I totally feel the same way.” All of the songs that have been important to me over the years have had that impact on me. There is a certain safety in feeling like someone else has felt exactly how you feel. I hope to be able to pass that on through our music. 

Kate: I hope that when people hear our music that they feel comforted/loved and not alone. I think loneliness is the deadliest disease and music can be such a comfort. It can take you to a whole different place. Also, I think something that adds to loneliness is the thinking that you are the only person who has ever walked through whatever you are going through…so it's important for me to write real songs from my experience cause you never know who's going to hear that & feel the relief that they aren't alone. I hope what sets us apart in the industry is that we are real..and we want to stay that way. We have people in our lives separately and together…who know us well and can totally call us out on things. We all need people in our lives who genuinely love us that can pull you aside and say…wow you need to change your attitude or you're being a jerk. I think that's important to remember in an industry that is so focused on "self."

Tell me about your upcoming album, which song do you love and why? Do you write your own music?

Jill: I’m really excited about this album. I think the songs really capture the past few years of each of our lives...both the good and the bad. The song that I probably love the most is ‘Burn It Down.” It’s a song about betrayal. It is one of those songs that I had to get out of my system in order to move past a difficult season in my life.

Kate: EEEEeeeeeek. That's my excited squeal. So so so excited. We write all of our songs so it's always a little nerve-racking putting an album out cause it's kind of like…"hey…here are my most inward thoughts & feelings that I've put down into a song…please don't hate it!" Haha. One of my favorites is "Never Over You." We started writing this song when I was in a bad place…I was totally hung up on this guy & he was not so much hung up on me….and in the moment it felt like I just would never, ever get over him….so we wrote about it. Writing about it helped and eventually I got over him ;)

I love East Coast Bound. I am moving to the east coast very soon and going to become a southern girl. Any advice for me?

Thanks! Enjoy each season, go to the ocean as much as possible, and get familiar with your Dunkin Donuts menu! :) GO Red Sox & eat biscuits!!!

So we met at the Mixtape Festival this weekend via Caroline at CrowdSurf which is an whole other blog in itself. What was your favorite part of the weekend? Which band did you like the most? Do you even remember New Kids on the Block?

Mixtape Festival was SO MUCH FUN! We loved seeing all the bands and meeting all the cool you! The band that totally won us over was The Wanted. They were really good! We do remember NKOTB...We were just a little on the young side when they exploded so we are discovering their awesomeness more now than we did when we were younger! Their show was really fun last weekend!

Oh dear, My friends and I are hooked on The Wanted now too. They are catchy

Did you get to meet anyone exciting? any stories to share?

We met a lot of people and also saw a lot of old friends! We did get to play on stage with Joey McIntyre when he sang on “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with that was pretty cool! I (Kate) took a pic for a friend of mine and Donnie Wahlberg photo-bombed the pic…that was pretty funny.

What's next for you girls? 

We are getting ready to release “Heart of Stone” and will be playing our own shows, etc. We are also finishing up the USA Stronger Tour with Kelly Clarkson and then will head to Australia and the UK for the International portion of the tour. We are busy and grateful to be able to travel and play music!  

Thanks for agreeing to the interview. I am so grateful to have met you this weekend, it was truly one of the highlights of my weekend. So funny that when Kelly was on stage, I was actually watching you two and hadn't even met you yet. I am so glad that I did. 

Thank you so much for being so sweet. We loved meeting you and are super thankful that you’ve allowed us to be part of your blog! Hopefully we will see you again before too long!

Thank you so much for being so sweet. We loved meeting you and are super thankful that you’ve allowed us to be part of your blog! Hopefully we will see you again before too long!

I am hoping to catch a solo show when you come my way, wherever that may be.....

Readers, go check out their site, buy their album on September 18th and cheer them on. 

Follow them on Twitter: @jillandkate

Friday, August 24, 2012

Just Jules Features: Carter's Crafts

I am excited to start a new series this week. I will be featuring several different ventures of friends and acquaintances.  It's a privilege to be able to give back to those around me and sharing my blog is a way to do that.

Our good friends Randy and Angela recently moved away to Arkansas. Randy was a co-worker of Marty's and truly a guardian angel when Marty was sick. He was one of the men who watched out for Marty at work so that I wouldn't worry.

During their time as co-workers Randy started hand crafting wood pens and selling them to his co-worker's. Marty started bringing home these beautiful pens and I began stealing them! Here is one of my favorite pens to use:
hand turned wood pen

Marty then asked Randy to custom make a black hills gold pen for him to match his Dad's wedding ring that he wears. This is the finished product:

Since moving they have decided to open up a Etsy store and sell their products to a larger audience. They are also selling growth charts, up cycled baby bibs and ornaments. Angela and Randy are both talented crafters with a great eye for pretty things.

You should check them out, it is so hard to find nice pens anymore and these are truly a tasteful, elegant gift for any gentleman in your life. They also make unique gifts for baby showers and newborn babies.

I could go on and on, don't just take my word for it. Check them out for yourself

Carter's Crafts on Etsy
Carter's Crafts on Facebook

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mixtape pictures

I don't have really great pictures, I just have a few good pictures. I hope you all enjoy them. Feel free to use them or take them. Please just link back to my blog or give me credit for the picture. I was blessed to have a good point of view this weekend and wanted to share.

I am just Julie, a normal person, not a photographer. Some of them aren't good, but they are my pictures and I want to share them. 

Camera One~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Right moment, right click. Danny looked right at me

Andrea signing the Tayble

Kelly Clarkson

Beautiful small town

The Wanted

The Wanted

LL Cool J






Turn Down service!

Smores Cup at Chocolate World

Hershey Park at night

Reese's PB pie

Camera Two Pictures~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

First day in the VIP tent before the shows

North Stage

I loved this little girl. She was dancing and singing. I loved watching the show through her eyes!

My 22 year wait was about to end!

and it ended right in front of me!

Hurt me big daddy

Jill and Kate, Kelly Clarkson's backup singers and a act of their own. Look for a upcoming interview with them on Just Jules

This Tayble was signed by the artist's this weekend

The Wanted

The Wanted

Siva from The Wanted

We call this guy "haircut"

Carly Rae Jepson in the center. She is so tiny

LL COOL J is the man. Necklace, roses and a boombox all given out!

I love his microphone stand

Sunset at Hershey

Graffiti wall

98* reunion


Drew Lachey

Lachey Bros.

NKOTBSB for the last time

Howie D

The Wanted on stage with NKOTB

98* with NKOTBSB

My view from the after party

Fifty Shades of Joe

Joe on the speaker

Howie D, what a class act

One of the best moments


Donnie coaching Janelle


silly Joe