Forty-one year old songwriter Julie Ann Bailey (a wife and
mother of three boys-10,15 &18), can best sum up her career
with the title of the famous Bacharach-David song, "Promises,
Promises." It's been a never-ending struggle for success,
with people in the business trying to help her and then not
For Julie Ann, the problem wasn't making industry connections--she'd
done that on her own, taking meetings with Big Wigs over at
Screen Gems-EMI in Nashville and hooking up with famous record
producers and attorneys. Her problem was the same one most
of us face: Separating the fakes and the flakes.
Ms. Bailey wrote her first song when she was just 13 and
got her first guitar (after not being able to cope with piano
lessons) at age 15. By the time she turned 17, Julie Ann had
already met George, her husband-to be, who also played guitar.
It was love at first chord!
The first batch of tunes Julie Ann wrote were all Christian
songs. "I felt this Calling connected with my talent and so
all of the songs I wrote were Christian songs for the Christian
market," she told the Meter. "My vision then was to get some
kind of record deal with Sparrow or some other Christian label.
In fact, for seven years, both before and after we were married,
we traveled extensively as a guitar duo and performed at colleges,
prisons, churches and parks."
Croix Falls, Wisconsin
After failing to attract a
Christian label willing to sign her, Julie Ann opted for an
indie release but garnered only moderate airplay. "In 1981
we released an independent album on our own label but it got
only limited airplay in the Midwest because our distributor
told us that we mixed the drums too loud for Christian music.
I had a problem from the beginning with people telling me
that my voice was too rock & roll for the Church and that
I looked too emotional when I sang. I was told this by radio
people, distributors and pastors."
Feeling constrained and frustrated, at age 26, Julie Ann
decided to totally change musical directions and sail into
pop waters. "Making this decision wasn't going to change what
was in my heart, only the sound of the songs I wrote. I felt
that I had God's blessing to do whatever I wanted with my
talents. So, at age 26, I decided to be successful. I was
going to write for the masses."
Bailey began writing more and more and getting more demo
tapes out there. In fact, one made its way to a former Prince
musician who wanted to help. "It was all very encouraging
because it allowed me to get one spec deal after another at
the studios. It was a lot of work getting them out because
you need to stay on top of the situation. People tend to forget
who you are when the party's over and the cocaine wears off.
It was encouraging, but still no deal."
Then, the attorney for Whitney Houston (at that time) became
interested so Bailey kept making even more song demos. She
was overnighting him songs and spending money in the studios.
Again, nothing developed.
"At one point," recalled Julie Ann, "we even packed up our
entire family and moved to a campground near the Opry in Nashville
for a week of meetings with Screen Gems-EMI. David Rifkin
in the Twin Cities got me the meetings. I played lots of songs
for them and they told me they liked the songs--every one
of them. He told me he wanted to sign me as a staff writer.
This was all over night and I had already been psyched so
many times before. He took some songs for Amy Grant and was
making all of these promises to me. I returned home and was
on Cloud Nine. This relationship went on for about three months
and then he didn't take my calls anymore. Eventually, when
I tried to call him, I learned that he was no longer working
Figuring she could use some help, Julie Ann spied an ad in
a music magazine and called TAXI for a free membership package.
She joined immediately and has been a member for about five
years--making one deal with DSM that has earned her royalties
of about $6,000 for having songs placed in the Jerry Springer
Show, and in CBS and NBC shows, as well.
"I have a good relationship with Michael and Doug and a lot
of the screeners. They're all very accessible and give me
good advice all the time. I keep coming back to them. They've
certainly gone beyond what they say in their ads. It's done
more for me than my subscription to Billboard which costs
These days, Julie Ann is continuing to watch her catalog
and income grow. Her next solo EP, now on MP3. com, is called
One More Time. What she has learned from her years at TAXI
is that, unlike the dozens of others who meant well, the folks
at TAXI actually deliver.