Julie Lee moved to Nashville 13 years ago, after spending two years in Budapest teaching English as a second language. She’s had some success as a singer-songwriter, recording several albums and having two of her songs recorded by Alison Krauss.
“The music industry is like a roller coaster,” she said. She doesn’t tour as frequently as some musicians, but she has traveled as far as England’s Greenbelt Festival to play her music. While she greatly enjoys the opportunities she’s had, her allegiance to the music business is held loosely. “I’m open to God changing my mind.”
Julie became a Christian and bought her first guitar while attending Westchester University in Pennsylvania. While she was furthering her education at Towson University, some friends from church steered her to the InterVarsity chapter. “InterVarsity was my way of finding a place at Towson and feeling connected when I was commuting back and forth from home,” she said.
InterVarsity helped solidify her faith and also allowed her to express her musical talents, as she joined the worship team. She remembers traveling to Florida for beach evangelism projects and attending various conferences, including the Urbana student missions conference.
Her two years in Budapest were a response to the Urbana missions challenge, but she sees her 13 years in Nashville on much the same terms. Julie feels like her concerts and records are her mission field. “That’s my biggest platform, to be salt and light to the world and to speak hope in the midst of suffering,” she said. She has observed other parallels between the life of a musician and that of a missionary. “I’m constantly dependent upon God, every day, for my needs.”
InterVarsity’s focus on friendship evangelism and sharing the gospel through relationships is still reflected in Julie’s approach. “That set the tone for the way in which I work out my faith even now, with fear and trembling, and the way I see being a witness,” she said.
In addition to performing music, Julie enjoys expressing herself through visual art. She also spends some of her time working as a nanny for friends. She said that art, music, and children have always been a big part of her life.
Although Nashville is the center of contemporary Christian music, Julie doesn’t limit herself to one particular style or genre. “I feel called to sing about all things and not just my relationship with God,” she said. “I like seeing God work and hearing people sing about all things in life, including their relationship with God.”
Julie doesn’t have a five-year plan for her music career. She would like to explore some new challenges, such as writing music for film and television, and make some more records. But ever since her InterVarsity experience at Towson University her top priority has been making herself available to the call of God. “There’s a multitude of things that God could use me for,” she said.
The complete audio interview with Julie, including portions of three of her songs, can be heard and downloaded on our audio resources page.
More information about Julie Lee’s music is available at her website: www.julielee.org
Photo: Julie singing “Blessed Assurance” with Alison Krauss and Union Station.