LOGAN — A local singer is celebrating the release of her CD after years of dreaming and dedication.
Julia Neville was born in Bucyrus and learned at a very young age that performing was in her blood.
“I was singing at a fair, there was a fair karaoke booth and my mom asked me, ‘would you like to go in and try?’ and I said sure,” said Neville. “I went in and I sang “The Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston, and everybody that would walk by would stop and there was a whole big crowd, it was huge, it was amazing. That was the first moment that I realized that I could encourage and move people with my voice.”
From that moment on, Neville’s goal in life was to continue to perform, and so she did in musicals, choirs, and any other opportunity she could find. Eventually she would be awarded a $16,000 scholarship at Ashland University for her singing skills, however the school wanted her to primarily perform opera style music, which she did not enjoy, and so she dropped out to record a CD in Nashville, having won 8-hours of studio time in a contest.
Her dreams were put on hold when her stepfather, whom she loved very much and considered to be her father, fell ill. She returned home to help her mother drive her father back and forth between home and Columbus. In the meantime, she took a job as a waitress, giving out CDs to anyone who would take one. Eventually, the CD would fall into the hands of the manager for Brooks & Dunn, who would then offer Neville a contract with their record label.
Unfortunately, the offer came on the heels of her father’s passing, and Neville was too consumed by her grief.
“That’s when my whole life completely stopped. I didn’t sing any more, I didn’t want to live any more,” said Neville. “I couldn’t understand why a good dad- God would take, but He took him, and that really upset me.”
During that dark time, Neville found herself reaching out for help because her despair was consuming her and she found herself not wanting to carry on.
“I talked to this lady on the phone for four hours, about God and how angry I was at God, and she convinced me not to take my life that day,” said Neville.
According to Neville, her father had encouraged her to get closer to God, and so after his passing and her own recovery, she studied the Bible and focused on her own relationship with God. During that time, she would meet her future husband, Michael, and together raise five children, Corey, 24, and Ashley, 20, from Michael’s previous marriage, and Faith, 11, Patience, 10, and Justice, 5.
As she continued to study the Bible, she came across scripture that talked about using the talents that you are given. Neville stated that she realized that she was wasting the gift that she had been given, and so after years decided to try to return to the stage, taking inspiration from a song that she had covered by Lee Ann Womack, “I Hope You Dance.” It had been on the CD that she made when her father was alive, and he had told her that every time she heard the song to think of him singing to her.
“So here I am again, and it’s like God opened up another door for me to sing again, and it has to be what’s meant to be,” said Neville. “It has to be.”
The CD is a single, featuring the song, “Six Strings are Hard on Diamond Rings” and is about a girl who is regretting that she chose her singing career over settling down with a husband and white picket fence. Neville said that this song moved her because she lived the opposite, having the husband and children first.
“You can have it both ways if you really think about it,” said Neville. “Some people think if you have kids you can’t live your dream, but I want people to know that they can.”
Neville will be celebrating the release of her CD on June 6 at Muddie Waters Bar and Grill from 3 to 7 p.m. Everyone in the community is welcome to join, including children.