Conversations with Performers: Interview with Julie Baird!

I hope you enjoyed the last interview post! If you haven’t checked it out yet, Click here.

Today, I have another very special performer who is also currently working at a Disney Park. However, she is working at Tokyo Disney in Japan! I am so excited to introduce Julie Baird. She is not only talented and a fabulous dancer, actress, and singer, but she has one of the most positive attitudes in show biz. I am not exaggerating when I say this girl lights up a room with her smile and grace. We had a wonderful time catching up via Facebook video messenger! Here is what Julie had to say!

5 Facts About You:

Favorite Musical: Once. The actors play instruments AND sing. And the non-traditional love story is centered around the amazing music making on stage. It makes me cry. Also, I have to throw in Once on This Island. The score is beautiful.

Favorite Job or Role so far: Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. It requires so much energy and it’s exhausting, but so rewarding.

Role You Want to Play Next: Jenna in Waitress!

Gender-Bender Song You’d Want to Sing: “It All Fades Away” from Bridges of Madison County.

Coffee or Tea: Coffee. Black.

Julie as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde.

What are you up to right now?

I’m actually in Japan! I’m working for Tokyo Disney. I’m in a show called “Big Band Beat.” It is a huge show with an 11-piece orchestra, 20 dancers, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Daffy Duck. There are also 4 singers—2 boys, 2 girls. We sing solo, quartet, and duet arrangements of Jazz standards like “It Don’t Mean a Thing” and “Bye, Bye, Blackbird.”

How did you land that job?

I auditioned in February of this year in Chicago, where I’m from. I had a lot of auditions that week. I went in, did my audition, and found out in early March that I got the job. I started in August. And here I am in Japan!

What are some of the differences in the performing world in Japan versus in the United States?

Wow. It is definitely different. Communication is a challenge. We had a translator in rehearsals because the dancers and the director are Japanese. Because we are sometimes speaking different languages, things can take a little longer to come together. I am taking Japanese lessons once a week though, so I am learning the language.

Also, the audience is Japanese, but we sing in English. They are so passionate about music and really enjoy it. But it is interesting that they don’t always know what words we are singing. This particular show has been going on for about 15 years, I believe. It has a big following. The audiences are also bigger here with about a 1,500-seat theater.

What has been the most challenging experience you’ve had as a performer and how did you overcome it?

Part-time jobs to make enough money while in a show! Some gigs don’t pay enough and you have to supplement it with a coffee job in the mornings. It’s hard because I feel like I don’t have enough time to sleep and it is tiring work. It’s worth it, but you have to be good with time management.

What got you started in the performing arts?

When I was little, maybe 3 or 4, I was obsessed with the VHS tape of Oklahoma, Cats, and Donny Osmond! I loved musicals. My parents thought they should put me in performing arts camp and community theater productions. Once I started, I never stopped! I went to college for musical theater too. I think I’m living a “normal” life doing what I love. I might not always be able to get sleep, but I live my life to the fullest!

           Julie as Amber in Hairspray.

What are your go-to audition songs?

Well, for this current job, I sang “Happy Days Are Here Again” from the musical Beautiful. I sang the Judy Garland, up-tempo version. It is such an upbeat, happy, cute song. I also sing “Something Are Meant to Be” from Little Women and “I Don’t Know What I’d Do” from Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.

How do you stay focused and determined?

I have to do the same show 5 times a day. I end up singing the same song 7 times a day including mic check. I have to find ways to make the song different. I have to make sure I’m singing the song with good technique, but also with energy I can sustain. It’s a balance and a creative process. I have to say that being around people who are so professional everyday is really refreshing. They inspire me to be on their level.

I usually do yoga or stretching to quiet music to keep the body relaxed. I love my 20-minute walk to work too. Sound check also helps me see how my voice is doing that day.

If you could have a coffee date with one singer, who would it be and why?

Brandi Carlile. She is a folk rock singer. She writes her own music and I love her albums. She has a unique voice that is so raw and organic. I really love that kind of folk twang style. She is also just a badass woman with a wife and child. I think Sara Bareilles would also be cool to meet!

Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring performers?

Enjoy your work! Whatever your work is and wherever you are in life–enjoy yourself. And don’t be discouraged by not getting work. If you really love it and the work isn’t given to you, do it yourself. We do this work because we love it so make it happen. There are no guarantees in life, but you can guarantee that you are happy.

Thank you, Julie! You are an inspiration both on and off stage. Check out her website www.juliebaird.com!

 

Let me know what you think about these interviews in the comments below! If you have questions you want answered in the future, let me know too!

 

 

 

 

 

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