Julian Velard w/ special guest Charlene Kaye
Julian Velard is a native New Yorker writing perfect and unorthodox pop tunes with a voice that sounds like it came straight off the Dock of the Bay. Blending effortless cool, with a naturally charming motor mouth, he has created his own brand of classic inspired piano pop.
A former Parisian street sweeper and nursery school gym teacher, Julian was plucked from relative obscurity for his debut 'The Planeteer' after he was discovered on MySpace and found himself at the centre of a record company bidding war. The album became a hit with critics and tastemakers, with The Sunday Times calling it "A tantalising prospect. Catchy but complicated; a surprisingly rare combination" and Time Out comparing him to Harry Nilsson and Tom Waits. In the interim between the two albums Julian busied himself penning songs for other emerging new artists, including mutli-platinum selling UK Pop Sensation Olly Murs.
His sophomore release 'Mr. Saturday Night' has all the hallmarks of a classic pop record, whilst turning the singer-songwriter stereotype on its head and swapping sincerity for sarcasm. Influenced by 70's Elton John and packed with the sort of brazenly brilliant tunes that could make Robbie Williams green with envy, it's classic piano pop with a Broadway makeover. All performed by the fictional bow-tie wearing character of Julian's own invention named - Mr Saturday Night, of course.
His recently released EP Person Of Interest is yet another concept piece. A 4-song journey of melody, lyrics and beats, inspired by Julian's view of New York Harbor from his Brooklyn rooftop. The tone of the EP is his darkest yet. A curious blend of piano craftsmanship and urban soundscapes, it sounds like the twisted offspring of Billy Joel's the Stranger and Nas' Illmatic!
Julian ensures his live show is as much about him as a character, as it is about his music, "Banter is about 85% of my live show for better or worse," he smiles wryly. "I have disabled my internal filter! Every time a thought comes into my head on stage, I let it out."
Beyond the bow-ties and the wry asides, beyond the lyrical twists and the clever story telling, Julian's songwriting encompasses his influences, distinctive personality and overwhelming love of a good tune.
It's been all systems go for Charlene Kaye since releasing her sophomore album "Animal Love," which reached #15 on the iTunes pop charts upon its release this May. In addition to touring relentlessly and playing CMJ and SXSW festivals, the ambitious musician/performer has earned enthusiastic reviews from PopMatters, Huffington Post, NPR, The Atlantic, the NY Deli, the Village Voice and more for her commanding voice, deft guitar playing and electrifying live shows. She has over a million views on her YouTube channel and has shared a bill with the likes of Big Boi, Minus the Bear and Holly Miranda. This past November and again in May, she went on two national tours supporting musical theater/internet sensation Team StarKid, gaining her thousands of new fans. Her single "Dress and Tie" featuring good friend Darren Criss of Glee was featured in a promo for NBC's Chuck, had extensive play on radio stations nationwide, and was selected as official boarding music for Delta Airlines.
With a sound that fuses the grandiose pomp of Queen, the grittiness of Joan Jett, and the sentimentality of Rufus Wainwright, Charlene Kaye is a force whose music is at once classic and contemporary, of the times yet unmistakably timeless. With a rapidly growing fan base and more touring on the horizon, Kaye shows no signs of slowing down, picking up steam even before she leaves the ground.
“When I first heard Charlene Kaye, for the first time I heard the sound of a pop musician whose music’s excellence matches her theatrical personality. Kaye excels in a diverse brand of pop; throughout Animal Love, she goes from radio-friendly fare to a capella to blues, all without sounding like she’s forcing it.” - Popmatters
“[Animal Love I] kicks off the album…a sassy R&B number before plummeting into something resembling the peppiest of 1960s girl groups, with Charlene proclaiming “Let your bones show, let your bones show.” The second of these eponymous tracks (“Animal Love II”) is an epic exercise in vintage soul, gloriously scoring a heartbreak in a manner somehow uplifting.” -Philthy
“Animal Love is a crisply produced and catchy pop album. Charlene’s strength as a songwriter hasn’t been muted by the production quality of the album….The album is diverse in tone and style as she allows gritty rock sounds into songs like “Poison Apple” and “Forever Is A Long Time…” -Sour Grapes Winery