In utero concerts gave Shari Ulrich’s daughter a jump start on her career.
“She grew up with music from when she was in the womb. I was recording a UHF album when I was nine months pregnant. She had about two months with a mandolin against her head,” said Ulrich, who is performing at the Dream Café on July 19 with daughter Julia Graff and Ted Littlemore.
Now instead of her mom calling the shots on what she listens to, Julia Graff is the one bossing her around as the engineer and producer of Ulrich’s new album Everywhere I Go.
“It is a fantastic and unique relationship we have. All I have to do is take a step back to see what a fantastic thing it has been to share music with her in this way and with her producing the album it has a whole other dimension,” said Ulrich. “She is just so good, confident and competent that it was very easy to surrender to her in that way. I haven’t done that with any producer in a very long time because I have been working on my own.”
Graff was no pushover either.
Tight deadlines in order for Graff to finish her masters degree in music in sound recording at McGill meant Ulrich had to write songs for the CD in just a month.
“That scared the hell out of me because I am not a very prolific writer,” admits Ulrich.
Having just seen an Elizabeth Gilbert TedTalk on creativity, Ulrich was inspired.
“The essence of her message was if you show up, it will come. Basically that is what I did. I got up every day and instead of going to my email I picked up an instrument and hung onto it for dear life until something came out.”
Ironically, the first song Ulrich worked on for about two weeks ultimately was thrown out. Knowing the importance of the deadline and what it meant for her daughter, Ulrich buckled down and lyrics and music began pouring out. Bits of songs and lyrics Ulrich had been collecting on tape recorders for the last decade was culled to be expanded upon and cleaned up. The result is an album roaming around the top five in the Galaxie charts and lots of positive response.
“I think we have produced something that is quite special and seems to resonate with people,” said Ulrich. “That tends to be because I do write about life. People hear themselves in those songs and that is why we are drawn to music because it triggers emotional reaction.”
It also does in the writer. Ulrich has heartfelt songs such as This Life and Making Friends With Gone that came to her with ease.
“It really did just spill out in a matter of minutes. That is why I am always in awe of the creative process. It was the first time I experienced that but you hear about it from other writers that do that all the time and I just grind my teeth and say how nice for you,” joked Ulrich.
The two-time Juno award winning singer/songwriter and B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame star said it is a matter of getting in touch with what really moves you and generally that will move others.
“That is the thing I’m always searching for and you never really have faith if you are going to find it but then you get in this zone and those things happen. Often I weep when it affects me. That is a way I know whoever eventually hears it for the first time will probably have the same reaction and that I have something,” said Ulrich.
Graff is joining Ulrich on stage as an accompanist on violin, mandolin, guitar, accordion and vocals. Littlemore will be on piano, accordion and vocals.
Tickets for the July 19 show at the Dream Café are $22.