Numerous acclaimed contemporary musicians got their start at Vassar: Victoria Legrand ‘03, members of The Bravery ‘99,members of Genghis Tron ’05 and ‘06, and Julia Weldon ‘05. Weldon, a prolific New York City-based guitarist, songwriter and composer, will be returning to her home turf this Friday to perform a one-hour set in the Aula at 7:00 p.m. Sam Plotkin ‘15 and Ariel Bridges ‘15, two singer-songwriters who regularly perform at student showcases and open mic nights, will open for her.
Weldon’s performance is sponsored by the Queer Coalition of Vassar College (QCVC). Weldon self-identifies as queer and communicated with QCVC about performing at the College. QCVC exists to help various projects by and for Vassar’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and allied students. “Weldon expressed interest and excitement in wanting to perform at her alma mater,” said Tyler Fultz ’15, Vice-President of QCVC, “She forgoed her normal booking process just for the opportunity to perform here at Vassar.”
Weldon’s budding musical career began at Vassar. In an InsideNewYork.com interview, the Philosophy major said, “I started performing [my music] at Vassar and then took a huge break after college to find out what life is. I started writing a lot for about nine months after and it took another year to start playing out. Someone booked a show for me to open and I was like a typical artist, ‘Okay, I’ll do it if I have to,’” (“INY Music: Julia Weldon”, 10.24.2011).
Nevertheless, Weldon’s unhurried start has not translated to a lack of success. She has now toured up and down the East Coast and performed at many large venues, such as The Knitting Factory and Mercury Lounge. After performing at Vassar, she will continue her tour on April 20 at Bard College and April 26 at State University of New York at Purchase.
Weldon has released one self-titled album and is currently in the process of creating a full-length 12-track album, “Light Is A Ghost.” Although Weldon is known as a singer-songwriter, her music also can be categorized as catchy indie-folk-pop. Fultz noted, “Her musical influences include Bon Iver, Bob Dylan, KT Tunstall, and Iron & Wine, a perfect match for the Vassar music scene.”
And her inspiration is similar to those of her influences. In Weldon’s song “Marian,” she follows their reflective lead yet abandons potentially heteronormative narrative arcs. Her lyrics about two strangers colliding are profound: “And Marian looks gorgeous but I guess I’ll call a car/She says I love you, but where do you belong?/And I tell her/Darling I’m in between, I’m in between right and wrong.”
When asked about her inspirations in her InsideNewYork.com interview, she answered: “Relationships,”(“INY Music: Julia Weldon”, 10.24.2011).“It’s natural for any artist to be inspired by relationships and people. I can be in a very particular emotional state and I don’t even know what I’m going to express but it just comes out in me. The best songs come retrospectively about relationships. When you’re in one, it’s pretty hard to be objective and it’s hard if you have a partner to be like ‘Hey, this is how I feel.’ I write a bunch of good songs at the beginning and the end of relationships,”(“INY Music: Julia Weldon”, 10.24.2011).
Before Weldon performs, Vassar musicians Plotkin and Bridges will perform original pieces. Plotkin will perform for the first time at Vassar new songs from an album he plans to release this summer. Like Weldon, he is known for story-telling through music. “Most of my songs try to tell some kind of story or narrative, with varying degrees of specificity. I’ve actually written a sequel song to a narrative one I wrote last semester, so I’m thinking about playing both of those at the event,” he said.
Bridges added: “I’m singing 3 songs from my EP A Flightless Bird which comes out May 7 on iTunes; I’m also doing a couple cover songs that are fan favorites—‘You and I’ by Ingrid Michaelson, ‘In Your Arms’ by Kina Grannis; [and] I’ll also be premiering a new song I just wrote which I’m really excited about!”
Pairing current Vassar musicians with Weldon will create an inspiring atmosphere for the Vassar community, a group that includes seasoned musicians and tone-deaf students alike.Fultz emphasized, “Weldon absolutely loves this campus, so we highly encourage everyone to come out and support this fantastic and super talented alum.”