“What I Need,” from Julie Reeves’ debut album, It’s About Time, recently became the young singer’s most successful recording to date, outpacing her previous single releases. The song received a boost from a video featuring Reeves performing an acoustic version not featured on her album. The video is in medium rotation on CMT.
Popular response to the acoustic version has been so great that Virgin Records Nashville has decided to make a streaming audio version available exclusively at country.com. Written by Marv Green, “What I Need” describes the longing of love as yet unrequited. The video clip features Reeves performing the song in a simple setting, seated on a stool with an acoustic guitarist accompanying her.
Before she landed a record deal, Reeves made a name for herself in Nashville as a singer of demo recordings for songwriters and publishers. She arrived here in 1994, part of a trio with her mother and a family friend, Danny Craig. Her partners eventually grew discouraged. Reeves, however, decided to stick around, taking jobs in local restaurants until she established herself as a talented vocalist.
Reeves signed a deal with Capitol Nashville in 1997, while producer-turned-executive Scott Hendricks still ran that label. When a corporate shakeup squeezed him out, Reeves went with Hendricks. Last year, she was the first musical artist to release an album on Virgin’s new Nashville imprint.
Get Julie’s debut release It’s About Time in the country.com Musicstore.
“Julie is special as an artist,” Hendricks feels. “When we came to Virgin, the only things we came with were Julie, River Road and [comedian] Roy D. Mercer. She was great when we signed her, and she’s even better now.”
Reeves recently earned her first music award nomination, top new female vocalist, in voting for the Academy of Country Music’s Hat Awards. She’ll find out if she’s a winner on May 3.
When Julie learned of her nomination, she called her mother, Rosemary, who also is her former singing partner.
“She started screaming on the phone,” Reeves recalls. “Hang up, then call and tell me that one more time so I can feel that excitement again.”
Previous singles included “It’s About Time,” a daring change of pace that mixed speaking and singing, and “Trouble Is a Woman.” Reeves’ mother came back to Nashville to add harmonies on three tracks on the album.
Reeves has real country credentials. The area around Ashland, Ky., her hometown, has yielded a long list of country music celebrities including The Judds, Loretta Lynn, Patty Loveless and Keith Whitley. She grew up close to U.S. Highway 23, which runs for miles next to the Ohio River, in the northeastern corner of the state. The Kentucky legislature dubbed the artery “The Country Music Highway” because of its association with so many country stars.
“You go back there, and it’s almost like you take a step back into years ago,” Reeves says in an interview. “They’re all stuck in that country, simple life, which I think is real cool.”