State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

PS-U Oughta Know Artist: Julie Bouchard


Photo: Zoë Kushlefsky

Meet junior Education major Julie Bouchard – a young woman with a voice to rival Hayley Williams and modesty to rival…well, probably everyone.  She’s only 20 years old, but the long list of musical involvement and achievements that adorn her resume is on par with that of someone twice her age.

Prior to even arriving at Penn State, the Oyster Bay native had been playing piano since the age of 5, writing songs since middle school, and to top it all off, by her senior year of high school, Bouchard had already published an orchestral piece and interned with the competitive Oratorio Society of  Queens (an audition-based classical choir.)  This kind of classical training, no doubt, provided the stable foundation for her current  successes.  At Penn State, she composed and performed music for the School of Music’s productions of “Little Town Blues” and “Once,” performed with the Oriana Singers for two years, and won “Best Female Songwriter” and “Best Acoustic Act” at the Penn State Music Awards for two consecutive years.

Impressed yet? (If yesjul5, keep reading. If no, keep reading.) How about  once I tell you that, despite the talent she possesses as a songwriter and  singer, she has no interest in being in the spotlight?  In a statement, the  songstress revealed, “I like the idea of assuming a behind-the-scenes role  when it comes to music.  I love writing and I love putting my songs out  there, but I don’t think I’d mind putting my songs out there for other  people to sing.  I could still release my ideas into the world, but while also  maintaining normalcy in my own life.”

There’s no question that twenty-somethings as level-headed as Julie is a  rare breed among college populations.

Julie’s ear for catchy vocal lines transfers well into the acoustic pop genre  she typically represents in her songwriting. You can clearly recognize the way in which her #1 influences (Ed Sheeran, Mariana’s Trench, and Adele)  help to craft the way she plays guitar, attacks notes, and structures songs.  While she may draw upon other artists for inspiration, her voice is all her own.  Its spherical sound is booming, rich, and raw, and it engulfs you when you hear it.  She utters the most impressive vocal runs and jumps among any of the many singers I personally know, but all the while making it look absolutely effortless.

Already, she has a staggering 30+ original songs written, with each one coming to life in just under 10 minutes. She insists that if she likes a song she’s working on enough, then writing it should feel natural and fluid.  If she ever feels like she’s struggling to connect to the content in that moment, then it’s not worth it for her to keep pursuing. “I’ll throw out the idea and move on to the next one.”

If you want to catch one of Julie Bouchard’s jaw-dropping performances, keep your eyes peeled for open mics on and off-campus, as she’s a regular attendee.  In the meantime, though, settle your anxiousness by listening to her Soundcloud and Youtube channels.