Julian Schoming, a 2014 graduate of Manchester Valley High School, recently released his first EP — a collection of four songs that showcase the skills he’s spent most of his life honing.
Schoming devoted much of his extracurricular activities in high school to the arts, then took his passion to the Berklee College of Music, from which he recently graduated. Soon he’ll move to England to begin his master’s degree and expand his horizons.
The Times connected with Schoming to find out what it takes to become a recording artist. Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Q: What’s your history with music? How long have you been performing?
A: I began playing piano when I was 4, taking lessons and performing in small recitals. I started playing drums when I was 9 and cello about a year after that. Sometimes I would play along with songs I was learning for my extended family and as I grew I played in school groups, such as wind ensemble, orchestra, percussion ensemble and jazz band. I was also really interested in theater, so I started performing in musicals at the Carroll Arts Center. In high school, I began getting more serious about my studies in music, so I joined All County Orchestra and Band, Westminster Symphony Orchestra and McDaniel Concert Band, as well as gigging in cafes and bars, performing in school theater productions, and playing in nearly every music group Manchester Valley offered.
Q: How did your time at Manchester Valley and Carroll Arts Center impact your growth as an artist?
A: Both places were essential in that they encouraged me to become the best I could be and really worked with me to help me grow in all of my interests. I was only 11 when I started shows at the Carroll Arts Center, so that is the place I was introduced to the stage and where I began connecting with a larger audience and a community of other creative individuals. At Manchester Valley they were extremely understanding that I wanted to commit my studies to music, so my teachers helped me create a schedule full of musical/theatrical endeavors as well as multiple extracurricular activities. Without them there is no way I would be where I am now.
Q: How would you describe your style of music?
A: This EP in particular is sort of a mixture between a singer-songwriter feeling and jazz, but it has elements of musical theater in the vocal style, and there is a string section in two of the songs, so there’s a lot of influence from different places in my life. The sound of this EP is really only a small snippet of what I like to write. I’m deeply interested in many different kinds of music. I decided on this style as my first release because I wanted to be able to connect with a lot of people, which I feel is something these four songs can do, while I also feel these songs specifically reflect me as a person.
A: I’ve been writing songs since I was 13 and recording them in my basement, so I’ve always had the dream of releasing my own music, but I didn’t have the necessary knowledge or tools in order to create a really professional sound. I began studying at The Berklee College of Music in the spring of 2016, where I studied contemporary writing and production. Over a period of time, I saw that this EP was something I could make happen and enjoy the process of, along with all the amazing people who were a part of it.
Q: What steps did you have to take to release the EP?
A: The first step was finding four songs from my repertoire that seemed to fit together well. I then wrote the arrangements for all of them, the immersive process of deciding instrumentation and writing the parts for the instruments included. After the producer and engineer of the album, Jarred Hahn, and I created scratch demos of the songs to record along with in the studio, we began recording everyone. The drums, piano and bass were all recorded together in order to get a nice organic rhythm section for everyone else to play over. We then recorded horns and strings separately. Throughout this time, we had multiple vocal sessions in order to get the right vocal take for each song. After having everything recorded, we spent countless hours mixing and mastering. We were doing all of this while in our senior year at Berklee, so we each had our own studies to focus on at the the same time. This is why it took us a whole year to complete the entire process.
Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from to create music?
A: There are very few types of music I don’t enjoy. At Berklee, it’s an extremely diverse and multitalented group of people there with enormous background and experience, so its a lot easier sometimes to just say “everything” instead of going into long-winded details. From Bach to bluegrass, Balkan folk to modern electronic dance, heavy metal to contemporary Arabic, Indian classical to funk from the ’70s, there is so much inspiration and crossover to pull from everything which can influence you and the decisions you make. Berklee really opened my eyes to so much music I’d never heard because of its multicultural community. Nature is also a huge inspiration to me.
Q: What are your career goals? What’s next now that the EP is out?
A: In the fall I will be moving to work on my master’s degree in London. I will be studying audio production at the University of Westminster, which will give me an even deeper understanding of the studio. I’m excited to be in a new and also incredibly diverse place where I can meet more great musicians and creative people to make more projects with. I don’t know when I’ll release my next full EP/album, but it certainly won’t be too long from now.
A: You can find my music on all major streaming platforms (Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, etc.) if you search “Julian Schoming, Breathe Into The Day.” Follow me on Instagram @brotherjuju, and check out my website, www.julianschoming.com.