Singer Juliana Schnee began writing songs at age 11. "I have been singing my whole life," said the now 20-year-old Manheim resident. "I started singing my originals for friends and family and loved it so much that I never stopped."
Schnee, who describes her musical style as "very jazzy" and inspired by classics from Frank Sinatra, Etta James, and Natalie Cole, will perform a concert at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19, at Historic Salem United Church of Christ, 324 Walnut St., Columbia. The concert will be free; however, a freewill offering will be received.
Concertgoers can expect to hear several of Schnee's original songs, including "I Left My Heart in May," "Sailboat," and "Emotions," and she will talk about the inspiration behind the songs. "I love to tell stories about what inspired each piece," said Schnee.
Self-taught on the piano and ukulele, Schnee released her first album, "Dance in the Rain," at age 16, the same year that her song "Expectations" was included in WJTL's Kids Cookie Break 4 CD. She co-wrote her latest single, "Diamonds," with national Christian singer and songwriter Jimmy Needham and is working on a new EP expected to be released in 2017.
"Inspiration is everywhere," Schnee said. "My songs might be about something I went through personally or people I know and how they handled a struggle. Songwriting is less about the tiny details of the story and more about capturing an emotion and helping others feel that too. That's why music is such a universal language."
Performing is an enduring passion for Schnee, who said that even after practicing a song over and over, singing it in front of a crowd is like singing it for the first time. "I like to watch people's reactions to each song, because as a songwriter, that shows me how people connect to different lyrics," she explained.
Schnee is a homeschool graduate and currently works as a pharmacy technician, but her goal is to eventually do music full-time. Now that Schnee has been performing for several years, she has started to have fans recognize her in public. "I think it's so cool that people remember my music," she said. "It's so exciting to me every time I hear my songs on the radio. You never know who might be listening, and I always hope someone is encouraged by the words they hear."
Schnee feels her songwriting style has evolved over the past nine years and that she has found her niche with jazz. As someone who has had so much musical experience at such an early age, she said her advice to children and teenagers who are interested in pursuing a career in music is: "Keep at it. If music is something you love, just pursue that with everything you have." Schnee added, "In the end, your songs, your lyrics, and your story could be a big blessing to someone, and that's the most rewarding part."
Individuals who would like to hear Schnee's music can go to http://www.youtube.com and search for "Juliana Schnee Music." For additional details, readers may visit http://www.julianaschnee.com or http://www.salemucc.yolasite.com.