Country music star and Belmont alumna Julie Roberts readily admits that she came to Nashville with both dreams and insecurity.
Her advice to today’s students, many of whom share the same emotions, is to never lose sight of your dreams, to “do what you do and do it all the time.”
Roberts, whose debut album was certified gold, entertained current Belmont students atop the Curb Parking Garage when she returned earlier this month to headline the annual Service Corps Skyline Party.
Junior Christie Sanders, coordinator for press and publicity for Service Corps, called Roberts a “good pick for Skyline because she is an excellent example of what amazing talent can come out of Belmont.”
“Julie knows what it’s like to be in our shoes,” Sanders said. “She knows what it’s like to be unsure of yourself when chasing your dreams, and she knows what it’s like to be discouraged when you’re surrounded by so many amazing singers and musicians.”
And that’s why students like sophomore Lisa Ritchey found inspiration in Robert’s story – a story shared by a number of current Belmont students.
Originally from Lancaster, S.C., Roberts began college at a small school there and transferred to Belmont as a junior.
But Belmont was always Roberts’ first pick.
After two years, she saved enough money to fulfill her “goal from the very beginning,” to study the music industry at Belmont.
The transition from a small college in South Carolina to Belmont was easy. “Belmont was a part of the plan God meant for me,” Roberts said.
She couldn’t believe she was actually getting to learn about country music, the music she loved and
the music she hoped to one day sing.
“I have never really had another goal in my life, besides to sing. I never had another option, and I still don’t,” Roberts said.
An internship at Universal Records in Nashville eventually led to the record deal that produced her 2004 self-titled debut album.
The album was certified gold and its debut single, “Break Down Here,” became a Top 20 single on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
Roberts attributes the success of “Break Down Here” to the song’s relatable message.
“It is real and I think that when a song connects you know,” Roberts said. “I’ll never get tired of singing that song.”
Ultimately, the gold album produced multiple nominations for Roberts at both the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music awards.
But not until Nashville’s May floods devastated her and her mother’s home did Roberts take the time to slow down and really appreciate how blessed she really is, she said.
“We were cleaning out the house from the flood, and I saw my gold album hanging up. It just made me feel very fortunate that I’ve been able to do this.”
And with this new lease on her career, Roberts is looking forward to releasing new music.
“Music is what I love the most. So I hope that in the near future – and it will be very near future-– my fans will hear a lot of great new music that I’m really excited about.”