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Julian Coleman: In Constant Motion.

June 26, 2013

JulianColemanSmall01Text by Naveed Ahsan. Images by Michael Bucher.

Since winning the Grammy U competition in April, 20-year-old Julian Coleman has had little time to reflect or even pause for a moment.

The guy literally will not slow down.

Coleman juggles his coursework at the University of the Arts with his job at the Apple store in King of Prussia and his burgeoning music career. He’s constantly writing and recording, and during the month-long Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts event in April, he commuted nearly an hour each way from his home in Mt. Airy to the Kimmel Center to perform in the musical “Flash of Time.”

It’s been difficult but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s really been a sacrifice but I enjoy what I’m doing,” he says.

Coleman was one of six artists chosen to perform one song in the Recording Academy Grammy U contest held at Milkboy. He sang his wistful composition, “Blinding Lights,” which talks about the different things in life that try to distract us while we’re on the path (Now at this time/I’m still alive/From all the time you spent with me/And the pain I felt/Is nothing but an empty dream).

JulianColemanSmall02“Honestly, I really wasn’t expecting to win,” he says. “I wasn’t even expecting to be picked for the contest. It was kind of like a ‘whoa’ moment. I sang a song that really meant a lot to me so winning was a great feeling.”

Born in Philly, Coleman and his two siblings jumped from place to place while their father served in the Navy. The family moved from Philly to Virginia Beach, then to San Diego and finally settled back in Philly when Coleman was in the third grade.

Music has always been the one constant, impermeable force in his life.

He realized his love for performing after singing church solos at the early age of eight years old.

“Ever since (that young age), I’ve enjoyed it,” he says. “I used to be really bad but I ended up singing and I kept at it.”

The first song he learned to perform as a little boy was “Kiss From a Rose” by Seal.

The multi-faceted artist — he dabbles in dance and piano — graduated from the High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. His musical style takes elements from Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, Jay-Z and Pharell, among others.

Coleman is now hard at work recording in the studio, sending demos to labels and working on another project with a collaborative hip-hop music group called 20/20.

He hopes to one day headline Madison Square Garden and the Staples Center. He’s yet to step foot in MSG but was given the opportunity to go to the Staples Center last February after he saved enough money to attend the Grammy Awards with the Recording Academy, an experience that he says was absolutely incredible.

Coleman hasn’t let any of his recent success go to his head. He still gets nervous before performances. When he sings, he still feels like he’s that 8-year-old boy at church.

“The satisfaction I have afterwards?” he says. “There’s nothing like it. I feel like everything makes sense. I feel like I’m in my own zone.”

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