Julie Iraninejad is a teacher, musician, wife, and mother of two now residing in California. Her first album Beloved: A Gift of Music is inspirational music from the Baha’i Writings. This album is great for Ruhi study circles as many of the quotes are found in the Ruhi Institute materials (from CD Baby). Julie’s second album is Tender Years. Gentle and playful, this music will inspire children of all ages to develop their spiritual nature and serve humanity (from CD Baby).
Here is our interview with Julie.
A: My name is Julie Catherine Iraninejad and I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. My grandparents had moved to Mexico in the 1940′s, one set as Christian missionaries, and both my parents were born and raised in Mexico. I grew up mainly in Texas, but returned to Mexico most summers through high school. I went to college at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and there first heard of the Baha’i Faith. Very quickly I declared my faith in Baha’u'llah, and have been so grateful for this strong influence in my life every since! I lived in China for almost three years, before settling down in California with my husband and two precious daughters. I have a Masters degree in Education, and taught Pre-K, Kindergarten, and elementary-aged children in both bilingual (Spanish/English) and Montessori classrooms. Currently, I train parents in positive discipline and other effective child-rearing strategies, but mainly spend my time with family as well as offering children’s classes and study circles based on the Baha’i Writings.
Q: When did you start making music?
A: I started singing from a very young age, and was involved with musical theatre from the age of 7. When I lived in Texas, I used to perform with the Houston Grand Opera as a child opera singer. I sang in college and began composing music in my early 20s (though it was really only the melody that I came up with and then other musicians helped me to fill it all in!)
A: My first album is called Beloved: A Gift of Music (released under Julie Rosser). It was produced in 2001 and has seven songs, all from the Baha’i Writings. I made this album shortly after having been trained in the Ruhi Institute material, and six of the seven songs are quotes used in the Ruhi books. The seventh song is the story of the lover and his Beloved from Baha’u'llah’s Seven Valleys. That song (which is 10 minutes long) was spontaneously sung and recorded in the studio, and is one of my favorites.
Q: Can you tell us about Tender Years and the story behind it?
A: I began the Tender Years CD set, with my dear friend Shabnam Cyrus Mockon, when I was pregnant with my first child. I had realized that there were not very many prayers set to music for children, so we worked together to create 24 songs- all from the Writings- setting the Baha’i prayers for children and other Writings related to birth and children to music. My husband and I also added two additional songs which we wrote- an Allah’u'Abha wake-up song and a Ya’Baha’u'l-abha sleep song/lullaby- to the CD set.
Q: How can mothers use this music to add spiritual music into their daily lives?
A: The Tender Years CD set has been a constant companion in my child-rearing, and we often sing these songs either in our weekly children’s classes, our daily prayers, or at night-time. I think it is great to play music with Holy lyrics throughout the day, to help nurture and guide the tender hearts of children. I have also created lesson plans for children’s classes (ages 0-3 and 3-5) which draw on this CD, as well as others.
A: I have begun compiling quotes for my next CD. I am not sure what the CD will turn out to be, but it will definitely use Baha’i Writings as lyrics. Also, I want to make sure to capture the voices of my two daughters- Lily and Rose- who are currently 2 and 4, so definitely some of the songs will be geared to children. I am always open to ideas for the next project, and would be happy to have suggestions of quotes via email: julie@
Q: Do you have any advice for other mothers who would like to record Baha’i music?
A: Go for it! I have been blessed to work with several local musicians who have helped me a lot of arranging the music, once I came up with the melody. To be honest with you, the melody often came quickly after meditation! My advice is to just go for it, draw on divine inspiration, and collaborate with others. Also, setting the Baha’i Writings to music is such a gift, and really does help spread the Teachings in the world. The power of the Creative Word of Baha’u'llah is so amazing!
Q: How do you prefer people buy your CD?
A: CD Baby is great, as is ITunes. Thanks for the support! I hope the words and music are helpful and inspiring to all the great work each of you are doing!
To enter the June Music Giveaway competition:
- Leave a comment on this post by June 13 9pm (Eastern Standard Time) answering the following question: What Baha’i quotation would you love to see put to music?
- Only enter one comment per person per post please (each person will be entered into the weekly competition only once, but feel free to comment on each June Music Giveaway post so you can have four entries for the Grand Prize)
Two names will be selected – one to receive Beloved: A Gift of Music and one to receive Tender Years – and announced on June 14. The winners will be emailed with details of how to download Julie’s album.
The weekly competition is now closed.
Congratulations to Elham and Sharon whose names were drawn to receive one of Julie’s CDs!
All names on this post who entered comments before June 30 9pm (Eastern Standard Time) will also be entered into the drawing for the Grand Prize – a copy of all our June Music Giveaway Featured Artists’ CDs. One name will be selected from all comments entered into each of the four June Music Giveaway Interviews, and announced on July 1.
Thanks for your entry. We look forward to sharing Julie’s music with you!