“If you dream a thing more than once, it’s sure to come true.” - Disney
Growing up in Southern Manitoba, early memories are of gatherings with Mom singing and playing drums and keys; her Dad, brother and four sisters were all talented too. She was just 12 when the siblings started to entertain locally. Julie was always creating tunes and rhythms and she had a big dream. In her teens, after her brother died, she and a sister joined a high school band “ManMaid”. They had lots of gigs and also competed in Battle of the Bands. At her parents’ persuasion, Julie trained as a hairdresser, but she clung to her dream seizing any opportunity to jump up on stage and sing. In Winnipeg, she tried various musical genres including jazz and disco, made jingles, put out a ‘45’ with a band called Benge and recorded with Burton Cummings.
In 1980, Julie risked moving to Toronto with only $80 in her pocket, where, shortly after she joined The Parachute Club. Julie wrote the music and lyrics for three albums, which the band performed in tours across Canada, Europe, America and Jamaica. In 1984, they won a Juno award for Rise Up… 33 years later this hit single was selected by Okanagan Oldies for their radio station’s debut song!
After leaving The Parachute Club, Julie and her husband, Agostino Masi, decided to move to California, where they opened and operated four upscale beauty salons. During this time KD Lang invited Julie to join her American tour, but Julie turned down this opportunity as she was pregnant with her son Lucca. Julie has always had a strong passion for family and although wonders what direction her career might have taken, she has no regrets as this allowed her to devote more time to their businesses and, best of all, to raising their son, now 28, who is still her “pride and joy.”
Business was great in California, but her husband began hankering for Canada. So, after 15 years they sold up and moved to Kelowna to be closer to family. In Kelowna, they opened Agostino’s Italian Fine Dining and Julie formed a band. They had been together for 32 years before Agostino’s passing in 2010, so maintaining the restaurant alone became too onerous for Julie. Since then, promoting awareness of prostate cancer has become important to Julie. She has raised more than $30,000 so far through her annual fundraiser - a “Winnipeg Social” with performances by Le Mo Nay and the band. See details about Fall’s 2018 Kelowna event on Winnipeg Social Facebook page.
Career highlights for Julie included singing with David Foster at the Juno Awards, performing with Jose Feliciano in California and also with Bruce Cockburn, Dan Hill, Alannah Myles, Annie Lennox and Sarah MacLachlan.
Julie is still involved with The Parachute Club today and they do the occasional gigs together.
Music still nourishes her soul and she continues to hear lyrics and tunes in her head. About five years ago, she met Steve Soucy, also a musician and song writer. “We just clicked musically and in all ways, he makes me happy and my songs reality.” As a duo, Le Mo Nay, are also producing a video of Hallelujah, a popular fan request. They perform at various venues, often at Cache Lounge in Kelowna and at wineries, special events, galas and house concerts. To follow the duo go to Julie Ann Masi on facebook or lemonay.com. Julie says their ultimate goal is to tour Canada:
“I would love to be on the road again with a band.”
Recently, Julie joined the cast of New Vintage Theatre’s production, Rock of Ages.
Okanagan audiences were treated to a performance of Innuendo, a song she co-wrote that was a huge hit.
Modestly, Julie says:
“I had so much fun in my very first musical. I hope to do more.”
Julie is very gifted with a gorgeous voice and great musicality.
What is this beautiful and talented lady’s secret to staying so youthful and energized?
“NEVER GIVE UP. NO MATTER WHAT YOUR AGE, FOLLOW YOUR DREAM.
Hang on to that thread and the dream will never get tired or old!”
So now you know! Juno award-winning singer, songwriter, percussionist, Julie Masi, is an Okanagan Woman and we can proudly claim her as one of our own.