But with all the hard work and stress of chasing down auditions, Gribble was often left feeling empty and uninspired. It was time for a break.
“It just wasn’t feeding my soul,” said Gribble, who will be performing at the Peerless Saloon in Anniston Nov. 23 and 24. “I figured there was no better time to give it a try. I went into it with the attitude of ‘If I suck, then I suck but at least I tried.’”
Gribble did more than try. She started going to open mic nights at clubs and bars around L.A., writing down guitar chords on beer napkins and practicing on the guitar she’d had since she was 16 years old. With her passion rekindled, Gribble learned to play the guitar that had gone mostly unused for years.
“I was terrible at first,” she said with a laugh. “But I’ve always been really self-motivated. I just fell in love with music, so I sat down with that guitar for two hours every day … it hurt, but was still a great feeling.”
During one open mic performance, Gribble caught the attention of Dan Lavery, bass player for the rock group Tonic, who started helping her with both her playing and songwriting. A poet since her early teens, Gribble learned to take her personal stories and phrasing and turn them into something more universal.
These tutorials, plus a natural tenacity to succeed, eventually paid off in 2003 when she released her first CD (under the name Jules) Back Inside of Me. Gribble has since released three additional CDs — her latest being Letting Go — toured relentlessly across the United States and Canada, performed on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and the Tyra Banks Show. Her songs have been featured on the Lifetime movie Dive at Clauson’s Pier, popular Nickelodeon shows Zoey 101, Drake and Josh and Smallville.
“I’ve worked my ass off to make all this happen,” Gribble said. “I think the music was always inside of me, I just never had the guts to go for it.”
With a sound that blends the crooning of Natalie Merchant with the country twang and tenderness of Emmylou Harris, Gribble has carved a unique niche for herself. Given that she’s still relatively new to the music scene, Gribble’s performances are all the more sincere and in the moment. Plus, she’s the first to admit that she’s still learning.
“That’s the beauty of songwriting,” she said. “You’re constantly reinventing yourself and rediscovering a new voice. And I think that’s what’s different about me. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I’m just going with my gut.”
Contact Brett Buckner at email@example.com.