Julie Yänko, aka Juliet was born and raised on a small farm in rural Wisconsin.
The winters were long and cold in the old farmhouse with one bathroom for seven people. The pipes would freeze and so would the shampoo.
But it was a rich upbringing with fresh venison, homegrown tomatoes, fish from the river, and learning from the land. The middle of five children, she was a shy child with a creative flare.
She dreamed of being a jazz singer but couldn't envision how to overcome her fears.
When her childhood home caught fire and burned down, the family had to relocate to where land was cheap in the Ozarks of Missouri.
Julie focused on her art and was awarded a four year scholarship to Memphis College of Art in Tennessee. She worked full-time at the 24 hour Walgreens off Union Ave and visited Beale Street when she had the chance, listening to the bands and dreaming of the day when she could take the stage.
Something in her intuition told her to move out West to Oregon, so, after an academic year. she risked everything and left her scholarship in Memphis, transferring college to Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) in Portland Oregon. A week after arriving, and while still living out of the back of a U-Haul, she found a Walgreens that was hiring.
Then, after a few days, 9/11 happened, and the world changed forever.
Life was tough. Money was tight. The first winter was long, cold, dark, and wet. She applied for a study abroad program in Ireland for the next year and was accepted. She didn't know where the money would come from to pay for the airfare, but the tuition was the same. It was here, with enough Guiness in her blood, that she had the nerve to stand up and sing in the pubs with the other musicians. Her fellow classmates gave her inspiration and her voice grew more confident.Arriving back in Portland the following fall she was a changed person.
She continued her studies and graduated with a Bachelor's of Fine Art with a major in mixed-media in 2004 from PNCA. Feeling a need to return to her country roots, she moved to Manzanita, a small village on the Oregon coast. Settling into the community she overheard of a jazz ensemble called Shy Jazz that was looking for a vocalist. She auditioned. They gladly accepted. For the next several years Julie learned not only the jazz classics and studied the nuances of Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday, Anita O'Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, and Nina Simone, but also learned to lead the band, direct solos, and entertain on stage. Her voice continued to grow stronger.
Embracing the blues and jazz era of these divas she found herself moving more into the blues realm and teamed up with Portland blues bassist Dean Mueller (The Insomniacs, Duffy Bishop). Portland's blues scene introduced her to a variety of new venues, musicians, and an advanced level of learning. She studied with musicians from the “Alan Jones Academy of Music” AJAM for several years. Julie became a member of the Cascade Blues Association and was nominated for and the recipient of several awards including: Best New Act, Best Traditional Act, Journey to Memphis Winner, Best Venue, and the Back What You Believe In Award.
The next few years built dramatically with momentum! With confidence and depth, Julie started writing her own songs which had a homegrown, heritage feel to them. The first song, Yellow Roses, became the title track of her first album in 2016. With banjo, fiddle, and acoustic guitar the album lent itself to a true Americana feel, with each song lyrically describing an heirloom tale.
During this time she also co-founded the Fly Me to the Moon Project (under the Oregon Music Hall of Fame nonprofit). Fly Me to the Moon brought live musical performances into senior care facilities, assisted living centers, and memory care centers.
The Patsy Cline Tribute was born and sold out venues all over the northwest. Julie studied Patsy's hits and her life story, traveling to Nashville she even sang onstage with Vince Gill & The Timejumpers at 3rd & Lindsley.
With a plethora of inspiration from several genres of music and new songs written Julie was set to release her 2nd album “I Loved You So”, co-produced and written with Alan Jones and Dean Mueller, in Spring of 2020.
Then Covid hit, and the world was again changed forever.
Over the next two years as life changed dramatically for everyone, Julie's life was no exception. The incubation time resulted in a new, fresh set of songs and an opportunity for Julie to pick up the lap steel, take guitar lessons, and teach herself ukulele. This rebirth wove another string into the musical tapestry and allowed the artist “Juliet” to emerge.