“Falling Awake”, the first song from Gary Jules’ independently released self-titled album appeared on two separate Billboard ‘Top 100’ charts in January 2007, one week after being heavily featured in an exceptionally popular episode of “Grey’s Anatomy”.When the editorial staff at Billboard learned that Jules’ sales numbers were generated solely by iTunes downloads with no commercial radio airplay, record company, manager, publicist, publisher, radio or licensing agent to ‘sell’ the new album into the public eye, they wrote a full-page feature detailing Jules’ unlikely rise to recognition with his album “Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets” (featuring a cover of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World”) and the excitement surrounding the early success of his follow-up, “Gary Jules”.
A live performance of “Falling Awake” on Last Call with Carson Daly on March 21st has sparked a scramble for worldwide physical release and international tour plans, and locked-up opening slots for Tears for Fears this summer.
After years struggling in the nascent Los Angeles underground singer-songwriter scene of the mid-90’s, Gary Jules’ first record “Greetings from the Side” was recorded for A&M Records and released in August 1998. Weeks later A&M’s parent label Polygram was bought by MCA/Universal. Jules and “Greetings” were lost in the proverbial shuffle, but not before both received considerable critical acclaim. Zeke Piestrup of VH-1’s show “Fresh” called Jules “The best American singer-songwriter to emerge out of the late ’90’s — and the only one worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence with Paul Simon, James Taylor, Cat Stevens and Nick Drake.”
In 2001 Jules’ original independent release of “Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets,” which included a cover of Tears For Fears’ “Mad World” that Jules recorded with friend and producer Michael Andrews for the film “Donnie Darko,” arrived to even more critical acclaim. The Village Voice called it “the best album to be released this year, anywhere. Period.” Rolling Stone Magazine said “Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets is at once beautiful and haunting, depressing and inspiring, lonely and welcoming — delicately crafted folk music of the highest order.” In October 2001, Richard Kelly’s film “Donnie Darko” came out in theaters and quickly became a cult phenomenon. Not bad for an album created in a basement for less than $100.
In 2002 “Snakeoil” was championed by Nic Harcourt, host of “Morning Becomes Eclectic” at KCRW-FM in Los Angeles, and by Bruce Warren at WXPN-FM in Philadelphia. With these giants of listener-supported radio spreading the word, Jules toured constantly as an independent artist, sharing the stage with Jack Johnson, Damien Rice, Sheryl Crow, Beck, Mason Jennings, Jewel, Jason Mraz, The Polyphonic Spree, Liz Phair, and Todd Rundgren. His year-long residency at the then anonymous Hotel Cafe in Hollywood has become the stuff of legend in the new LA underground.
In the Fall of 2003 the Jules/Andrews version of “Mad World” started receiving major airplay in the UK. One story goes that it was originally played on-air by Robbie Williams during a guest DJ spot. Others say it was Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. Either way, Jules and “Snakeoil” were licensed by Adventures/Sanctuary and in December, fueled by a slew of powerful live television performances and tons of old-fashioned word-of-mouth, Gary Jules and Michael Andrews became only the 6th American act ever to win the coveted “Christmas #1.”
“Snakeoil” was released in the UK and Europe in early 2004. Jules went gold, then platinum, in fewer than 8 weeks and in several different European territories. “Mad World” was the biggest single of the year.
Jules also played more than 300 live shows from Summer 2003 through August 2004 in the US, Australia, UK and Europe, including a 3-week Summer ‘04 run with Bob Dylan, from Ireland to Portugal.
In August 2004, Gary and his wife Greta welcomed the birth of their first child.
In 2006 Jules recorded his self-produced, and self-titled album, released it independently with longtime friends CdBaby.com, then left Los Angeles and moved to the mountains of Western North Carolina, where he is building a home studio and making plans for tours of the US, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.