Back in 1988, when the general consensus was that artists only made independent records because they couldn’t get a major label deal, Juliana Hatfield and her band the Blake Babies started a run that produced four indie releases. Then, she got signed to Atlantic and entered the ‘90s with a string of slightly more mainstream hits like “My Sister,” which, even though I loved my sister, seemed like a good thing to blast from my bedroom speakers while I went through my “various phases” phase in high school.
Remember when she appeared on My So-Called Life as some sort of angelic character? It just kind of seemed like Juliana Hatfield’s music was at every turn of my pre-coming-out pubescence. Her sweet, subtle soprano sang out over those introspective indie-rock tunes, back when it was called alt-rock. I eventually became distracted by the whole riot grrl thing and moved on, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Hatfield’s work.
Over the past several years, she’s gone indie again, and has been releasing albums on her own. Of course, now putting out an indie record is a whole different (some would say easier) ball of wax than it was 20 years ago, in the heyday of Blake Babies. Still, Hatfield’s work continues to garner praise from fans and critics alike. Hers is a pretty good story, especially in a time when it seems almost impossible to imagine a major label act sticking in the business for 20 years.
So, it’s fitting that she’s written a memoir. When I Grow Up — the story of Juliana Hatfield, from Blake Babies to her solo career — is due out September 29, soon after the August 19 release of her new studio album, How to Walk Away.
Have you ever been a fan of Juliana Hatfield? Do you think her life is memoir-able?