New Bop Skizzum singer Julie Almeria making her debut tonight at Cervantes' with Fishbone

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Bop Skizzum has finally named its new lead singer, and she's making her live debut tonight at Cervantes', when the band shares a bill with the legends of Fishbone. Last month we confirmed that the group had indeed found a replacement for the then-departing Erin Jo Harris, but they were keeping her identity under wraps while she had a chance to find her groove. Well, groove found. Tonight, Julie Almeria makes her introduction.

Almeria, a 22-year-old Denver School of the Arts alumni, was most recently living in New York, where she attended a music conservatory and studied music and acting. After living for a short time in the Big Apple, she determined that she was more interested in writing and performing her own music. Now, thanks to an introduction from Nick Hammerberg of Petals of Spain, a mutual friend of Almeria and Bop Skizzum leader Andy Guerrero (aka Andy Rok), the young singer finds herself back in Denver and in the driver's seat of a promising funk band.

"So we went through all the auditions and everything, and we decided to go with her," says Guerrero, explaining how the band chose Almeria. "One, I think her voice is really great. It's really distinct, you know? It's not like Erin's. It's still good and soulful, but it's a little more poppy, I think. She has a really unique voice -- to me, she has a really unique voice. Like I told her, it doesn't sound like anybody else's voice that I heard. So I was looking to go for, like, real distinct, you know, and make a very [strong] distinction from Erin."

Shortly after quitting her job in New York and moving back to Denver, Almeria wasted no time getting together with the band to write and rehearse. And already she's made huge strides, says Guerrero. "She learns quickly," he points out. "Her learning curve is pretty impressive to me, at this point." Good thing she's a quick study, because it's been a trial by fire so far. She arrived in town in time for the Flobots Bowling Ball, and less than a week later, she hopped in the van with Guerrero and company and headed out on a 35-hour road trip to South Carolina to audition for the National Association of College Activities (NACA). Out of hundreds of submissions, NACA picks twenty bands or so to showcase in consideration for landing gigs at 150 colleges.

Meanwhile, back in Denver, Almeria has been learning some of the act's older songs and working with the guys to write new material. "We're not going to phase out all the old songs,because some of them are still really good," says Guerrero. "But a lot of those songs were written for Erin's range. Julie can do them, and she can do them really well, but her voice is different, so we're writing stuff that I feel is better for her voice and her sound."

After tonight's show, the band is slated to make its way into the studio next week to lay down some of the new tracks in preparation for an eventual EP in Feburary of next year. In the meantime, Almeria will be making a more formal debut on New Year's Eve at Moe's BBQ.

Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.