(Photos via Julia Cole)
(Photos via Julia Cole)

March 20, 2024 – For most country music stars, the trip to Nashville begins with a dream to write music and perform on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.

For Nashville Stars Music Industry Advisor Julia Cole, the dream was certainly to write, but it wasn’t music that was on her mind.

“I came to Vanderbilt to study creative writing and to play volleyball,” Cole recounts. “Then I heard about this street called Music Row, and it was all over.”

Today, Cole has more than 200 million streams to her credit and performances at national and international events that solidify her status as a CMT Next Woman of Country. Her musical style blends authentic country storytelling with a little Houston rhythm and attitude. She releases her new EP, “Life After You” on April 5, with the new single “Your Boy,” performs at “The Big as Texas-fest” the weekend of May 10 and takes the stage at the Opry on May 17.

But as excited as Cole is about her music career, she’s just as pumped about the Nashville Stars becoming part of the Nashville experience and giving her the chance to cheer on her new “home” team.

The child of a college pitcher — Cole’s father took the mound for the Ragin’ Cajuns of University of Louisiana, Lafayette and she’s proud that she’s wearing her dad’s old college jersey, #21, in the “Your Boy” video — and a native of Houston, Cole grew up going to baseball games, cheering for her beloved Astros and the Killer B’s: Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, and others. Then, she arrived in Nashville and was puzzled by the absence of an MLB park.

“Going to the Astros’ games with my family was such a regular and important part of my life, and I just assumed every child in every city had the chance to go to the ballpark,” Cole remembers. “Then I got to Nashville and learned I’d have to drive four hours to see an MLB game. It didn’t make sense; this is such a vibrant and growing city with huge support for the Nashville Predators, the Tennessee Titans, and Nashville Soccer Club. There are big crowds at Nashville Sounds Baseball Clubgames, which speaks to the appeal of baseball here. An MLB team in Nashville just makes sense.”

That enthusiasm for the sport — actually, sports — has always been part of Cole’s life. Growing up, she played volleyball, basketball, soccer, and ran cross country. At Vanderbilt University, she played volleyball before the sport earned D-I status at the school, and she has remained involved in the sport as it transitions to this new division. She also takes pride in cheering on the Vandy Boys to two NCAA titles, including the 2019 title where she was present in the stands at Omaha to cheer for many of her classmates on the team. But playing baseball herself?

“For a child who played every sport she could, somehow or another I never made it to the diamond. Maybe that’s why I’m so enthused about the Stars,” she says. “In Houston, we were neighbors with a couple of Astros, so we felt connected to the team.” In fact, her sister, Kristin, as an infant, was held by every Astro player in the dugout at one game. Julia didn’t get the same opportunity, and as she jokes, “I’m still mad about that.”

While Cole didn’t take the diamond as a youth athlete, she continues to spend plenty of time on the field now. She had the honor of singing at the first baseball game in the Middle East — the Baseball United All-Star Showcase — performing the National Anthem, Supernova and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at the premier game in Dubai last November. Just before that, Cole sang the anthem as her hometown Astros faced the Texas Rangers in Game 3 of the 2023 American League Championship Series. In addition, she swings a potent bat every year in Nashville at the Rock and Jock Celebrity Softball Game benefiting Folds of Honor.

She’s also voicing her support for the Stars every chance she gets.

“I love how much I have learned about the Negro Leagues and the Stars legacy in Nashville,” she says. “I’m excited to see the Stars carry the legacy forward and being part of that. It says so much about the character of the Music City Baseball founders and what they find important.”

Cole went on to say, “Sports and music go hand in hand; every athlete warms up to music in the stadium. All the athletes have favorite musicians. It’s fun for both parties and the mentality is similar. The players and the musicians are going for this dream, which seems crazy, but when you meet someone who’s doing the same, you get it.”

For more information about Cole’s new EP and her 2024 tour dates, visit Follow on all social media @juliacolemusic.