SALT LAKE CITY — Oskar and Julia Buie know how to put on a performance.
From the second they step onto the stage, they grasp the room’s attention with Fender guitars slung over their matching tuxedos. Their formal garb is out of respect for their music, the rock on which their relationship is built.
“Music is the entire reason we met each other. The entire reason,” said Julia.
The two grew up just five blocks away from each other in Salt Lake City, Utah. While they attended the same middle school and performed in plays at their neighborhood theatre, they never met.
But their similar sacrosanct reverence for music allowed their paths to not just cross, but merge.
After foregoing a collegiate soccer career to pursue a musical one, Julia began immersing herself in Utah’s music scene. In 2014, she found herself at a Mister Smith concert, a local and beloved rock band.
“It was a classic movie moment,” recalled Julia. “The crowd parts and I see the back of Oskar’s hair and it’s all slicked back and he looks so friggin’ cool.”
They talked through the night. But rather than love at first sight, their love of music immediately bonded the pair. By the end of the evening, Oskar had shared a vulnerable desire with Julia. He wanted to leave his popular rock band to pursue a more purist form of music, acoustic.
“I’d see an acoustic musician walk up on stage… and it was just the guitar and their vocals,” said Oskar. “You’re not hiding anything. You’re completely exposed. There’s something very scary but exciting about that.”
Julia was taken with Oskar’s musical ambitions and the two began collaborating. Soon, they were sitting on Julia’s porch overlooking the Utah State Capitol composing and creating music every afternoon. It was here they cowrote their first song, “Between Us.”
Along with a mutual musical admiration, a love interest secretly flourished. But both were quick to suppress any feelings outside of friendship.
“I tried to never even think about it,” admitted Oskar. “I wanted to make it known how much I respected her as a musician.”
When a manager offered to represent Oskar if he moved to Los Angeles, Julia realized how her feelings had grown. In the past year she had gone from simply liking Oskar to truly caring for him, as well as his success. That’s why she knew he had to go to Los Angeles.
But as fate would have it, a few months later Julia earned a prestigious award for her outstanding vocals. She was asked to perform at the award ceremony in Los Angeles and invited Oskar and his manager to attend.
“I told [Oskar] I was super nervous, and I was getting ready to go onstage and putting on lipstick. Oskar was being so silly. He put on my lipstick too and was like, ‘It’s a fun show. Just look at me. I look ridiculous!’” Julia recalled. “I realized he was just my best friend. Through and through.”
As Julia performed watching Oskar, lipstick and all, she noticed his manager raising his phone to record her. After that night she was offered a similar deal to Oskar’s: the same manager would represent her as a solo act. She moved in with Oskar and his manager in a small apartment in Los Angeles.
Despite living in tight quarters, Oskar and Julia’s manager was determined to keep things professional.
“From the beginning he said, ‘I don’t want you to falling in love with each other or something,’” recalled Julia.
Over the coming year, Oskar and Julia grew even closer – emotionally, musically and even physically. Every trip to a gig, the two were shoved together to share a seat in the back of their manager’s car
Despite being separate artists, this closeness allowed the two to develop a sound they’ve since deemed “Sauce Rock,” an acoustic and soulful blend that they refuse to categorize into a genre. One of their first songs to come out of it was, “All or Nothing,” a song about forbidden love.
While Julia and Oskar kept their growing feelings hidden, they communicated them through song.
“Music was the subliminal communication of our love to each other,” said Oskar.
Eventually, the lyrics in their songs began to emerge in their conversations.
Oskar and Julia would take breaks from composing to drive along the Pacific Coast Highway. One sunny afternoon, Julia mentioned how perfect the day was. In response, Oskar poetically noted how intoxicating her presence was.
Julia couldn’t brush off his words.
When they returned to their shared apartment to write their own, separate set lists for upcoming shows, Julia began noting how many songs on their set lists they had written together. She decided to risk it all.
“I remember my heart was pounding,” said Julia. “I was like, ‘So, are we band?’ It was a total musician moment but when I said that I meant, ‘Will you marry me?’”
Oskar didn’t need a translation. As a fellow musician, he understood the significance of Julia’s question.
“He got this huge smile across his face,” remembered Julia.
The two decided to become both a band and couple. But unless they kept it a secret, their manager would drop them both.
Like Romeo and Juliet, the secret became too much of a burden.
“After awhile we were like, ‘We can’t live by other people’s rules,’” said Julia.
But as they looked for other representation for their band, aptly called Oskar & Julia, everyone seemed to want to separate them. After spending years falling in love – they were not going to let anyone come between them.
“We were like, ‘You know what? We’re going to get married and we’re going to sign that contract together so nobody can separate us,’” said Oskar.
Within weeks of becoming a couple, Oskar and Julia decided to move back to Salt Lake City and get married. And of course, they played their own wedding.
In addition to sharing one last name, the two decided to take on their own career. They decided to forego any music labels in order represent themselves.
Their first album, Wilshire Royale, was released shortly after their wedding. Since then, the two have toured the United States, to share their love and sauce rock music.
They credit music for shaping the life they now share.
“It is the foundation of our marriage,” said Oskar.