Q&A: Indie-pop musician JULA details debut single, beauty myths and upcoming EP

Indie pop musician JULA‘s debut single, “Leave,” is sophisticated in both sound and lyrical content – it’s layered yet unpretentious, deep yet straightforward, and JULA’s smooth, dark vocals shine against a resonant background instrumental as she croons about loneliness.

However, “Leave” is only the beginning for JULA; she also has an EP, PHOENIX, coming out later in 2019. In the meantime, however, check out Indientry’s interview with JULA below.

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Indientry: How are you?

JULA: I wanted to say “good, thanks” like I should, but I would be lying if I would say that, so I decided to be honest. The last couple of weeks have been wild, amazing, hectic, sad: there is so much going on in my life at the moment and I am kind of overwhelmed by it all. Overall, I am good, I am healthy, I can sing, my kid is happy, the sun is out, my music is out, it’s good.

What music are you listening to most right now? Do you have any favorite songs or albums from 2019?

At the moment I listen to a lot of female singers; my taste is quite eclectic. Some of my current favorites are Solange, Susanne Sundfør, Maggie Rogers, Tusks… I could go on.

As for 2019 favorites so far: Tusks’ new album Avalanche is great! Kat Cunning has a song called “King of Shadows” that’s really my jam at the moment.

I know that “Leave” is your debut single. How did you get started making music? What does your history with music look like?

I don’t remember a time where I was not singing; I always knew I wanted to be a musician/singer. I played violin, flute, recorder and sang in a band. I wrote my first song when I was 10 about my grandmother (It was quite a punk song, she wasn’t very happy about that).

When I was older, I took singing lessons, played in several bands and sang in choirs. After high school I studied vocal jazz at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and studied in New York and Copenhagen, I have a BA and MA in Music (performing arts) I played in different bands (both jazz and pop) but always somebody else’s music, at some point, I felt the time was right to create my own songs.

Who are your musical inspirations?

Björk, Daugther, Beyoncé (yes I said that), Roisín Murphy and many many more….

Tell me a little bit about “Leave.” How did it come into existence?

I remember when I first had the idea for this song; I was at home with my loop station just improvising, making soundscapes. It was a cold day and as I sat there, this song just came to me. It’s about a feeling I sometimes have, a weight that I carry with me. A feeling that overwhelms me, which I cannot escape. I wallow in it for a while, cover myself in it and then, all of a sudden, it’s gone. It’s a very lonely feeling, very dark, but it’s not necessarily negative, it’s a part of me I have learned to accept and even appreciate sometimes; without the low, I can’t experience the high. That is what “Leave” is about.

Can you tell me anything about your upcoming EP, PHOENIX?

It’s a project that is very close to my heart, very personal; on the other hand, I think a lot of people will also recognize their own stories in my song. I can’t say much more, but I am very excited!

Your press says that PHOENIX grapples with the beauty myth and the media. How have you overcome some of the pressures and struggles surrounding beauty as a musician?

To be honest, I still haven’t got that figured out, it’s still a struggle. From a very young age, we get this image of what a woman should like imprinted in our minds; it’s hard to let that go. It held me back for a long time, I really thought I wasn’t good enough because I didn’t look like other singers.

Something that has really helped me is to find role models that look like me. When I was young, there was no one, and then one day, slowly, but surely, that started to change; Adele became a huge star, Beth Ditto emerged, now there is Lizzo. Being a good musician or a great singer has nothing to do with the way you look. That is something that I really had to learn and believe about myself.

What definitely helped me overcome my struggles and taught me self love is the birth of my son; I grew an actual human being inside my body and I gave birth to him. That is still something I can’t wrap my head around and I am very proud that I actually did that. I realized how amazing the human body is, how amazing my body is, what it is capable of. Some days I still struggle with the way I look, some days I think I love my look and that is also ok. I’m human, I’m not perfect.

How is the EP similar to or different from this single, either in musical or lyrical content?

Lyrically, there are a lot of similarities; my songs are not “easy listening,” you have to hear them a couple of times before you understand what it’s about. Musically, I would say that it is both different and similar, I think listeners will recognize my sound, my instrumentation, the tone I set, but the moods and the content changes. If that makes any sense. 🙂

Is there anything else about you that you want readers to know?

I am grateful and happy that I am able to make this music and share it with you. It’s a wild ride, this song, the EP, being an artist, a mom, all those things. I am just happy that you listen to my music and the only thing I can say: this is just the beginning! There is so much more to come and I hope you stay with me for the ride.

Check out JULA’s debut indie-pop single, “Leave,” via SoundCloud below:

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