Singer-Songwriter JULIANA. isn’t new to the music scene, but she is taking all her past experiences and challenges into new releases “Call it Quits” and “Burn.” Previously appearing on American Idol and making it past the infamous Hollywood round, JULIANA. has an immense talent in her vocal and songwriting abilities that led her to Boston for college before encountering complications that resulted in a break from making music. But now, she is back with two new tracks and sitting down with Nü Sound to discuss her inspirations, ideal writing environment, the influence of Los Angelos, and more.
Growing up, what was your exposure to making music and how did you get started writing your own songs?
I was lucky enough to be surrounded by music at a young age since my dad was in a rock band when I was little, so it was always something we did together. He would pick up his guitar and I would sing random songs by The Beatles or The Rolling Stones with him and we would just jam out while the rest of the family was forced to listen. I was also lucky enough to grow up in LA, which helped inspire me to grow and work on my craft since I was always surrounded by the music industry. I started writing my own music around the age of 10, but they were horrible! It definitely took a lot of practice over the years to get out the kinks and learn what works for me and what my sound needed to evolve into. But it was worth it!!
Do you work with other songwriters and what is the process like writing by yourself versus in a group of other people?
Typically, I write my songs alone because the creative process for me comes when I’m sometimes not expecting it. I usually write a song after going through something that emotionally affects me in a substantial way, whether it’s feeling upset, happy, excited, nervous, sad, etc. and I’ll randomly pick up my guitar in my apartment and start singing. Once I have the song pretty much finalized, I work with my producer to fine tune any words that need to be adjusted and we bounce ideas off each other in the process, which allows the song to be taken to the next level. In the past, I’ve also written songs with groups of people, which allows me to see a new perspective that I might not have seen on my own. I think both songwriting experiences are unique and beneficial in their own way and I’m excited to continue writing both on my own and with other co-writers!
Describe your perfect songwriting environment.
It’s pretty simple! I like to write at night when I’ve been sitting with my emotions all day and I’m restless and can’t sleep, because for some reason, that’s when I write the best songs. I like to be in super comfortable sweatpants and most definitely, NO BRA. I don’t think I’ve ever written a song while wearing a bra, and I certainly don’t intend to. Ideally, it’s quiet in my apartment, I’m alone and I have my acoustic guitar on my lap and my computer next to me, along with my phone to record any ideas that come to mind. That’s my ideal setting and I’m grateful I’m able to live alone and enjoy these moments to myself, especially in the midst of quarantine.
What do you think was the biggest lesson you took away from being on American Idol and how did it change your aspirations for your music in the future?
Having tried out for American Idol and making it past the Hollywood round was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It was truly life changing and allowed me to grow in ways I never expected. I’d say the biggest lesson I learned from that experience was understanding that it’s okay to hear the word “no”. I learned a very valuable lesson that not everyone is going to like my sound or my style, but that’s okay because it’s who I am and it’s unique to me specifically so that in itself is special and worth pursuing. It was a difficult pill to swallow in the moment since I was only 16 years old, but as more time passed, I used that feeling of rejection to not only gain confidence in myself, but to spend time perfecting my songwriting and singing skills, because I believed in myself. It lit a fire in me that was needed to become the artist I am today.
Do you think living in Los Angeles has a significant influence on your sound as a singer-songwriter?
Yes, definitely! Having grown up in LA, I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by extremely creative minds and talented people in the industry that always push me to do better. Since the hub of the music industry is in LA, it’s always been a motivating factor for me to pursue this as a passion and career since it’s always been in the forefront of my daily life. Living in LA, I’m able to meet successful singers, songwriters, producers, directors, cinematographers, stylists etc., which gives me the ability to work with influential, like-minded people. My songs and my music videos wouldn’t be what they are today without the influence and collaborations I have with people in LA.
Where did you go to college in Boston? Did moving across the country inspire you to write songs in a way that was different from living in LA?
I went to Emerson College in Boston and I loved it! But I hated the winters… Moving to the East Coast from the West Coast was a very difficult transition, but an exciting one and one I would never take back. I was able to meet extremely talented artists at Emerson College and Berklee College of Music, who I continue to work with today. Living in Boston was the first time I was far away from my family, and on top of that, I was tested with a difficult depression due to some health issues I was going through at the time. I had to grow up quickly and learn what it was like to be independent and make a life for myself outside of what I already knew in LA. All of these intense emotions and growing pains I went through inspired some of the best songwriting material I could ask for and gave me a new perspective on music in general, which I will forever be grateful for.
Who are your biggest role models?
That’s an easy question. My sister is my biggest role model. She’s 2 years older than me, which I know isn’t a lot older, but she’s definitely wiser and I aspire to be like her every day. She is someone who has traveled the world to help others around her and she’s someone who lives life to the absolute fullest. She’s taught English to kids in Thailand, she’s worked for a nonprofit in South Africa, she’s backpacked through different parts of the world to learn and appreciate other cultures and bring back that knowledge and acceptance to the States, and she even has a tattoo of MY birthday on her arm!! That’s commitment. And I’ll tell you right now, I’m way too indecisive to get a tattoo, but if I got one, it would be something with my sister. No doubt. She has, and always will, beat to her own drum and there’s nothing more commendable to me than following your passions in life and not worrying about what other people think in the process. I love her and everything she stands for and I’m lucky to call her my sister and role model.
If you could give your high school self one piece of advice for thriving in the music industry, what would it be?
I wish I could!! That would have made my life A LOT easier… The one major piece of advice I would give is, don’t let fear get in the way of your goals. When I was younger, fear always played a massive part in my life; the fear of failing or not being good enough; the fear of embarrassing myself or hearing the word “no”. It was always there. Even when I worked on staying positive, my inner voice had other plans for me. Now that I’m older and I’ve experienced more that life has to offer, I can confidently say, the only thing that was standing in the way of my goals was fear. When I removed that barrier, the possibilities were endless, and I will not give up because I’m afraid of failing. People fail all the time in life; the only thing that really matters is what you do AFTER that.
What are your top three favorite songs at the moment?
“Lie Like This” by Julia Michaels (it’s SO good I can’t stop listening, it’s honestly embarrassing how many times I’ve streamed it). “Falling” by Ryan Pulford (it’s such a vibe. His voice is angelic). “6 Months” by John K (this is the perfect song for me to sing when I’m in my feels, which happens a lot).
Once it’s safe to travel, where is the first place you’d like to perform?
Troubadour in West Hollywood!! I’ve always wanted to perform there, especially since I grew up close by and my dad’s band used to headline there when he was younger, so I would feel a close personal connection to it.
What was the inspiration behind “Call It Quits?”
I wrote “Call It Quits” after getting out of a destructive long-term relationship that felt almost like an out-of-body experience where you end up looking back at that relationship and realizing you weren’t yourself the entire time. It was one of those unhealthy relationships where you’re constantly trying to be someone else to appease the other person and you feel like there’s a chance you could change that person or you can change yourself for that person, when in actuality, you just aren’t compatible together. When I wrote “Call It Quits,” it was an extremely therapeutic experience for me where I was able to finally get the closure I needed to move forward and essentially ‘call it quits’ on that chapter of my life. This song holds a lot of emotional weight for me and for that reason, I’m grateful to have been able to share it as my debut single to the world.
When you are able to perform, do you have a routine or ritual you do before you go onstage?
Before every performance, you can find me doing my vocal scales that sound like an animal – they might look and sound horrible, but they help!! I also usually jump up and down and shake out any nervous energy I might have, but the second I get on stage, those nerves go away and the excitement kicks in. I also make sure I drink tea and lots of water throughout the day to hydrate my vocal cords, which guarantees at least one trip to the bathroom before going onstage. The most important ritual and the last thing I do is tell myself “I’m gonna crush this.” I make sure my inner voice becomes my personal hype woman because if I’m not excited, no one will be. My mental health is the most important thing, so I want to make sure I feel confident and proud of myself before hitting the stage. Then after, I can take a celebratory shot of tequila if I’m feeling it ;).
What is one thing you would like people to take away from listening to your music?
When I write my music, it’s an expression of myself and a release of energies that I’m feeling in that moment. I write to gain clarity and power over specific situations, whether it’s a tough breakup, a negative mental state, or a small crush that I can’t seem to get out of my head. My hope when I release these songs is for people to resonate and feel a connection to the lyrics and sound so they know that whatever they might be going through or have gone through in the past that they’re not alone. There’s always comfort in knowing someone has felt what you’re feeling, and I want to make sure my listeners know I’m right there with them every step of the way.