Tell us about yourself.
Well, I have been doing this my entire life. I grew up in a musical family. I’ve played guitar since I was 6, singing from 8 years old. I just got seriously into music about 5 years ago. I was at music camp and I took a songwriting course and fell completely in love with it. That week, it was an experience I had never felt before. Like a whole different world. I told mom, at that point, I’d need to songwrite for the rest of my life. My first EP was Heart of Armor. I’m working with different producers and performing at different venues and I’ll be releasing another EP in April 2017. I’ve just recently gotten a Juried Sound Recording Factor grant and I’m so excited and grateful about it. I was a finalist in the Unsigned Only songwriting contest – the only Canadian in the teen category – and I was a semifinalist last year. I’ve also recently signed a management deal with Cool Planet (Todd Arkell and Cameron Carpenter).
How did you come about your stage name?
My actual name is Juliana. But Jules is not a stage name. I am Jules. It wasn’t a decision to come off as cool or edgy. It’s my name. I’m a fan of simplicity and staying organic and true to who I am.
How do you find your inspiration?
Obviously, I’m young. I haven’t experienced many things. I haven’t gone to university. But I find inspiration through everyday things. Being on the train. Seeing people. Hearing stories from my mom and my friends. And, yeah, I’m a teenager. I talk to guys. I go to high school. Everyday things, they all resonate and I connect to it.
What book are you reading right now?
Books, oh gosh. Is it bad that I don’t like reading? If I could pick between reading a book and new music… I would choose new music. I’m not one to pick a book over something else.
What music are you into right now then?
I listen to every type of music. Rap, country, pop, indie, alternative. To figure out my sound: One Republic, Paramore, Imagine Dragons, Pink, The 1975. Those are the main groups I really hear my sound resonating with. Also, Shawn Mendes. I honestly listen to everything! Top 40, classics — like Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen. There’s a huge variety of music that I listen to.
Any recently you just got into?
Mike Posner – I went to the Demi concert and he opened for her. I fell in love with his live performance. His opening poem touched my heart. Huge, huge, huge fan of concerts. It’s all I’ve been doing lately, going to concerts. The opening act is always the one I look up afterward, though. Just like how DNCE killed it at Selena. I resonate more with openings – I would love to open within the next 3-4 years. That would be incredible.
Where is your special place?
My room – it’s very artsy. I have lights in there, really artistic pictures. I listen to my music in there. All of my favourite artists are on my walls. It’s more like my sanctuary, not necessarily where I write a lot. It sparks a lot of my ideas for songwriting.
What sparked your passion for music?
Being in a room with other people and connecting with them. Songwriting is a completely different language, you know? Being at the music camp – speaking with teachers and the people around me – I was in my element. I always knew I could songwrite but that’s where I really felt at home. A lot of times, if I’m in a session and my mom’s there and I discuss an idea, I’ll get it and the songwriters will get it. It’s like a completely different language.
Which song means the most to you?
It was from the first EP: a song called “My Little Soldier (Kevin’s Song)”. I wrote this song for a friend of mine who passed away from cancer. It touched my heart, his heart, and a lot of other people. It took a lot of tears and hard work to finish it. It’ll always be the song that means the most to me no matter what – because he means a lot to me. My new music means a lot to me symbolically because you can feel and see that I’m maturing and growing up through the new material.
Which song took you the longest to write?
I’ve got to think about this one!… My song Super Girl. I started it at 9 and finished at 12. I started and didn’t think it was good. My mom missed hearing about it and convinced me to pick it back up so I tried to complete it, but it took me years.
If you could turn your artistry into a TV series, what would the title be?
Making It You – because music is all about the person writing it. It’s all about you. The show would totally be about musicians and artists putting themselves into the music. Painters, they have a part of them in their paintings. Artists in their books. You are inside of every piece of your art.
What is your favourite thing about being an artist from Toronto?
I love it because Toronto is such a diverse city. There are so many things happening – events, indie week. Events where artists can be themselves and showcase their hard work. I’m always a part of those things. Toronto’s great at providing a platform for new artists. There’s also so much inspiration from the city itself and its culture.
What is your favourite track coming up?
There’s nothing set stone for the actual EP, but right now, it’s a song called No Matter. That song is probably one of my favourites at the moment. The song’s lyrics discuss how no matter what anyone says, I’m still going to be me. Writing it was so real, I could say things in a cool way. “I wanna live a life worth living no matter what they say.” I’m gonna write, sing, and live how I want. I’m doing me.
What sparked the idea or inspired the Heart of Armor EP?
It didn’t really have a theme as it was such an early stage in my artistry and my life. I didn’t have a lot of material to choose from. It was a learning experience. All of the songs were very much the young me. Each song was separate in the sense that they individually held their own themes and ideas.
What was the initial goal you envisioned when you first set out as a musical artist?
My main goal was to make an impact in a positive way. P!nk: people look up to her as a strong independent woman. She’s empowering, her music is real and relatable. If someone is going through breakup, divorce, a lost job, if they’ve suffered death… all of those things, I want people to resonate with in my music. I want people to listen to me to feel better.
To keep writing. The next EP is coming out in April. I’m getting out the best songs I can. I’m figuring out the sound and which songs bring out me as best as possible. I want my work to be inspirational and powerful. I’m doing more gigs, meeting more people, trying out different producers, and experimenting for the new EP so that it’s the best I can possibly do.
How do you deal with the hustle and bustle of life whilst making art?
It’s a friday night and my friends are like, “Let’s go see a movie!” Sorry, I have a gig but you can come! I’ve brought five of my friends to a gig before, so I do find compromises A lot of times I’ll have to ask my teacher, “Can I hand in at the end of class?” They’re very understanding. My school is understanding of my career. If I can’t get it done, I’ll finish it during car rides, the train ride up there. Some nights I have to stay up late. It’s definitely about keeping a good schedule, staying on top of it all, and maintaining balance!
What advice would you give to upcoming artists?
Back to the TV show concept: do you. You’re gonna have people ask you what kind of career is that? It’s honestly about doing what you love. You have to do it. Listening to other people that tell you you shouldn’t? That’s not my thing! You know, it’s absolutely none of their business, so keep working on your dreams.
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