UTG INTERVIEW: Juliette Jules

juliette jules

At just 16 years of age, Paris-based singer-songwriter Juliette Jules has recently released an impressive 5-track debut EP in Black Crow that could very well be indicative of a superstar career in the making.

We recently had the opportunity to speak with the young songstress about her debut effort, the importance of balancing music and schoolwork, and her plans for a followup to Black Crow. Click through the break below to read through our conversation with Juliette Jules and become acquainted with a sure-fire up and coming talent.

What led to music becoming such a prominent part of your life? Were you raised around music in your home?

Music has always been a way to express myself and it has always been a big part of my life since I was a small child. My mother asked me to start a classical piano formation at the age of 8. We thought that it was important to have a classical base to enjoy playing music. At home we used to listen to a lot of music; rock, folk and jazz singers such as Billie Holiday, Marianne Faithfull, Leonard Cohen, Norah Jones…

Since meeting Peter Karroll, my music has become public and even professional, so in as a result, music has taken a more important part in my life.

Do you recall when you first realized that this was a path you wanted to follow? What were your first steps into becoming a musician?

I had a classical piano formation for 4 years from age 8 to 12. After, I was a bassist and backing vocalist in a punk rock band that we founded with my best friends here in Paris. I was always listening to music, talking about music, playing music. I don’t know how this revelation happened, I just know that I always loved music.

I deeply wished I could sing and play my own songs since I was a small child. So I bought my first guitar–a Fender acoustic–and taught myself to play it. This is the guitar I write, perform and record with and you hear in the music tracks. After this, I wanted to improve my vocal technique so I took singing lessons. I’ve taken opera lessons for the past 2 years. Then one day, while I was playing and singing in the park, music producer and manager, Peter Karroll came to talk to me. The best day in my life? Maybe. But I think that this is the day when I imagined for the first time taking the musical path.

And you paint as well, is that right? Is that something you’re still actively pursuing or has that been set aside for music?

I painted, and unfortunately I don’t have the time and the equipment for painting currently. But painting is a way to express yourself, and when I started expressing myself in music it took over from painting. I was so happy that people could enjoy and understand, even be touched by my thoughts with this emotional and honest intermediary.

Would you say that your inspirations for your music and what you created with paint are very similar or do you draw from different influences for those two mediums?

I think that writing lyrics and music is more about your feelings, and painting is more about emotions. We could think that it is similar, but actually for me, it is completely different! Painting is much more spontaneous and immediate, I don’t have the same approach in writing, which is methodical and very close to poetical study and creation.

Black Crow just came out a couple months ago. How has the reception been with the release?

I am told that the music is being received well by music reviewers and writers. I try not to be affected by reviews. I am happy that people who know music like my singing and writing but I write music for myself, and my producer Peter Karroll tries to keep me from being affected by the future pressures of the music industry to become something I am not. I appreciate this and so I can discover music based on my personal tastes. I sit in the mixing sessions after the recording and I express what I like and do not like about sounds, levels, my vocals, everything. I like to be an integral part of the entire process.

What kind of themes would you say are prevalent on the EP lyrically and how would you describe your sound to a potential listener that is yet to hear your music?

The Autumn months, melancholy, hope and nostalgia. It’s more about these feelings and concepts I think. Associated with these topics my music stays really simple and pure; simple melody, acoustic guitar, a bit of piano. It’s a kind of sweet blue sky which is tortured by big black clouds, the lyrics.

As you’re still currently in school, how have you been managing the balance between your schooling and your music?

Studies are very important for me. So I try to not encroach on it with my music. French schools, and especially my school, has a lot of homework every day. After my homework I use the time to create music, write lyrics or practice. I see Peter on weekends for writing, rehearsing and recording. Also, in France, we have several holiday breaks each year that are for about 10 – 15 days every 2 months and this allows me an opportunity to concentrate on music.

As you’re kind of accustomed to playing your music out in public, do you feel that it’ll be easy for you to transition into playing actual live concerts more regularly in the future when you’re able?

Yes, I definitely enjoy playing for people in public and I would love to perform in concert. So far for some reason, I never feel nervous to perform. I feel like the audience is there for the same reason I am, to experience the music and the moment.

What are your plans for once you finish school? Is this musical endeavour something you plan to stay with?

I don’t look on this as a musical endeavor. I look upon it as a physical need and a spiritual part of who I am. This is Juliette Jules. I don’t know what music or life has in store for me. I want to be challenged and creative, and for this reason intellectually I really want to continue my studies after high school. I have always planned on attending University, and being French the planning for University starts when you are in the earliest grades. It is really a very intense process.

Now that Black Crow has been out for a bit, do you already have plans for another release or is that a ways off as you focus on promoting this one?

I am recording more songs this summer in Vancouver, Canada. I am hoping to have enough material to present a full album. I would like to record 8 new tracks and add the 5 from Black Crow for 13 in total for a complete album. It would be fantastic if this could be ready to release in September.

You’re still very young but your sound is already impressively developed. Do you see yourself further evolving in any specific way musically? Are there any other genres or styles you hope to explore on future releases?

As you said, I am still very young, so I don’t really think or plan about kinds of music or ways to play that I wish to explore. I do music in a very organic way; I just want to express myself as I am, certainly because I don’t really know who I am yet. It’s a kind of a personal research. However, I am a fan of music, my music will change with time, nothing ever remains the same and I look to ways to challenge myself, take myself outside of my element or safe zone and create excitement.

Brian Leak

Editor-In-Chief. King of forgetting drinks in the freezer. Pop culture pack rat. X-Phile. LOST apologist.
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