Julie Elody is a soul/pop singer who recently switched from being the frontwoman of a band to her own solo career. In response to her new single, “Sirens,” we got a chance to ask her some questions about her music career and thoughts on the scene. You can hear “Sirens” below, as well as check out our interview.
First, can you introduce yourself and tell our readers a little bit about yourself and your music?
Hey! I’m Julie Elody – Elody is my middle name. I was named after my great-grandmother, who was a spitfire lady who was dancing in five-inch heels until she was 85. I was in a rock band called The Fake Carls for about three years until we split, and then I started working on this sort of dark-pop sound I’m doing now.
The most important part of music for me are my lyrics and that’s what I try and stick to. “Pop music with lyrics that don’t suck” is my motto, and I hope I live up to it.
Are there any specific musicians/bands you’d like to tour and/or collaborate with?
Of course, the dream would be to open up for Halsey. When I heard her song “Gasoline,” I knew that was the kind of music I wanted to write. Lido was the producer on that song and I was recently introduced to some of his other work – it’s absolutely brilliant. On a more attainable scale, there’s a band from New Orleans called Royal Teeth who have been doing so well for themselves. If I could tour with them someday, it would be awesome.
What are your thoughts about representation and diversity in the music scene, both as it stands now, and how you hope it could one day be?
I think in most music genres, there’s this underlying foundation of sexism, and I think it’d be great if we could move away from that. People notice it in hip hop, but pop and country are bad as well in that regard. And besides those harmful ideas being spread, I’ve noticed a whole lot of fluff.
Meaningless partying, generic love songs that perpetuate the idea that one person can be your everything and if your life sucks all you need is a relationship to come scoop you up… I think it’s time we write about real problems that people are actually facing, or lifting people up for more than how well they shake their ass. I think Alessia Cara is someone who is doing a good job of this, as well as a few others, but the ratio still isn’t there yet.
What different roles do you believe musicians, fans, and venues should have in promoting a safer and more inclusive music scene?
This is a really hard question; I haven’t thought about it too much. In general, though, I think just being more honest would go a long way. Sometimes it feels like everyone is putting on this face to pretend they have it all together, and it’d be nice to be able to say, “I don’t have all my shit together” without being judged.
Your track “Mountain Lion” looks at your anxiety. What kind of interplay is there between your role as an artist and your mental health? Are there things you wish you could change about that interplay?
Anxiety is a tricky thing, for sure. Writing music is definitely an important outlet for me to get some of that nervous energy out – I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t have that.
But anxiety tries to make you say you’ll never be good enough and that the music industry is one where you have to have all the confidence in the world to get where you want to go. That’s hard. I don’t go a day without worrying that I’ll be stuck in my day job forever and everyone will know I’m a failure.
If there’s one myth about being a musician, and one myth about mental illness, that you wish you could dispel, what would they be?
One myth I think about being a musician is that you just kinda write and perform and it’s the dream job of your childhood. I can tell you that, at first, there’s a lot of… other kinds of work involved. Networking is important; I spend a lot of time writing and answering emails, and a lot of stuff that is considered mundane “9-5 job” type stuff – which are things the average creative is trying to avoid.
A myth about mental illness, I think, is that there’s a “right way” to interact with people who suffer. I’ve read so many Buzzfeed articles like “10 Things to Never to Do to Someone with Anxiety.” Just like anything else, people dealing with mental illness are all complex human beings. There’s no Buzzfeed guide that’s going to encompass all of that complexity. Just ask if you’re wondering what we’d prefer you do or not do. We’re not so fragile that asking about it will throw us over the edge.
Do you have any self-care tips for people who are dealing with stress or anxiety on a daily basis?
Everyone is different. Going on an insane cleaning spree or writing songs always gets me through. Other people need a quiet space or to meditate. I guess find what works for you and don’t waste your time if something isn’t working, you’ll find something that does.
You studied music industry at Loyola University New Orleans. How did that experience influence how you create your music?
When I first went to school I thought I’d be in a more behind-the-scenes role. It was fellow students and their encouragement that made me pursue being a songwriter and vocalist. So it was a pretty important four-year journey for me.
What does the rest of the year look like for you? Any plans for recording new music, touring, or collaborating?
I’m hoping for some good coverage of “Sirens” to continue to happen so I can put together a really good EPK and book some shows in the fall. I also will be working this summer to put together an EP. I’m hoping for a banging fall!!
Listen to “Sirens” here.
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