Julia Brennan recently released her critically lauded EP Inner Demons. The small collection of tunes from the 18-year old Minneapolis singer songwriter stands well as a first point of impact from a talent whose scope, and precision are smart, sensitive and on the money. With a debut album slated for the coming year, and having just played KDWB’s Pre-Jingle Ball – things are looking good for the ambitious artist who appears to be ending the year on an upswing.
ARTISTdirect caught up with Julia to discuss her Inner Demons EP, and to look toward the new year for a sense of what’s coming next on her creative journey.
Where are you right now?
I’m at home in Plymouth, MN
Tell us about your new project: Who did you work with? Where was it recorded? What’s it about? Is there candy?
My new project is going to be my debut album which I’m really, really excited about! The majority of it, if not all of it will be recorded down in Nashville. I’ve worked with Matthew Bronleewe a lot along with Nathan Chapman and Busbee.
How do you describe your music to new friends?
I describe it as mainly piano ballads and emotional.. I always prepare them that there’s a very good chance it sounds like a sad song.
Other than your music, what should your hometown be known for?
I would say Minneapolis is an amazing and slightly underrated place. There’s definitely truth behind “Minnesota nice.”
Please look around you right now and please describe the first item or person you see that’s significant to you…
Well, I’m in my room right now, and the first thing I saw looking up was my One Direction poster.. I’m so sad they’re not a band anymore. I was one of “those” crazy fangirls.
What first inspired you to pursue music? If it was a musician or a specific piece of music, please tell us all about why you find it so inspirational…
I would say I was inspired to do music when I realized anyone could do it. When I was younger I always thought there were “famous people” i.e. singers, actors, etc. and there were “normal people” and that was that, but the older I got I just realized that they’re all normal people, and if they can do it, I can do it, and I’m going to do it.
I also have a lot of musical influences in my life, which are very important to me. My mother was a wedding singer when she was younger, and she would travel around and perform a lot, so I grew up hearing her sing around the house, and there was always music on. Also my grandmother on my dad’s side was Miss Minnesota 1951 and her talent was singing and playing piano, and she would always play for us when she visited. Watching her play piano inspired me to want to play that well.
What’s the best advice anyone has given you about pursuing a life in music?
Probably some of the best advice I’ve received is “Be yourself,” which sounds really cliché, but it’s really true. People want to see you, the real you. They want to fall in love with you as an artist and music that is honest and true to who you want to be as an artist. Fans want to see someone authentic and genuine. Be uniquely you.
Not including your current crew, who (alive or dead) would you love to have in your van for an all day drive from gig to gig?
Oh, good question.. There are so many people I would love to meet. I think Adele would be a fun person to be on the road with. I saw her in concert once, and she is absolutely hilarious. Or Ellen… you can never go wrong with Ellen. She’s amazing.
What song best sums up your life right now?
That’s a tough one, with all the changes in my life happening so fast it’s hard to sum it up in one song.
What is the best reaction to your music you have experienced so far?
I’ve had some people cry, which I feel is always a really moving thing to see someone have that much emotion from your words. And I get a lot of amazing messages on Facebook from people just telling me how much it matters to them, it’s really inspiring. It makes me feel like I’m doing something good
Take a moment to dream – Where do hope to be a year from now?
In a year from now I just hope that I’m still doing music and hopefully doing really well. Hoping to get my music out there more – even international, and who knows, maybe nominated for best new something?
What’s your next step towards that dream?
Writing, recording, performing… everything that I can do!
For more information visit the Julia Brennan hub on ARTISTdirect