Some Feelings: A Conversation With Julia Nunes

If you know where to look online, Julia Nunes is already a well-established star. The twenty-something musician currently residing in California has been engaging directly with music fans for the better part of a decade through her popular YouTube channel. It’s there Julia shared her first songs with the world, as well as everything that followed and over time the support of her followers enabled Julia to make music her full time career.

This month, Julia Nunes’ will release a new album titled Some Feelings. The record was born out of the end of a longterm relationship that Julia walked away from just over a year ago. There was nothing necessarily wrong between Julia and her partner, but she eventually realized that she would need to move on if she were to ever create again. It’s not that she did not love her partner, and it’s not that her partner did not love her. Sometimes, things just don’t work out, and if we fight with fate we only end up muting our own creativity. Julia did not want to live in a muted world, so she found the strength within to make a change, and now the story of her journey has been captured on Some Feelings.

I had the opportunity to speak with Julia about her career, her new album, and the way creativity changes as we age earlier this month. You can read highlights from our conversation below. If you enjoy what you read, please seek out Julia’s official website and consider purchasing Some Feelings. You can also follow her on Twitter.

H: Hello, Julia. Thanks for speaking with me today. I just had a chance to hear your new album the other day and I love it. You found a way to be catchy without selling yourself short lyrically. It’s a very mature release.

J: Well thank you.

H: You are a bit of an oddity for our blog. You have a dedicated following that you built almost exclusively through YouTube, which has given you access to a very specific type of media consumer. Who do you feel is your audience at this point in your career?

J: 20-somethings. I have changed so much in the last few years, and I feel like everyone who listens to my music has as well. When I released my first recordings around 18, the people who sought out my music were at a similar place in their lives. As I have grown, so have they, and now my fans are people in their 20s still trying to figure everything out. We’re all just barely becoming adults.

H: I find it so interesting how you’ve been able to develop a sizable following on one platform, but there remains a wide world of music fans who probably haven’t heard your music or even know your music exists. Is it weird to find yourself in a position where you have enough support to do what you want knowing you have barely scratched the surface as far as exposing your music to consumers is concerned?

J: I honestly think it’s the best case scenario. I think if you take the traditional path to success of securing management, a label, publicist, and all that jazz you end up beholden to someone or something other than you and your fans. I don’t really have that, but I do have a direct connection to my fans. I’m kind of like an Etsy store. I market and sell my music to my fans directly. That’s just how I do things. There no plays or big schemes to market to the world at large.

H: I would have to agree. The more I have dug into your story it does seem that you cut through the middle-man that is marketing and went straight to music fans on your own and said “here I am.” People see a real human on their screen chasing real dreams and that forges a connection that no amount of creative marketing can duplicate.

J: Yea, definitely. That’s what I try to do, at least.

H: Would you tell me the story behind the name Rude Butler Records.

J: Oh my god. Yes. My first foray into performance was a play I was in during 4th Grade. My teacher adapted ‘The Sound Of Music’ to be ‘The Sound Of Stars’ as a way for us to learn about the solar system. I was able to help her write new versions of the songs to help our class learn, which gave me my first experience in music writing.

The main role in my teacher’s adaptation was the butler from the beginning of the musical. She took that role and made it a narrative part for the whole play. It was a very goofy character that all the kids wanted to play, but I landed the role. So I was a rude butler, and it has been a great source of pride ever since.

H: I know it has been a minute since you last released music. You were releasing new records every year for a while, but then you took a step back. What caused the pause?

J: In the span of time between my last two releases I had to find the balls to break up with the person I had been dating for the last five years. While I was in that relationship I was not writing a lot of songs because I was pushing down a lot of anger and frustration. When you push one emotion down, they all become muted, and since I wasn’t doing anything to change my situation my drive for all things kind of died. Then, the second after I broke up with him, I wrote like 80 songs, moved across the country, sought out producers, and spent a year making the record.

H: Do you feel that if you’re not listening to what your body is telling you that you will encounter creative road blocks?

J: Totally. I think turmoil can be one of the few emotions that breaks through a pretty muted experience. Like, if you’re pushing down a lot of stuff tragedy could still break through and shake you. On the other hand, I always thought I couldn’t write love songs, but then I realized I just didn’t really understand love.

H: What do you hope people take away from your latest release?

J: I think my biggest message right now is change. That can come in the form of really little changes in your present life, or my bigger suggestion would come in the form of something very life changing. Just tear it all down and start over once more. If you look at my life, it was never bad. We didn’t fight much, I wasn’t abused, and more often than not we felt happy. I am way happier now though, and I wouldn’t have known that without making a change. I think a lot of people feel their life solidifying in their mid-20s, but they are not always happy with the things that are surrounding them. I hope people find the strength to make a change in this album, and that by doing so they can be happier than they have been in the past.

H: Beyond the album, what do you have planned for the remainder of the year?

J: I have so many music video ideas and I have no idea what to do with them. I am nursing a knee injury right now, so I am trying to find simple and fun ways to make videos without a bunch of movement. I do have one video shot and edited that hasn’t been released yet, but I don’t know when it’s going live. Videos are very important for me.

H: You could pull a Dave Grohl and make your own throne.

J: You don’t know how many people have sent me photos of him since Foo Fighters brought that giant rig on stage with them. Maybe I will have to borrow from it.

H: Any tour plans?

J: I have shows around Los Angeles on the horizon. I do hope to tour with a full band this fall, but those details have come together quite yet.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.