Photo Credit: Ally Wei
If there is one thing that may remain the same until the end of time, it’s the mindset of teenage boys. This is not only the topic of the latest single from Julianna Joy’s February 2022 release, ‘Garden of Eden,’ but also something we talked about a bit below. We also touched swift tears, her admiration of a Grammy-nominated songwriter she then got a chance to work with in her EP, and more in this back and forth exchange.
Kendra: In your younger years, when did you realize that all these songs you were writing in your bedroom were more than a hobby, but something you wanted to pursue as a career?
Julianna Joy: I think I realized I wanted to pursue music as a career because as a kid I always wanted to be the different one. I knew I wasn’t interesting to the people around me and I wanted to become interesting, and music was my way of doing that. It was confirmed for me in 2013 when I saw Taylor Swift at the Red Tour at Soldier Field. I think I cried the entire concert. There was something magical and inspirational about how she turned that album into so much more than a tracklist. I started caring about my writing after that.
Kendra: You got to work alongside someone I adore, and that’s Teddy Geiger. Throughout college, I had a Teddy mousepad. Yes, mousepad – I’m that old! I think I still have it somewhere in a bin, but anyways – you’ve noted that working with her was a moment because she’d been behind so many songs you loved growing up. Looking back, is there one song, in particular, she’s done or worked on that you feel cemented her as a songwriter/producer you felt was admirable?
Julianna Joy: First of all, love that and that’s iconic. Honestly, with Teddy, it’s hard to name just one song. We talked about it a ton during our sessions and it was so cool to be able to tell her what songs meant something to me and the community around me. I looooved Shawn Mendes. I looooved One Direction. I looooved Olivia O’Brien. Like everything she works on is incredible.
If I were to name just one though, I think I’d have to name “Little Black Dress” by One Direction. It was and still is my favorite song off of ‘Midnight Memories’ and it was a song I screamed in the car even when I was little. I remember driving around with my friends and getting Dunkin’ and listening to One Direction at 16. That song always ignited something in me.
Kendra: But back to you and your songwriting…it’s only been a couple of years between ‘Cherries’ and your 2022 release, ‘Garden of Eden,’ but can you speak on any growth you’ve seen in yourself as a songwriter when you listen back to both EPs?
Julianna Joy: I think Covid made everyone grow. I wrote the last song for ‘Garden of Eden’ in October of 2020, and before that, I had spent the summer in almost complete isolation, with the exception of working on this project with Teddy. I spent a lot of 2020 alone and threw myself into this EP in a way I haven’t thrown myself into something before. Most of the songs are about my first true relationship, which was destined to end with my moving to LA and his acceptance to a school in Indiana. I spent so much of my senior year making intense and adult-type decisions that most 17-year-olds don’t ever have to make. I think that aspect of my life forced me to become a stronger writer as well.
Kendra: So let’s talk more about the frustrations that come with the male species when they are young, which is what “Teenage Boys” is about. Even though there are some years between me and you, I was listening to this like…YUP! I think this is one of those songs that is timeless because unfortunately boys at that age never change. For your generation though, do you think all you all have gone through in the past couple of years has made their behavior worse?
Julianna Joy: God I hope so. I know for me, and many around me, that this pandemic made me realize what was and wasn’t important. I think there is one half of my generation who feels completely altered and terrified of the future and I think everyone deals with that differently. Unfortunately, I don’t know if they’ll ever change. I think part of it is pent-up aggression or being afraid of being emotional or real with someone.
Kendra: You spent a lot of time in LA working on music, especially during a time when the music scene was on a bit of a pause due to well…everything. I want to know, did you have any spots in LA that you found particularly inspiring when it came to getting your creativity flowing?
Julianna Joy: Zuma Beach is one of my favorite places in LA. There’s also this park (I don’t know the name of) that my friend showed me was her secret hideout that’s somewhere up in Chatsworth. It’s so peaceful and usually empty. I love it.
Kendra: On a side note, being that it’s February – I’m asking everyone this month to share their favorite love song and tell us really quick why this one is it for you?
Julianna Joy: My favorite love song (if it’s considered that) is probably “Door” by Caroline Polachek. I’ve listened to it a thousand times and it was my boyfriend’s favorite song for a few months.
The lyrics are my favorite and so personal: “Who is the you who I sing to / When the house is empty? / You open the door to another door / to another door / and I’m running through to you”.
Every time I second guess anything, I know I always have him there, and when I’m the most anxious I’ve ever been and feel the most alone I’ve ever felt, I know that he’ll be there.
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘Garden of Eden’ out this month, what else can fans both new and old be on the lookout from you as we round out the first part of 2022?
Julianna Joy: Hopefully, if Covid allows, I want to start playing some shows. I’m currently working on another EP right now and have been writing for a ton of my friends’ projects.