Following the release of her stylish and conceptual new single and video Dangerous, we caught an in-depth interview with Nashville-based artist and songwriter Juliana Hale. We talk everything from songwriting to artistic intent, production, inspiration, live shows, the music industry in general and her hopes for the future. Here’s how it went.
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Hi Juliana – thanks for the interview, and congrats on the new single! For those who don’t know, how long have you been making music, and how would you describe your approach as an artist?
Hi! Thanks for having me! I started writing songs and playing guitar when I was about nine and have been making pop music for a little over a year! I would say my approach as an artist is just to be as real as possible. I write songs about the things I feel and experience and I just hope somebody out there can relate.
What can you tell us about the single Dangerous?
Dangerous is a dark pop song about toxic relationships and dangerous people. I actually wrote it with Skidd Mills about a year ago and it is one of my favorites to date.
The song presents its underlying sentiments through everything from the lyrics to the production, performance and overall mood. How do you get started when crafting something so intentional like this, and how do you know when you’ve truly captured it and it’s ready to share?
I spent a lot of time with Dangerous because I wanted everything to be just right. It went through several versions before I felt like the vibe matched the meaning. I try to put together some reference songs or sounds and really pinpoint exactly what elements I want to incorporate so I can communicate my vision. I know when a song is ready when I hear it for the first time and I can’t help but smile as I listen, and then I listen to it over and over and over. It just feels right.
How much involvement do you have in the production of your music, and what’s your go-to instrument when writing?
I aim to be very involved in the production of my music. I like to be in the room the whole time, no matter how long that may be. I throw out a lot of ideas and every producer and engineer has been really great with listening and trying them out.
My go-to instrument when writing used to be the guitar, but lately I’ve been leaning more towards the piano and even a little ukulele.
Who or what would you say inspires you the most to make music of this nature?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Halsey lately and her music definitely inspires me because I feel like the lyrics and production are so thorough, and her sound is very unique and edgy. Lyrically, life just inspires me every day. Songwriting has been a therapeutic outlet for me for over ten years and I can’t help but put my experiences into songs. Each mood or situation pushes my music into a different direction.
Is live performance an important part of your plans?
Live performance is definitely an important part of my plans! Performing live and connecting with people is one of my favorite parts of this journey and I’ve been lucky enough to play some really cool festivals and shows this year. I’m looking at going on tour early next year and hitting the festival circuit again!
If you could collaborate with anyone at all, who would you choose, and why?
I would love to collaborate with Halsey since she’s been a big inspiration for me! I would also love to collaborate with a DJ like Kaskade or Illenium because I am interested in exploring that genre as well.
What’s your plan creatively throughout 2020?
I am aiming to release an EP in early 2020. I want to do a handful of features on the pop, rap, rock, EDM, and even potentially the country side. I would love to get some music videos in the works and design some new merch for the shows.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be, and why?
While I do see the benefits, I personally wish we could go back to the age before digital streaming or find a way to change it so that the songwriters and producers could receive a fair share from the revenue. The Music Modernization Act should help and I just hope we continue making strides in that direction!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given about building a career as an artist?
This is a hard one, but I think the best piece of advice I’ve been given is to trust myself and trust the work I’ve done. Creatively, trusting yourself can be very difficult when first starting out and I have struggled for sure! I was nervous to perform and my vocal coach told me to trust the work I’ve done, meaning that I’ve rehearsed, I know the music and the moves, and all I have to do is get up there and trust the muscle memory because I’ve already put in the work.
What’s next for you – is there a longer project on the way?
An EP is in the works for Spring 2020!
Is there anything else we should know?
I’m currently running a contest on Tunespeak for a merch package and a $300 Amazon gift card + more! It’s been really fun so far and it’s running for another month!
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Download or stream the single Dangerous here.