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Q&A with Julianna Joy

Julianna Joy is an LA-based artist redefining pop music for a whole new generation of fans. In her new single "DEAD!", Joy has created a tongue-in-cheek song about her tendency to dramatize everyday life. When discussing the song, Joy said, "I have spent my entire life dealing with mental health issues that have sprinkled their way into my adult years, and I find now that the only way I can deal with them is to admit to them and write my way through them. The reality of my brain can't only be traumatising to me, and that's a really tough lesson to learn especially when you are going through a crisis and it hurts the people around you. I have always found a way to talk about it in a way that makes it feel light even if it's the darkest thing I've ever said. that's what this song is for me."

“DEAD!” is very upbeat and playful. It definitely makes a heavy topic seem lighter. When you were writing it, were there any lines that you came up with that you felt you had to cut to keep the lighter tone?

Definitely. I was terrified to release this song because of how many people I knew in real life would have to hear me say I wish I was dead, even if it was in a scapegoat kind of way. I thought of my nana, my co-workers, all people I would never admit this stuff to. I don’t remember any specific lines but I definitely wrote it with the intention of not getting too deep in it.

Do you have a music video for it in the works? If so, can you give us an idea of what to expect? If not, what would your dream music video for it look like?

No music video any time soon I fear. We did conceptualize one but with the rise of Tiktok and fall of long form videos, it just didn’t make sense. The music video I dream of would star my sisters and I, since my sister, Lorelai, has an adlib in the song and we go through a lot of very similar mental health issues (and Annie’s adlib got cut so I owe her). I envision scenes on bicycles, in Hollywood Forever Cemetery, in a hospital waiting room. I’m a huge fan of horror, so I’d want it to feel bubbly but slightly unsettling. Lots of pink and baby blues.

Do you have another EP or full length album in the works?

Funny you say that. I cannot confirm nor deny that suggestion but I would like to say that October is going to be a wonderful time for me.

You’ve been outspoken about coming to terms with mental health struggles. How do you think you’ve been able to achieve that level of self-acceptance?

That’s actually what the second half of this song is about. Last year was literally the worst year of my life. I went into weed psychosis in December of 2021 and lost all sense of self. I was having intrusive thoughts about every aspect of my life, had a serious depersonalization scare and truly believed that I was the only person who was real on Earth. That panic attack lasted until September when it finally came to a head when I entered an outpatient program. I don’t think I’d be here without it. I was in the program till December where I opened a lot of wounds surrounding my childhood and my PTSD. I switched meds, attended group for a few hours everyday, and was able to be discharged because of what I learned there.

What advice would you give to a fan or listener who is struggling to do the same?

Get help. Seriously. Do whatever you can. Go to your school counselor, a teacher, a friend, google it, call the hotline. I know not everyone is afforded the luxury I was by being able to attend a program like that, but it is not fun when your parents cry because they’re worried about you. It’s not fun being the friend receiving the suicide threats through text. It’s not fun hurting other people because you refuse to help yourself. I was that person, and I’m not proud of that. I hurt a lot of people by not taking care of myself. You don’t deserve to be tormented by your mental illness and neither do the people around you. I truly believed that I was keeping my depression and anxiety to help myself until I saw the damage it did to my relationships. There are a lot of resources out there that can genuinely save you.

On your last EP you worked with Teddy Geiger. What was that process like?

It was amazing. Teddy is a real beast. She’s incredible. All of those songs were songs I had written during my senior year of high school, minus “Atoms” which I first began writing with Mags Duval a couple of weeks before the pandemic started. I brought them all to Teddy and she just built them. She saw the skeleton of the project and just sculpted it. We would get together for 5 days every couple of weeks, smoke a lot, A LOT, of weed, and we would just jam it out.

Do you have a favorite song you’ve written? If you do, why is it your favorite?

I think “Orange” is my new favorite. For a while, “Atoms” sat there but I just recently did a show with my friend Anna (Shoemaker) and we did “Orange” live for the first time ever. That song just dissolves every part of my being and I become the track. Lots of the newer music feels that way too.

Who, or what, has most influenced your music and artistic style?

I will always say Taylor Swift. Always. I’ve been her biggest supporter since debut. She’s everything I’ve ever wanted to be. She’s the reason I began writing songs (my first songbook was one of the Red limited edition notebooks), and she’s the reason I wanted to become a performer. My first ever concert was the Speak Now tour. My music sounds nothing like her though. Our music is so different, mine is wild and strange, but I wouldn't have been able to get to that point without 1989 or reputation. Both albums were wild and strange at the time. Now they’re classics.

As for sound, lyrics, etc, I have a lot of inspiration. I’m really all over the board on this one. I love the 1975. I love Fiona Apple. I love Remi Wolf. I really love Lorde. I really love St. Vincent. I really love Queen. I listen to every genre, and working with Dee Lilly really allows me to blend all of them.

What are you listening to currently?

I’ve been loving Maisie Peters a lot. Really into Blegh. Love the new Niall Horan album. The new Maude Latour EP. My friends Alanna and Bri (Fionn) just released an album, it’s SO good. Favorite song is “Compete” by Sugar Pit.

Listen to Julianna Joy's single "DEAD!" now.

Photo credits: Christina Bryson (@averagecowgirl)

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