Having been championed by Akon and with an array of influences ranging from Michael Jackson to Adele to take inspiration from, R&B-pop singer-songwriter Juliane has worked long and hard to create music both she and her fans can be proud of. With her self-titled EP out now and with a busy 2016 ahead, she kindly agreed to this interview with our staff writer Rebecca.
PW: Tell me a little about yourself please.
Juliane: I'm a dreamer but also a go-getter so I'm working hard to make my dreams become reality. I'm a very positive person, I always try to look at the bright side of things. I love arts, I'm obsessed with 90's R&B and music is in my DNA. I've also always been into fashion. A side of me would love to live on a small island and help people around me and the other side of me wants to take over the world and help people through music. I believe that anything can happen when you believe and I want to inspire others.
PW: Who were your musical influences growing up and have they changed much over the years?
J: Growing up I gravitated around pop, soul, R&B music. I used to listen to Michael Jackson. I recreated, more than once, his Superbowl performance from 1993 when I was 4 years old in my living room. I used to listen a lot to Janet Jackson, Toni Braxton, Destiny's Child, Monica, Brandy, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin... Then I was really into the Spice Girls, the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears. I also enjoyed recreating the Spice Girls concert in my basement. I was dragging my friends into it! I was also into Christina Aguilera, Aaliyah, Musiq Soulchild, TLC, Beyonce, Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake. The music industry has changed a lot. Some of my inspirations are not there any-more and the others have changed through the years of course, and I currently listen to Ariana Grande, Sam Smith, Adele, Tori Kelly, Taylor Swift and Kim Burrell.
PW: When did you first realize that you wanted to be a recording artist? Was there any album you listened to or concert you saw that made you think 'yeah, I want to do that'?
J: I've been singing and creating songs, melodies for as long as I can remember. At 4 years old I saw Michael Jackson's Superbowl performance, I then knew that this is exactly what I wanted to do with my life. Growing up, I used to draw dresses and wanted to be a designer. Music was in my blood and it was so natural that I said to myself: "If my career doesn't work - and by career I thought: teacher, lawyer or anything that is a 9-5 job - I'm going to be a singer.” I thought that living as a singer was easy. Later on, I realized that it wasn't as easy as I thought.. At 14 years old, a label from NYC wanted to sign me but my parents didn't want me to move there and didn't trust the person. Since that day, I started working very hard learning about the music business, connecting with people and working hard on my craft but also on myself because you need to be strong and know who you are in this industry.
PW: What to you makes a great song?
PW: Which song, in your opinion, is the greatest ever written and why?
J: This is a hard question! There are so many great songs, but I’d have to go with "We Are The World" written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie because the lyrics and melodies are strong and the message is beautiful and it feels good. There's also "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye which was released in 1971. It's still very current in terms of the lyrics and its message – it’s quite sad to listen to that song today and realise that. And I also like “Never Too Much” by Luther Vandross. I love the melody and that song always makes me feel good, oh and “Ribbon In The Sky” by Stevie Wonder – it’s one of my favorite love songs.
PW: How did you feel when Akon said of you "I honestly never thought that big voice could come out of that little body"? Do the opinions of your peers and artistic counterparts matter much to you?
J: I was really happy to hear that - it gave me fuel to keep going. It always matters a little bit. I try to always trust my gut and do what I feel is right, but I always listen to comments from people, artists and peers that I respect.
PW: What about the opinions of critics? Do you pay attention to what they say?
J: A little bit, but everyone has different opinions so in the end I try to do what makes me happy and hope that in return I'm making my fans happy.
PW: Where do you find inspiration for your songs and how easy do you find the song-writing process?
J: I often write lyrics in collaboration with other writers. I'm inspired by my life but also by my friends, other people's lives and also by what's happening all over the world. It's fun to play a bit of a character sometimes. But inspiration is always close to me. I tend to write melodies before lyrics.
PW: You've worked with song-writers behind hits for Simple Plan and Olly Murs, but what did Albert Chambers and Zachary "Soke" Raymond bring to the table when it came to you working with them?
J: They both have their own style and respect me as an artist and I appreciate that. They brought my idea of "feel good- feel loved" song to another level. I wanted something fun, pop, with groove and that's exactly what they helped me achieve.
PW: Is there a story behind your latest track "Look At My Baby"?
J: Sometimes you wake up, look in the mirror and don't feel good. You feel like you’re not at your best, but then your man comes into the room and is like: "Wow you are so beautiful” - and it makes you feel good. It's about mutual and unconditional love from that special person that is always here to make you feel good.
PW: You've just released your self-titled EP. Could you pick a favourite track from it?
J: Again, not an easy question but if I had to pick one, I think I would choose "Reach the Stars" because it reminds me of a 90's R&B song that could have been on a Monica or Destiny's Child album!
PW: Of the shows you've played so far, do you have a favourite and if so, which is it and why?
J: I think it was that time I performed in front of Akon. Not because I was proud of myself, I was so stressed and it took over my voice, but the comment that Akon said about me made me stronger, more confident and made me believe in myself even more. I worked on my vocal techniques and I now feel stronger than ever.
PW: If you could play any venue anywhere in the world, which would it be and why?
J: They are so many beautiful venues in the world - Staples Center, Madison Square Garden, Wembley Stadium to name a few - that I would love to perform in. But once again, since you're asking me to choose, I’d say the Bell Center in Montreal because I was born and raised there and I think it's every artists’ dream to one day go back home and perform in front of your family, friends and fans. Which artist would not want to do this? And I would love to perform at any festivals or events that support a good cause.
PW: Which three artists, who can be living or dead, would you most like to share a stage with and why?
J: Michael Jackson because he is one of the greatest performers and he influenced me a lot. Justin Timberlake because he is also an amazing performer, and looks like a very cool and humble guy. And finally, Alicia Keys because she is also very talented, looks really down-to-earth, and loves to defend good causes.
PW: What are your future performance plans?
J: I’m working on them at the moment and as soon as I have news, I will announce it on my social media platforms so be sure to check out my website, like my page on Facebook or follow me on Instagram to know more.
PW: How has social media impacted you in terms of getting your music and your name out there to a wider audience? Would you agree that artists today have to be socially interactive?
J: I think so. It's fun because people from all over the world can get to know you and it's easier to connect with your fans. Social media can also be very superficial and unreal so you have to be careful. You can't underestimate the power of it.
PW: Looking ahead, whose career would you most like to emulate?
J: Celine Dion. She has a great career that she’s worked hard for. She’s also very different to many other artists and is very humble. She didn't and doesn’t need any big drama for people to care about her.
PW: At what point would you be happy to say 'Okay, I've achieved all I wanted to. I'm going to call it a day'?
J: As long as my music puts smiles on people's faces, motivates them, inspires them, and gives them hope, I will keep going on and on.
PW: Finally, are there any other plans in the pipeline you can tell me about?
J: 2016 will be a big year. Looking for a label, working on live shows and new music for my full length album.
Juliane's music is available on itunes and you can check out "Look At My Baby" below.https://soundcloud.com/iamjulianemusic/juliane-look-at-my-baby