Julia Klot for The Meadow
interviewer: Sara Sharif (@sarangelic)
interviewee: Julia Klot (@juliaklot)
Julia Klot is a singer-songwriter and pianist based in Brooklyn, NY. A prolific writer and performer, Julia’s musical manuscript reflects a storied youthful life just beginning. With her original compositions, she creates melodic and intricate piano parts accompanied by her dynamic vocal range that throw it back to singer-songwriters such as Carol King and Elton John. In her songs, Julia demonstrates her ability to pair lyrical story-telling with beautiful instrumental arrangements and creates melodic stories of growth, love, loss, and happiness.
t h e i n t e r v i e w
1) Please start with a little introduction about yourself!
Hi! I’m Julia and I’m a 20 y/o singer-songwriter/pianist based in Brooklyn, NY. I’m super passionate about writing music-- it is my emotional and creative outlet and I feel so lucky to get to pursue that as a career.
2) What genre would you say your music belongs to?
I never know which specific genre to label my music as since pop is a very general term, but my music has often been compared to artists like Sara Bareilles, Vanessa Carlton, Fiona Apple, and Elton John, so I’d say a very organic/piano-influenced genre of pop!
3) What is the story behind your musical journey?
I started learning piano at 6, and started writing songs at 10. When I was 11, I was given the opportunity to lay down some demos of my originals at Redbird Studio in NYC. I eventually signed a contract under their label (Radian Records) and got the chance to record/release my first self-titled album at 14. This experience allowed me to collaborate and work with so many talented musicians-- I learned so much about playing with a band, arranging my music, and recording in the studio. In high school I joined a songwriting elective where we got to collaborate with other artists and perform originals, which helped me grow as a pianist and performer. I always loved performing in high school, and I would play shows at The Bitter End regularly which was a lot of fun! Now I’m attending the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College where I’ve made so many new musical connections and really developed my craft. During my time here, I met my producer Ash, and with her I recorded and released my album “Brooklyn” (2019) and my recent EP “Ghost”!
4) And how has your journey been so far?
It’s been so much fun, very exciting, and also challenging! As an artist, you have to accept that music is a subjective experience and there’s going to be people who either like you or don’t. Being a songwriter in today’s music industry has really given me a tougher skin, and it’s made me realize that I’m doing music because I love it. And it makes it an even more worthwhile experience when you get to share your passion with others-- whether that be on a stage, through a livestream, or by releasing music. I can’t wait to continue my journey and to grow even more as a musician and composer.
5) I am in love with your EP “Ghost”. Tell us what “Ghost” means to you and what your aim was during the making.
Thank you so much! Looking back at its creation in the early stages, I didn’t expect to write “Ghost”. I wrote all the songs (excluding “ghost” itself) after leaving behind months of writers’ block. It was honestly a buildup of emotions/thoughts based on what I was experiencing and feeling during the beginning of the pandemic. Life was put on pause, and the way I began to feel and experience my relationships changed. “Ghost” became a story about the progression of a relationship. I’m very happy with how it transitioned from a stream of consciousness into a story, and I know people have been relating to the lyrics which is so nice to hear!
6) Your debut album “Brooklyn” is definitely a whole different vibe compared to “Ghost”. Do elaborate on this transition you made.
“Brooklyn” and “Ghost” are two separate worlds in my mind. The ways they were composed and created were so different and unique. “Brooklyn” was composed during my freshman year at college, so a lot of the songs were about leaving home and starting anew. It was also the first album that I got to make the majority of my artistic and
creative choices. I had just met my producer Ash, and together we worked on this album, bringing so many different musicians into the studio. We would all come up with parts together and also leave a lot of creative freedom to the musicians. This was such a new experience to me and my producer (it was also the first album she ever produced) so a lot of it was a learning curve but we walked away with music that we’re both proud of! As for “Ghost”, the songs are more intimate and lyrically mature, and I took an experimental route with the arrangements. A lot of the composition was done sitting at my keyboard, and I got to play around with using synths/adding some cool layers. I’ve really gotten to work on my arranging skills the past few years, so my instrumental arrangements (string
arrangement on “ghost” and horns on “picture in a frame”) were definitely more complex and vivid. I think this transition definitely shows a newfound maturity in my musical sound but I’m not sure if it’s the sound I’m gonna stick with!
7) How was the process of the making of the album?
Recording this EP was a lot of fun! One of my favorite parts of the process is recording background vocals-- me and my producer Ash get really excited when we come up with pretty harmonies. We go a little crazy with the background vocals and end up making endless stacks of harmonies. I remember while Ash was copying some of the background vocals from one chorus to the last chorus of “ghost”, she accidentally pasted the vocals at the wrong entrance, creating a call & response-like effect, and we got so excited because it actually sounded really good. Funnily enough, that’s now my favorite part of the song!
8) What is your creative process?
A lot of my inspiration comes from my life experiences, and then sitting down at the piano to sort that out. The piano is a huge part of my creative process, so sometimes I just sit down and mess around with different chords and melodies. Lyrics are usually a second step for me, and I’ll start coming up with words and phrases as I play the piano. It honestly depends though on when the inspiration strikes! Sometimes certain songs happen differently than the usual way I go about them.
9) Who is your musical inspiration?
My musical style reflects that of a lot of the artists who I look up to and feel inspired by, which I guess goes to show just how much I am inspired by them! Sara Bareilles is my main influence, I’ve always admired and heavily relate to her piano-based writing style.
10) Any tips for musicians out there?
I think it’s so important to stick with your passion even when it proves to be challenging or discouraging, and sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back to remember the reason why you love making music and why you got into it in the first place!
11) So what should we expect next, in the near future?
I’ve been writing and arranging a bunch of new material plus I have some old songs I’ve been sitting in! Before the pandemic hit, I had planned to record a full-length album and I hope to get started on that soon and share some new music with everyone. I also look forward to performing live again soon now that people are getting vaccinated and venues are opening up!
12) How do we gain access to your music?
You can find my music on all streaming platforms! So Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and many more. All my music is also up on my website! I make all my music-related announcements on my instagram.