N.E. Minneapolis native, singer-songwriter Julia Christi Ann has a voice beyond her age. The influences of Brandi Carlile, Chrissie Hynde, Dolly Parton, with the smoothness of KD Lang are felt through her music as it lifts your soul and takes you on a journey through her song.
We had a chance to talk about her new release and the thought process of creating over coffee at Spyhouse in N.E. Minneapolis.
[MIM] Big day for you today. New single out, Before You Go. What’s the story behind the song?
[Julia] The story behind it is dealing with loss and the fact of someone not coming back. A lot of my hospice work affect my writing. During my internship, I had to write something, and there is the concept of holding space and being present in a moment. Just like now, we are holding presence together. However, in the song, there is that refrains of, stay a little longer before you go. I know you are going to leave me, you’re going to pass, it’s non-negotiable, its happening. However, I want to hold that moment just a little longer.
[MIM] How much of that musical therapy in hospice goes into your writing?
[Julia] I think hospice and grief in general and the idea of loss, ambiguous or otherwise, the more concrete of someone dying it has had a big influence on my writing. Especially with the upcoming EP, a lot or all of it deals with loss on multiple levels. I think grief is the most beautiful and most terrible thing at the same time. I once heard that grief is the last gift of love you can give someone.
[MIM] As an artist dealing in such a subject, do find it hard throwing it out there for judgment.
[Julia] I think I’ve had a very fun time in trying to be ambiguous with my songwriting. If people ask me the story behind a song, I will tell them, but it has been fun to create that anonymity a little bit. In songwriting, you are a storyteller. It doesn’t have to be all, but I do tend to write based on what’s happened to me because it is the easiest.
[MIM] Elton John once said that the songwriters are a dying breed, but what I notice immediately with you is your ability to transcend your passion within your words. Are you more interested in the actual writing of the lyrics or the musical development?
[Julia] Honestly, I’m both. I’ve had a very heavy hand in the production of this entire thing. I was working with someone who had to back out at the last minute, and I was glad they did as it was the straw that broke the camels back. It was like all these things can’t possibly be happening right now, but they are. So I just put my big girl boots on and was like Ok, let’s do this. I do like the story and figuring out what I am trying to say, but I grew up singing harmonies. In Before You Go, I would sing to the electric guitar player what I wanted him to play, and it would go back and forth.
[MIM] What artist are you listening to right now?
[Julia] I’ve been on a huge Leon Bridges kick
[MIM] what was your favorite concert
[Julia] Brandi Carlile at the basilica block party which was a borderline spiritual experience, it was amazing. Also, also St. Paul & The Broken Bones last year at first ave, chills!