JULY JONES: “A LOT CAN CHANGE IN FOUR YEARS.”
Four years ago, in our first ever printed issue, we spoke to July Jones about her artistry. Back then, her image was black and white, and the young singer-songwriter was focused on combining soul and pop in order to bring ‘old school’ music closer to her younger audience. Now, July Jones is a girl on fire. She’s claimed the colour red as her own and whereas back when we first spoke, she’d just come out to the public, she’s now fully embraced her sexuality and sex appeal and isn’t afraid to flaunt it. Not only that – she’s a girl on a mission, focused on spreading the message about mental illness and anxiety and the troubles that haunt young artists in the music industry, sharing how she herself is tackling her own demons – either through written posts on social media or through her songs. Her music has followed her shift. Her voice remains soulful, but the fierce Londoner isn’t afraid of experimenting with sounds and sending out a message. Her songs are now anthems, ready to take over the world. Exclusively for New Edge magazine, July’s partner Dakota Robinn, an LGBTQ+ and human rights activist from Finland whose Talk the Talk speech you can check out here, interviewed her about what’s changed, her breakthroughs and milestones and what message she’s sending out to the world.
Dakota: I’ll start by giving you a little bit about July; get ready, it’s going to be cheesy. July is the most strong willed, beautiful woman I know. She is devoted to her artistry and has been building herself for years, moved across the world to chase her dreams and actually achieve them. She has her artist persona, and songs, that can be perceived as strong, aggressive, tough, but is the sweetest person on the inside, truly wishing everybody else well. She’s is so much younger than me but has taught me more than anyone else about life. July’s music, which she’s been building for the past two years, is finally starting to see the light of the day on September 6th and I couldn’t be more excited for her to show to the world what she’s made of.
D: The last time New Edge magazine talked to you, you were focused on soul and pop. A lot can happen in four years – what would you say has changed the most in your music and style?
JJ: Yeah, you’re right, a LOT can change in 4 years. When I first started making music, I made music that would show off my voice. Society, in my eyes, made music a competition, so I’d written songs that I knew I could sing well, but I wasn’t passionate about. I was gigging in London and I came across my management, who later signed me, and started developing my sound as an artist. I’ve always been drawn to futuristic sounds, new production, pop sounds that are unusual, so I took 2 years and built my electro-pop project that is starting to come out September 6th, 2019, which I’m so excited about! I’m currently touring. I’ve supported Rita Ora, Professor Green and am currently on a Pride tour around UK. In between gigs, I write for other artists, from Sigrid, Aurora, Sigala, to Raiven in Slovenia, with whom I’ve co-written her whole album, with the title REM.
D: What obstacles did you have to tackle along the way to get to where you are now?
JJ: Oh man, there are obstacles on every corner, but it comes down to how you deal with them. I think I’ve mainly had to evolve as a person. Mentally you must be very strong to stay in the music industry, everybody either says no or wants to put you in a box. People judge, take your ideas, copy you all the time, so it’s always about creating your own uniqueness and brand. I also come from Slovenia, which I absolutely love, but starting in London of course I had to fix my accent and develop my name within the industry as a writer and an artist.
D: Has your online presence evolved and if yes, how?
JJ: Of course, my online presence is what actually brought me all of the great opportunities that I got to do in the past few years. I developed my social media, mainly on Instagram and made myself into a brand. People think it doesn’t matter, but in this age, it actually matters the most, whether we like it or not.
D: What would you say are the most important breakthroughs you’ve gone through in the past four years? What were some of the highlights?
JJ: My biggest breakthroughs were mostly experiences with different producers who have produced for incredible artists and touring and supporting Rita Ora was incredible.
D: How have you changed as a person?
JJ: I’ve grown a lot mentally and spiritually. I am still the same little girl as I was when I was 16, full of drive, but I’ve learned not to rush my goals and accept the now. I enjoy my life so much, I get to be in sessions every single day or performing, every single day, so, I learned to enjoy that.
D: What is your main goal currently – in your career and personal life?
JJ: In my career my main goal is to put my music out there into the world. I’ve been holding onto my baby for the past 2 years so I’m excited to finally release it and see what happens. In my personal life, my goal is to be healthy and happy with myself, travel the world, love fully and appreciate my surroundings in the now.
D: What are you excited about in the future?
JJ: I try not to think about future too much, I am just looking forward to forever making music.
D: Talk to us a bit about your new music and upcoming releases – what genre are you tackling now, what are your plans?
JJ: Sooo, I have 4 singles coming up, they’re all in the alt-pop, electro-pop genre. Each of them is coming out with a visual project as well, which is super exciting! My first single called Liar Liar, which is the most Charli XCX style of pop out of all of them, came out on September 6th, and then each of the other ones is coming out every 2 months. After that I’m releasing an EP on mental health, and after that, WHO KNOWS? I’m currently in the studio every single day, so it’s exciting.
D: What’s your writing process like?
JJ: My writing process… So, I see songs in colours. What I do is I collect titles from everywhere, if I walk down the street and there is a word I love, I’ll write it down, if I see a sign in a restaurant, I’ll write it down. I then organise titles in colours, depending on the mood and head to the studio with a producer. The producer starts the chords and I’ll sing the topline (the melody that a singer sings) once the topline is structured in a pop song structure, meaning verse, pre chorus, chorus, verse 2, pre chorus, chorus, middle, chorus, then we’ll add the lyrics and finish the production. That all happens within a span of 8 hours.
D: Talk a bit about your involvement with the LGBTQ+ community, the message you want to spread, your speaking out about mental illness and anxiety.
JJ: LGBTQ+ community has been so lovely to me. I love all my LGBTQ+ fans, they are the best! I’ve been touring on Prides around Europe, and those are ALWAYS my favourite gigs. I am openly pansexual, meaning I love all genders, my partner is transgender, so LGBTQ+ is a family that I love. I’ve also been working a lot on spreading the word about mental health, especially anxiety and depression. Social media has been killing our heads and so many people are depressed behind computers, so I wanted to speak out about it and open up about my struggles, be real and use social media for something good.
D: Do you have a message for the readers and your fans?
JJ: You are enough, keep going, step by step, live in the moment, don’t regret, and don’t look to far in the future.