THE beautiful and talented Toronto-based artist…
PHOTO CREDIT: @magicmerik
Julia Carlucci is one of the most striking and talented performers in North America. Her powerful, tremulous vocals are inspired by Beyoncé and Adele; her soulfulness and allure reminiscent of Alicia Keys’ seminal album, Songs in A Minor; her magnetic and lovable personality the reason she has been taken to heart across the continent (and her native land). The skill, range and passion you get from Carlucci is the result of intense study and enormous affection for music and its possibilities. I have been awed by her innate abilities and incredible voice since first I heard it. Excited to learn more about the Toronto native; I quiz Carlucci about her latest single, Take Me Down (video out on Friday). She discusses why Toronto musicians deserve more attention; the new artists she recommends we check out in addition to her plans for the remainder of this year.
Hi Julia. How are you? How has your week been? It is pretty snowy and cold in Britain recently. How is it where you are?
I’m very well, thanks! My week has been great despite the weather (haha). Cold and snowy here in Toronto as well.
For those new to your music can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Julia Carlucci and I’m a Pop/Soul artist from Toronto. My sound is a mix of influences from classic R&B to current contemporary Pop music.
You are a veteran of the stage and have a real affinity for performance and delivery. When did that passion begin as was music always your first love?
Music was always my first love but I started learning how to really perform in my late -teens. Up to that point, I knew how to deliver melody and lyrics effectively but interacting with an audience and moving on stage was a whole different ball game. Since then, my performance skills have grown exponentially and the more comfortable and confident I became as a woman, the better my performance skills became.
You are based in Toronto. I am fascinated by the area and the great music that comes out of there. I feel like a lot of the international media do not realise how fantastic Canadian music is. Would you agree?
I absolutely agree. I feel Toronto, and Canada in general, is the little brother that everyone underestimates. We have to work twice as hard just to prove we can kick it with the big boys.
But to be honest, I kind of like that because it makes us hungrier. People like Drake and Alessia Cara have definitely put us on the map and I’m sure many more Canadian artists will follow in their footsteps very soon.
Who are the local musician you would urge us to seek out?
For Me was your E.P. (released in 2015). How do you think you have changed, as a musician, since then and what was the reaction like to the E.P.?
It’s crazy how much change can occur in just two years. I’ve grown up quite a bit and although my sound has evolved I think I’ll always be about that Pop/Soul vibe. Everyone loved the E.P. when it came out and I got a lot of great feedback from it. That music will always be special to me because it represented a specific time in my life and was the first piece of art I ever released.
Take Me Down is your new single. It looks at the old-age battle of head-versus-heart and falling for someone you shouldn’t. Was there a particular inspiration for it (person-wise) or experiences you have had in the past?
For sure. I think as artists we usually write from personal experience to make our music as honest and relatable as possible. This song kind of relates to several experiences I’ve had in the past.
Whether it’s the ‘heartbreaker’, the ‘unavailable’ guy, the ‘bad timing’ guy, etc.: I’ve been interested in all of them at some point. There was always a reason why I ‘shouldn’t’ have been with them but somehow got emotionally involved anyway. Take Me Down describes that moment of “Uh oh…I’m in love now and there’s no turning back.”
The vocals and potency of the song remind me of Adele at her peak. How important is she to your music and is she an idol of yours?
Thank you so much – that’s a huge compliment for me. Adele is definitely top-three on my idol list. She’s one of those singers who can make time stand still when she performs and I’m so drawn to that. Aside from being a powerhouse vocalist, she’s got those gut-wrenching, relatable songs that withstand the test of time. That’s the kind of artist I strive to be like.
In terms of vocals/music, I also detect hints of Beyoncé and Alicia Keys’ soulfulness and R&B magic. Are they artists you have grown up with and what did you think of both their 2016 albums?
I listened to Alicia a lot growing up and she absolutely contributed to who I am as an artist now.
She’s evolved quite a bit which I respect so much because that’s one of the biggest fears as an artist (“If I change, will they still like me?”). But artists change as people and so will the music. The album is no Songs in A Minor but it’s so great in its own way.
I only started getting into Beyoncé in high school when my best friend showed me the Sweet Dreams Medley from her Vegas show. That changed my life. From that moment I was obsessed, and to this day, Beyoncé is still my number one. When I watched Lemonade for the first time I was blown away by how beautiful it was. It’s a very meaningful album, for not only myself, but for a lot of women.
Can we expect any Julia Carlucci E.P. or album this year?
Maybe not an E.P./full-album but you can definitely expect more music and visual content from me this year!
If you had to select three albums, past or present, that have been most influential to you?
Just three? That’s tough but I would say 21, Beyoncé and The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
You have commanded audiences across North America and must have some fond memories of the past couple of years. Which have been the moments that stand out most?
Man. I’ve had so many beautiful experiences but I’d have to say my E.P. Release Show in 2015 stands out the most. That was a huge undertaking for me (I had a fourteen-piece band!) but it was super successful. It sticks out in my mind because that was the first time I played my original music live and I just felt so fulfilled.
We’d love to see you in the U.K. very soon performing. How often do you come over here and any plans to perform here this year?
I have yet to see the U.K. but I’m dying to go.
My sister currently lives in London and let’s just say, she’s not coming back (haha). My goal is to make a trip before the year is up and who knows; maybe I’ll book a show while I’m there!
Are there any new artists, from the mainstream, you’d recommend we check out?
Have you advice for new songwriters coming through right now?
When it comes to music, there are two main rules I live by: 1) Keep making the music and 2) Keep making it good. Consistency and quality are the two things that can never be compromised. Everything else will fall into place.
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name any song you like (not yours as I’ll do that) and I’ll play it here.
Finesse – Bruno Mars. This track always puts me in a good mood!
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PHOTO CREDIT: Merik Williams Photography