Q&A: LA pop singer Juliana Tucker emerges with new EP

Juliana Tucker

Up-and-comer pop singer-songwriter Juliana Tucker has evolved since rock icon Steven Tyler said she had the “it factor” on ABC’s American Idol when she was 16.

The Los Angeles-based artist put music aside for several years to go to college in Boston and work in New York. She made her way back to LA and began using music as a form of therapy during the Covid pandemic, where she says she gained confidence in her songwriting.

Before releasing her debut EP The Great Indoors on March 3, Backstage SoCal caught up with Tucker.

Can you tell us about your background and how you got into music?

I was lucky enough to grow up in a very musical household. My dad was a singer and guitar player so I pretty much started singing as soon as I could talk. I wrote my first song around the age of 10 and realized, even though I wasn’t good at the time, it was exactly what I wanted to be doing. So I kept practicing. After years of finding my sound and discovering what kind of artist I wanted to be, I finally felt confident in my songwriting capabilities and decided to release new music in 2020. I started working on my debut EP, The Great Indoors, in the peak of the pandemic and I am excited and humbled to finally share it with the world in 2023. 

Who are your biggest musical influences and inspirations?

I have a lot, but if I had to choose, I’d say, Julia Michaels, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Jeremy Zucker, The Beatles, Elton John, Britney Spears, and Tate McRae. They’re all extremely talented in their own right and a true inspiration to me as a songwriter and pop singer. 

Can you walk us through your songwriting process of The Great Indoors?

The Great Indoors EP is an extremely personal project to me because I wrote it during a time in my life when I was dealing with a lot of difficult feelings and life experiences, as we all were. I wrote it in the peak of the pandemic when we were all forced to look within ourselves for happiness since everything in the outside world was stripped away from us.

I took a little over a year to fully write and record the TGI EP because I wanted it to be fully representative of who I am as an artist and representative of where I am in my life right now. TGI is all about growing up and learning harsh realities of the world and the relationships we have within it.

It’s meant to be a self-reflective body of work that progressively becomes more self-aware from the first song to the last song, which is exactly how life works. Each day that passes, we learn more about ourselves and I wanted to showcase that in my music. Each song on my EP was written about a specific person in my life or a specific experience I lived through, which is exactly why it’s so meaningful to me and I hope it can be that for someone else too.

How has your musical style or approach evolved since you were on American Idol

When I tried out for American Idol, I was young and inexperienced. I didn’t know what kind of artist I wanted to become so I was in turn allowing everyone around me to dictate my sound and style, which ultimately turned me off to the industry all together. When I took space away from music, I was able to experience new things and gain confidence not only as a songwriter, but as a person.

The more confident I became, the more motivated I was to pick up the guitar and write new songs.  When I write for myself, my work feels real. When I write for others, my work feels misguided, which is what I did when I was younger. My creative stance will continually evolve over the years, as my life does, but I will continue to write what I’m feeling and going through because that’s why I fell in love with music to begin with.

What do you hope to communicate or express through your music?

I wrote this EP as a response to my current life experiences so I know not everyone will have gone through exactly what I went through in each song, but I do believe the overarching themes of growing up and learning about yourself can hopefully connect with people in their own right. I hope people are reminded that growth sometimes isn’t pretty, but it’s necessary and meaningful.

I hope they find strength in my songs from within themselves and realize they’re stronger than they think. I hope they gain love for themselves because at the end of the day that’s all we have. I hope they reach out to me because I always like to talk and I realllly hope they take life with a grain of salt because it doesn’t always need to be so serious. 

Can you describe a particularly memorable performance or recording experience? 

The most incredible recording experience was when we turned TGI into a piano ballad for the first time. When I initially wrote that song, it was on an acoustic guitar in my apartment, but I always knew I wanted it to be released as a piano ballad instead.

When my pianist, Jules Lee, came into the studio to record and we heard the song come together, I got the chills and teared up. It was the only time I’ve ever cried after hearing one of my songs because the lyrics meant so much to me. I’ll never forget that feeling. 

What current or upcoming projects are you working on?

For now, I’ll be focusing on sharing my EP with the world since I’ve spent so much time and energy working on it, but I’ll also be releasing new singles this year, so keep an eye out! I’m already back in the studio and I can’t wait to share what else is coming!

I’ll also be performing more often in LA, so follow my social channels to keep an eye out for the next in-person show!

How do you balance the creative and business aspects of your career as a musician?

It’s never easy balancing the two, but at the end of the day, I always find myself being drawn to the creative side. The reason I pursued music in the first place is so I can have that creative outlet. The second I lose sight of that and only focus on the business of the industry, is the second my music becomes forced and disingenuous. 

For more info, visit https://www.julianatucker.com/


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