Jules Marie is a vocalist and songwriter from Philly and the surrounding suburbs who has released seven singles.
Her latest release, “LUCKY,” generated almost 20,000 streams in a single week. PW recently caught up with her to talk about her career and music.
Talk a little about how you first got into music. Who were some of your early inspirations?
I started my music journey at a really young age. I was that kid – the one who wouldn’t stop singing. I was always singing for my family at get togethers and holidays. I would stand on top of the table and perform for them.
I started songwriting and writing stories when I was in second grade, and I wrote my first full song when I was eight years old. I was a choir and theater kid pretty much my whole young life. I would have solos in the middle school choir, but I really got more serious as a musician with the start of high school. I was in community theater, the school musicals, and every choir they offered. I had some really great opportunities with those groups. I got to perform the national anthem at the Linc, The B101 Christmas Song Competition (now 101.1 More FM), and I even performed at The Kennedy Center.
My favorite artists growing up were people like Nelly Furtado, Macy Gray, Alicia Keys, Whitney Huston, Aretha Franklin, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Alanis Morissette, Fleetwood Mac, and so many others. I had a lot of car rides back and forth between my mom and dad’s houses. My dad is a huge Frank Sinatra fan, and I think he definitely passed that influence onto me. We spent a lot of our drives together singing all of his songs. I think having an “Uncle Frank” (as my dad calls him) has definitely played a huge role in my voice. I tend to add touches of jazz/blues/soul to all of my music.
Philly will always have my heart.
You kind of grew up all over Pennsylvania, including Philly. What impact has the city had on your music? Are there any local artists who have influenced you?
Philly will always have my heart. As much as I love the woods and mountains and all the towns I’ve lived in, something about pulling into the city, no matter what time of day, just makes me feel at home. However, I especially love the city at night. After I turned 18, I can’t even begin to tell you how many nights and gallons of gas I must have spent just driving all around the city – listening to music, windows down. I did some of my best songwriting on those night drives.
I really just love our city. It has a vibe like no other. The food, the people, the sports and the concerts have all planted unforgettable memories in my mind. I even had my first busking experience right in center city. A few years ago, this random guy was sitting on the sidewalk outside of iHop playing his guitar and I just walked up and asked to sing with him, he said yes, and we ended up performing an impromptu acoustic version of my first single, “Breathe.” We had all kinds of people stop and listen. A friend of mine took a video of the whole thing, and that video has gotten tons of views from all over the place, it was even posted on @The.Viral.Voice on Instagram!
There are a lot of great musicians in Philadelphia – amazing studios, and so many venues to perform. I’ve recently met some local Philly musicians over at Obsidian Studios in South Philly. They are all so crazy talented! You can definitely expect to see big things from them/us in the very near future.
How would you describe your music? Does it fit into a particular genre?
I have been so happy that I have not been forced to pick a genre. I have so many different influences and combinations of styles. Articles written about my music have called me “genre-defying,” and I love that. I have never believed in staying inside a box, and I definitely don’t ever want to be stuck inside one with my music. If you have to put a label on it, my music is everything from R&B/Pop, to Rock/Soul/Edge, the occasional country, and some reviews even say that my songs have hints of rap. I like blurring genre lines with a sound that is uniquely mine. The genre of each song becomes however I’m feeling on that track, and the delivery of my vocals definitely differs from song to song.
Talk a little about your writing process. Where do you find the inspiration for your songs?
As young as I am, I have had a pretty crazy ride in life so far.
I write almost all of my songs in the notes section of my phone. Unless I write on my piano or with live instrumentation from my friend Sam Pappagallo, which has only been for a few of my songs, most start with a sound file of a beat/instrumental made by my friend Jared Stong (also known as Pimp Fried Rice). I can normally fill in the words pretty quickly, but sometimes all I have to start is a melody in my head that gets hummed out until the humming becomes words. Each song is unique and that has been the most exciting part. Seeing the progression of ideas and sounds and words all coming together to make something special. I still get as excited when it all comes together as I did when I wrote my very first song. The lyrics for all of my songs are very personal. They are usually based on my experiences, my opinions, or just my general emotions. I always want to write lyrics that I feel are genuine and meaningful.
As young as I am, I have had a pretty crazy ride in life so far. I feel like I have so many stories to share. Both good and bad. I also really focus on being open and real with people. I tend to write about how I view the world and how I view the whole journey of life. I’m human. We all are. And I think people can really connect with someone who is willing to share their own real life through their music.
Tell us about your latest single, “LUCKY.” How did it come together? What’s been the reaction from your fans, and how can people hear it?
“LUCKY” was written after one of my “usual drives” while sitting in my driver’s seat. It actually started on a different beat than the one that you hear released. It would’ve been a much slower paced song if we would’ve gone with the original version. I wrote “LUCKY” about realizations I’m having now as an adult about my childhood and growing up to this point. Time has gone by so fast, and as I look around in life I have been very lucky to “know both the mountains and the city streets” as the lyrics say. The song also talks about the lessons I have learned. I talk about finding your voice, and “using your pain to ignite a flame.”
I’m so grateful for the response from my fans and especially from my family. The song was inspired by a lot of my drives to the different places in Pennsylvania that my family lives in. As well as, of course, my drives through the city. My family really has been overwhelmingly supportive of this song. My grandparents actually said it’s one of their favorites! I also definitely have been overwhelmed with the fans’ and fellow musicians’ responses, and the amount of publicity this song has attracted. It has quickly become one of my most played songs, reaching over 20,000 streams on Spotify in just under two weeks. It continues to grow across all platforms. It is available on every streaming platform you can think of, and the video is available on YouTube.
What’s ahead for you once the pandemic clears? More time in the studio? Live shows?
I have actually been super fortunate to be able to continue to perform during the pandemic. I was invited to be a part of a few outdoor live music events. We had to be very careful, and make sure we were following all the rules, but I was able to get out and perform a few times on Bridge Street in Phoenixville and the beautiful Setter Ridge Vineyards. I currently have a few Pennsylvania and New Jersey performances scheduled toward the end of the summer and into the fall. I am definitely looking to fill up the rest of this summer with as many performances in as many different venues as possible. Including possibly some festivals! I also have been super fortunate to be able to continue working in various studios.
Obsidian And Screaming Parrot Studios have both taken the pandemic very seriously and always take all the proper precautions when recording. I plan to continue to work with both and also collaborate with some new artists/friends and their studios. I can’t wait for all the amazing collaborations I have coming, as well as all the new original singles I have in the works. My main goal post-pandemic is to finally finish putting together a tour, and be able to have large-audience concerts and festivals again! Soon! So soon! I’m ready.
What are the best ways people can stay current with what you’re doing?
I am active daily on Instagram @JulesMarieMusic
I also am working on building a website with information about me and my music, photos, and an event schedule.
I have videos on YouTube. I do have a TikTok, but I definitely could be better at keeping up with it – vm.tiktok.com.