JULIA NUNES HAS found her voice.
That’s not even just a figurative thing, it’s a literal one.
On the phone to TheJournal.ie from LA, she tells us that she has just recovered from having lost her voice – not ideal for a singer/songwriter.
Last month, she was forced to find her voice figuratively.
Having made a music video for Make Out, a single from her latest album Some Feelings, Nunes was accused by some on the internet of being “too PC”.
The song is about kissing and the video features couples, all of whom are friends of Nunes’, doing just that. There are gay couples, lesbian couples, straight couples, inter-racial couples before Nunes finally kisses her own girlfriend Dannielle Owens-Reid.
Some corners of the internet, as they are wont to do, saw this as an attempt to endorse a PC culture or pander to diversity. The truth is far more boring.
In terms of the internet, you’re a target to everyone. I’ve been making YouTube videos for eight years and the negative reaction to this one was small, but what they were reacting to was hilarious. There’s your standard homophobes and people who don’t like pop music and that’s fine, you just carry on.
“But some people saw this calculated move on my part for including the couples I included.
“That wasn’t a choice I made, that is my friend group who could turn up on two weeks notice around the holidays.
“It’s funny that people thought I intentionally cast an inter-racial couple.
I just wanted to get across how dope making out is.
If you haven’t followed Nunes career (you should, Some Feelings was one of my picks for album of 2015), here’s a brief breakdown.
Eight years ago, Nunes began making videos of her playing songs in her bedroom. It was a mix of covers and originals and featured Nunes singing harmonies with herself and playing myriad instruments.
One video Into The Sunshine landed on the front page of YouTube and became a major success. Now, the channel has 216,000 subscribers and nearly 10 million views.
Nunes proceeded to build a career, recorded four studio albums on her own label while touring the US and UK before moving from New York to Los Angeles last year.
There, she started a Kickstarter which raised $134,000 from backers and went towards the recording and release of Some Feelings.
With Some Feelings a major step forward, Nunes says she had some worries about leaving behind her folkier, ukulele-led folk-pop.
“I was worried that when I wanted to dance to my own music that people wouldn’t like it.
“There was some negative pushback. I lost some old dudes who liked me when I was a teenager making videos, so you have to question those motives…
But people are happy to see me happy.
“There are a lot of artists who are unable to take their art to the next level without sacrificing.
“For me, my record label is my fans so I am very lucky.”
Having been a success on YouTube, then Kickstarter, Nunes is now one of the leading lights on Patreon, a site which allows fans back artists, providing the artist with a revenue stream.
“If you made a video, you would hope that the ripple effect would gain you some fans and then one of them would come to a show and give you some money to live.
Patreon makes it for real. I know if I make a video, I can make rent this month. It’s a tough place to be creative when you’re under the gun.
“I was sceptical of Spotify and then I had a conversation with a friend about how this is the new game. You get paid for t-shirt and tours and Patreon and Kickstarter. The industry has changed and you have to accept that.
“I’m not shy about my music being streamed, I think it’s wonderful and want everyone to listen.”
As for the future, Nunes is hopeful that 2016 will see her touring both venues and living rooms, having made that type of show her hallmark in recent years.
She is also hopeful of landing on these shores.
I would love to play Ireland. I toured in England and it was awesome. I will try to make it happen.
“I have 3/4s of the next album. I am ready and raring to go. I am very excited about the songs I’ve been writing.”