EVEN though singer/songwriter Julia Duclos grew up her whole life revolving around music, she never really planned a career in one.
Her first “gig”, according to the local talent was a Teacher’s Day performance that her mom helped choreographed when she was in Standard One.
She eventually began singing at skate parks for acoustic nights.
“[Big groups of friends] and I would gather at the skate park in USJ in Subang, and we’d just perform acoustics.
“I was always hanging out around musicians because my brother was in a band – all his friends were musicians– and then I made friends in the music scene.”
Two months after graduating two years ago, the 23-year-old psychology graduate was approached by Sony Music Malaysia, and in July this year, she released her debut single, Further.
How was it like working on your debut studio release?
It was so fun, honestly. It was my first time really doing something from myself … because I’ve lent my vocals to my friends, so I’ve done songs before in the studio.
It was so nice to finally sit in the studio and then at the end of everything, listen to it and be like that’s from me, that’s mine, you know, that is my baby.
My first baby.
The producer that I worked with, Charlie [Lim], he really guided me in a sense where I realised I was a bit of a perfectionist and so that was holding me back a bit.
He helped me get over that perfectionism.
Is that why you produced and recorded the track in Singapore?
I was looking for producers for a very long time because I found it difficult to find someone who could merge the two worlds of genres that I love, which is pop and indie – like indie electronic, R&B.
It’s really hard to find producers who can go 360, in terms of creating music, because a lot of them – who I know as well– sometimes are so used to doing what they [already] know.
My boss came up to me one day and [told me about] Charlie, and it was ironic because I had heard of him early in the year.
It was my first time listening to his music, and I was like wow, this guy is so good.
I was so proud that there was a South-east Asian representing us in that way.
When I got the opportunity to work with him, I just grabbed it, pretty much.
I didn’t waste any time.
Can you tell me what you surrounded the track on?
I was going through a few things in my life that were changing.
When I wrote the song it was about coming out of things stronger and not having this idea of constantly feeling sad and constantly feeling like nothing is going your way or that you need to be in love to be happy.
I wanted to send the message that women can be strong on our own without needing to depend on other people, so that was the backbone for the whole song.
Obviously, it came from a personal place but I didn’t want to leave that relationship with negativity because I just hate carrying negativity around with me, so the whole song was also about just learning about one another and taking the good from one another, and just leaving it at that.
There’s no need to hate each other just because it didn’t work out and I think our society could use a little maturity in that part of life.
As long as you grow as a person. I guess that’s what relationships are about at the end of the day, right, you want to grow and be a better person with your other half.
What are your thoughts on the local music scene as a young Malaysian musician?
I love it. I think out music scene is growing so much.
There’s more youth out there today who are coming out and supporting their local scene, which is great because we have a lot of great independent artists who deserve the attention I feel – like Pastel Lite, Bil Musa, Anamida, Enterprise.
These are all great indie acts that I think people should go out and watch whenever they can because their music is soulful and not meaningless.
I know some of them personally.
It’s not that I’m here to up my friends or anything, but if they’re good, they’re good.
I really want to create a community where everyone can just support each other, and not feel the need to be competitive with one another because yes, it’s a competition, we all know that, but at the end of the day, shouldn’t your competition be only with yourself if you want to grow and be better.
What do you think someone should do at least once in their lives?
Travel. Travel anywhere.
Travel anywhere outside of your country, not because it’s fancy, not because it’s Instagram-worthy but travel to open your mind and to realise that people live differently in different countries.
I love travelling, and the only reason why I love travelling is because to put yourself in an unfamiliar situation and to come back and gain something from that experience is one of the best feelings ever.
First concert ever? “Oh my god, Pussycat Dolls!”
Current musical influence: Noname Gypsy and Kimbra.
Current favourite albums: Sweetener by Ariana Grande and Woman Worldwide by Justice.
Who would narrate your life’s story?: “Can Batman narrate my life? Batman would be awesome!”