Indie-Folk artist Julia Cannon is a Nashville-based singer-songwriter and music producer who is hard to forget.
Julia Cannon was raised in Alaska by a hardworking Filipino mother, in a household Cannon could only describe as “unorthodox.” She developed her wicked sense of humor and offbeat persona early on. As one of only a few people of color in a mostly white, ultra-conservative community, her creative voice cemented her identity as a young woman who could not – and would not - be overwritten.
Serenading us in an authentic expression of soothing melodies in her most recent single “The Shore,” Julia Cannon flexes her songwriting techniques in a manner that has us mesmerized by pacifying tones.
Indulging listeners with her euphonious timbres, Julia Cannon presents a brilliant divergence between the honeyed croons she pours from her heart as they delve into a profound narrative rich in lyrical motifs such as ‘we'll set aside our pride and teach by showing, pain as a part of life and fear as a twisting knife.’ With “The Shore,” holding a significant place in the heart of Julia Cannon, we feel every moment of vulnerability as it seeps through the tantalizing framework.
Amongst the thought-provoking essence of this track, the intricately crafted words share a glimpse into the past and present mindset that Julia Cannon encompassed when thinking of how her parents raised her.
Growing up as an underprivileged first-generation American, she reflects on how things could have perhaps been done differently, but deeply realizing that what she was given was the best that her parents could do. Honing in on hues that surpass one specific genre, her lulling resonance touches on elements of Jazz and Soul as she drives the Indie-Folk quintessence of her being home.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, Julia Cannon, and congratulations on the release of “The Shore.” This song is so beautiful in the way it is presented to listeners. In terms of writing about something so personal to you, did you find that the creative process was fairly simple to navigate around, or more difficult?
Hello and thank you so much! I’m very happy to be here! We are getting right into it, aren't we? (laughs). Well, I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression for most of my life and to cope I started journaling at around 8 years old. I think because of my need to manage my mental health from a young age, I’ve built up the muscle that translates feelings into words. This song came out quickly and I wasn’t even sure what it meant at first. I tend to write that way. It’s like emotional vomit. One day I just got really emotional and spit it out…and here we are.
What are you hoping that your listeners feel and take away from “The Shore?”
I guess I’m hoping that people are left with a feeling of hope. As a society, we don’t prioritize teaching younger generations emotional intelligence early on. Instead, we prioritize achievement. I think we are heading in the direction of being better emotional role models for future generations, but we definitely have more work to do.
You credit your unique genre-bending style to musical influences such as Ella Fitzgerald, Paul McCartney, and Paul Simon. How did they first inspire your sound and has your sound since adapted?
Growing up in Alaska, it’s hard not to be dramatic. The mountains and the northern lights would make me cry on the regular. I think that the romantic storytelling in McCartney and Simon’s songwriting just felt right. And Ella’s voice melted into each sunrise and sunset over the big wide sky. Certain genres just feel good in certain parts of the world. Then I moved across the country and I learned what felt good to me in those environments. The sounds of Boston, Philly, and now Nashville are all mixed into my culturally messy identity stew.
What are your thoughts on the music scene in Nashville? Do you find that what you represent is easily grasped there?
First of all, these questions are hard. Second of all, dang! When I decided to move to Nashville, my top priority was quality of life. I’m such an anxious person and I’m a first-generation American from a poor family, so I needed to go somewhere that I could build myself up that also had a thriving music community. I got here and I really didn’t know what to expect. I told myself that if I didn’t like it, I would just leave and go somewhere else. I really miss the diversity of other cities and I don’t love being the only person of color in a room, but overall I’ve felt very welcomed in the music scene. It’s hard being black and making folk-inspired music. I think sometimes people don’t know how to pin me down and it makes them uncomfortable. And other times I think that people find me really refreshing. It’s a tension I’m used to, though. I was never Filipino enough for my mom's side of the family, never black enough for black communities, not Afro-Latina enough, certainly not white enough. I figure that no matter where I am, it’s going to be a tension I’ll have to straddle, and right now Nashville is home. I feel that I have a great community around me and I’ll be here for a while.