Julia Karr is a singer-songwriter from Hamburg, Germany creating bedroom pop influenced by soul and RnB. Her unique sound blends synths, harmonies and influences for a true audio experience. Her latest track ‘Non Essential’, being released on 10 July, is a quirky and fun song about friendship and self-perception. We sat down with Julia Karr (JK) to talk about the new single, her music and much more!
OSR: What does your music say about you?
JK: For me, music is an exploration of thoughts, feelings and different musical ways of expressing them. I think my music so far reflects this process of exploration and self-reflection. While my lyrics are often pretty simple, raw and personal, the musical style varies between upbeat alt-pop (Non Essential), melancholic soul (Solo Flight), contemporary RnB/pop (Not Your Cup of Tea) and even some funky or dancey tracks. So I guess my music says I like trying out new things! Also, I have some issues I need to work on, but don’t we all?
OSR: Who are your main musical influences?
JK: While I breathed the Arctic Monkeys, Regina Spektor and Florence and the Machine while I was younger, these days I am drawn mostly to neo-soul and contemporary RnB artists such as Hope Tala, Joy Crookes, Sinead Harnett and HONNE. However, I also listen to some hip hop and rap, some (alt) pop such as Ashe, Billie Eilish or NAAZ, some funk such as Vulfpeck and Scary Pockets covers, and anything else that tickles my ears right.
OSR: What draws you to your preferred genre?
JK: I just really enjoy listening to those jazzy, atmospheric chord progressions, the interesting mix of organic instruments and interesting synths and effects. It’s music that either just makes your ears feel good (ear candy!) or really tells a convincing story or both. Even though some lyrics of the more poetic variety (I’m looking at you Hope Tala) sometimes leave you wondering what that story is exactly, but in a good way. As a singer, I also enjoy listening to beautifully delivered vocals, vocal runs and different vocal colours. There is a lot of truly amazing music out at the moment.
OSR: If you could be a fruit, which one would you be and why?
JK: OMG, I love all kinds of fruit. One of my favourites, though, is the cherry – and just like me, they are pretty small, usually pretty sweet but can be very sour, prefer to have some company (who can have just one, right?), and have a pretty tough little inner core. Also, they are usually unavailable when you want them (laughs).
OSR: How do you go about writing a song? Do you have a melody in your head and then write the other music for it?
JK: It really depends! I haven’t been at it for too long, I wrote my first song in November 2019, so I’m still finding my groove (literally). I usually jot down lyrical ideas whenever I feel strongly about something or have an idea I really like. For example, for ‘Non Essential’, I wrote down how I felt when I had really looked forward to meeting a friend I hadn’t seen in a while but felt like that wasn’t that important to them. Then, at some point, I will be trying to write a song (I usually take conscious or subconscious musical inspiration from the songs I am loving most at that moment), and I’ll flick through my lyric ideas to find one that fits. For me, the melodies usually come once I have a certain vibe going. Although sometimes, I will record melodic ideas on my phone.
OSR: Does your music fit into your local scene? If so, how do you take advantage of that? If not, do you see that as an obstacle and what do you do about it?
JK: Honestly, I am not yet sure I have “found” all there is to my local scene. I think there is a niche for more urban style music, but I’m seeing a lot of rock, blues, folk and singer-songwriter gigs too. So far, the people I had the pleasure to perform for seemed to enjoy whatever I do. I am also very active online (mostly on Instagram, but also on Facebook and Youtube), reaching out to people who enjoy my music wherever they live.
OSR: Are you creative in other disciplines?
JK: I am very creative when it comes to finding excuses for why I NEED THAT THING NOW. I also used to dance quite a lot and sometimes like to relax with some painting.
OSR: Do you plan your music releases or do you finish a song and release it?
JK: Both, I think? While for my “official” releases on Spotify and Apple Music, I am trying to plan my releases so that I can offer my listeners something new every two months or so, I also spontaneously release little productions from time to time on my Soundcloud. My release plans so far have not quite worked out yet, but I am sure I’ll get the hang of it eventually. I also have a lot of collaborative projects that are in the works and I’m excited to share.
OSR: What do you enjoy most about being a musician and what do you hate most?
JK: I love love love performing (even though I am usually dying inside), being creative, trying out new textures and sounds and making beautiful music, whether with others or on my computer. I don’t care too much for the booking, the organization, the promo. Thanks to Musosoup at least that last part has gotten a little easier.
OSR: What are your plans for the future?
JK: Starting in late summer, I want to release a couple of singles produced by one-man band Stefan Weith, a wonderful local producer with lots of experience. Because of the pandemic, performing live is a challenge at the moment, although I have a few streaming gigs coming up such as an online Yoga concert at the end of July where you can listen to my songs performed live and practice your Yoga Flow at the same time! Apart from that, I am planning to continuously hone my songwriting, singing and production skills to create even more beautiful music.