Photography: Jemima Marriott
Stylist: Callum Smith
Hair & Makeup: Daisy Holubowicz using Pacifica, KVD Beauty & Got2b
Interview: Ines Shubshizky
Even before I start the interview with July, her mere presence makes me feel her strong energy and confidence. It is immediately clear to me that she is made for this industry with every fiber of her body and lives for what she does. She tells me she’s going to win some Grammys soon, and I have no doubt that’s going to come true.
Hi July, where do you draw the inspiration from for your new album Silly Little Dream?
Silly Little Dream is like an introduction of me as an artist. The album is divided into three phases which are meant to show my growth. The first part was the birth and the beginning of it. Growing up in Eastern Europe, I always believed that certain things were impossible. At that time I couldn’t imagine that I could really become a singer. But here I am – I have my brand, I have my career, and it proved to me that anything is possible. So this album is about me growing into this version of July Jones that I am now.
What do you want people to take away from your music?
My music is very honest. I want people to find confidence in it and to find themselves. My lyrics are very straightforward and hopefully a lot of people can relate to them. My goal is to reach people all over the world, no matter where you’re from, especially because I’m from the middle of nowhere myself.
“I think when you get hate, it shows that you’re reaching an audience that doesn’t agree with you, so I see that as a sign of success.”
How would you describe your style in three words?
My style is modern, futuristic and honest.
If you could teach every person in the world a lesson at the snap of a finger, what would it be?
If I could teach people one lesson, it would be to be persistent. I think the key to success is to just keep going and do your thing. Success doesn’t happen overnight, but if you keep going and believe in what you really love, it will happen.
Do you ever experience creative blocks and if so, how do you overcome them?
I do. I’m a songwriter first and foremost, so my main job is writing for other people. I think the concept of songwriting is so misunderstood and people still think artists sit by the lake and write all their songs. In reality, it’s a very fast-paced industry where you’re booked to write every day. Writing songs is an art, but the pop industry often treats it like a fast food chain, putting out new music in a very short time. When I have creative blocks, I try to take time off and just think about what I want to do. Especially with my own project because it’s so personal and I need to have real experiences for it.
“Because I’m very sexual many people think that my main talent is being hot when actually, it’s my brain.”
How do you deal with criticism that is not constructive?
I consider myself a very sensitive person, so I took it to heart at first. Now I just don’t take it personally and respect that people have different opinions. Basically, I think when you get hate, it shows that you’ve accomplished something because you’re reaching an audience that doesn’t necessarily agree with your values and what you’re putting out. So I see that as a good thing and as a sign of success.
“Success doesn’t happen overnight, but if you keep going and believe in what you really love, it will happen.”
I love that perspective. Was this a difficult lesson for you to learn?
Oh my god, definitely. I competed in the Eurovision Song Contest last year. The show is a huge thing in Eastern Europe, and of course I got a lot of publicity for it. Mainly because I’m queer, my performance was seen as very controversial. It was the first time I experienced so much hate. Suddenly strangers were saying horrible things to me on the internet. I mean, I had seen this happen to other artists, so I knew you get hate no matter what you do. Still, it was a shock and I couldn’t process it for a while. Eventually, though, you learn that it’s part of the job, and the more hate you get, the more supporters and fans you gain. And that’s what I focus on.
What was the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
I think the biggest risk was leaving my home country. First to accept my scholarship to study jazz in the U.S. when I was 16. Then later I moved here [to London] and started from zero. I had no savings, so we were homeless and just playing shows. Eventually it paid off, but if you emigrate as an adult, you definitely miss out on a kind of quality of life that many other people take for granted.
Have you ever thought about doing something else than music?
I think when you have a talent like music, it’s very hard to do something else. My ability to write is really strong, and I feel like it’s my destiny to pursue it. It would be a shame if I didn’t have my music, but also if I couldn’t help other people get their music out there. I feel like I have this gift inside of me and I want to use it for the rest of my life. I’m not good at anything else.
How do you stay confident on a bad day?
Wearing cool clothes gives me confidence and so much joy. It’s about expressing yourself in the way you are. For this reason, my closet is very lively.
What is something that people always get wrong about you?
Especially in this industry, which is very male-oriented, I have to prove myself every time I walk into a room. I’m very sexual and my visuals are quite provocative, so many people think that my main talent is being hot. In fact, however, it’s my brain.
What do you consider cool about America?
I think it’s really cool how many different cultures come together and live in unity because their national pride is pretty strong. I’ve never had that. I’ve always wanted to be part of something, and I think it’s great that so many different cultures can come together and share the same interests.
What is a great lesson that you’ve had to learn the hard way?
I think to have patience. It’s been a long journey getting to where I am now. Understanding that I have different privileges than others because of my background was hard because I always just wanted to belong. I kept wishing I was born in the U.S. or England and not have this stupid accent that I thought was so ugly. Seeing so many other artists get signed at such a young age while I was homeless was hard. So staying patient and focused was a lesson I learned throughout my life. Sometimes I get so frustrated because I see someone get what I have always wanted so easily. But I am sure that if you stay patient and focused on what you want, you will eventually get it.
Her new EP Silly Little Dream PT.1 is out now.
Expect further explosive, genre-bending music and outstanding visuals from the SILLY LITTLE DREAM project as 2022 unfolds and catch the JULY JONES live experience at one of her upcoming UK tour dates.
25.05 Limelight 2, Belfast, UK*
26.05 The Academy, Dublin, Ireland*
22.06 Santeria Toscana 31, Milan, Italy^
26.06 Praga Centrum, Warsaw, Poland^
27.06 Gretchen, Berlin, Germany^
29.06 LUXOR, Cologne, Germany^
06.07 Gorilla, Manchester, UK^
07.07 Heaven, London, UK^
08.07 The Academy, Dublin, Ireland^
09.07 FVTVR, Paris, France^