Interview & Photos by Jamary Bobe
JUJ is a rising artist from Philadelphia creating music in Los Angeles. Making music for her restless generation, JUJ encourages them to fight for what is right in the world. JUJ sings to kids from the projects to the burbs who feel trapped in their city and long to change to their world. Her debut EP: “JUJ, It’s U”, bounces with east coast melodies and reflects the swag and strength of the city she grew up in.
Does JUJ stand for something? How did that name come about?
I was originally name Julia when I was born, and my family is from Brazil, so after I was born we want back to Brazil for a little and then all of my mom’s family just referred to be as JUJ and it stuck since I was like five months old and I never went back to Julia.
You recently released a new version of your song “Mood” with Vic Mensa, what was that like? How did you guys meet?
It was amazing, my manager Nathan knows his manager and that’s how they set up the collaboration. We were trying to be a little specific looking for someone to feature on this song, someone who had a relatable experience as I did to moving away from home at a young age to pursue a career. After I left Philly, I moved to Chicago, and he’s from Chicago, he moved out at seventeen to pursue a music career as well. His story added a lot to “Mood” so it was great fit.
What’s your biggest aspiration as a musician?
My biggest aspiration as a musician is to create things that are truthful to me and fulfill me. Everyone looks at success differently; the ultimate goal is being able to do what I love for a living, being successful is being able to do what I love every day.
Who’s your dream artist to collaborate with? Tour with?
Lady Gaga for both! She’s been an inspiration of mine since I was younger. Her background in theater is super inspiring to me. I also went to the same elementary school as her, so there’s a Sacred Heart in Pennsylvania and one in New York, she went to the one in New York, but with my background in theater we have similar roots and she was able to really shape the music industry with her style and that’s something I want to do and inspire my generation. Her transition to TV and Film was super seamless too and that’s something that I would always want to come back to because I do love to act as well.
What artists can you relate to lyrically/instrumentally?
Instrumentally I’d say Jon Bellion, I feel like I’m a broken record but I just love the east coast vibes. That’s definitely something that inspired the EP, was to use a lot of New York trash can vibes to make the music feel like I’m back home. Lyrically I’d say Khalid because I like to speak to a lot of kids, whether it be in the suburbs or in the middle of Iowa, and tell them that you can make it to a big city and achieve your dream, if you really work hard it you have a chance.
You’re pretty young yourself, what advice can you give to other young musicians who want to pursue a career in music?
There’s not really a certain path, you have to create your own, there’s wasn’t someone I knew and was like I’m going to follow in their footsteps. As I started to create more music and do more collaborations/features, it’s great to seek knowledge from others. The day that I decide to stop learning is the day that I stop growing.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Like we mentioned earlier we re-released “Mood” with Vic Mensa and we shot a music video for it. We shot it at his house and should be released within the next month or so. So stay tuned!
Keep up with JUJ