Songwriting enabled Julia Wolf to give herself a voice. “Growing up extremely shy, I mostly kept to myself throughout high school,” she shares. “I was never one to join in on conversations or voice the way I felt about things. I really hid my thoughts from those around me and never spoke much face to face with people. It wasn’t until senior year that my music teacher said that if I wanted to participate in the school talent show (the only thing I ever did each year), then it would have to be an original song. After I got over the embarrassment of having people hear what I had to say, I realized songwriting was the best way to express myself while still keeping my distance. I could finally let people in on what I was thinking and that was the biggest weight off my shoulders. I never stopped after that.”
Her songs also serve as time capsules for cherished memories. “‘Hoops’ is about all the times after class in college when my friends and I would go and play basketball, less for the sport and more for the hang, all in our jeans and sometimes even our platform boots. We used that time as a way to air out frustrations, laugh things off, and give each other advice. It immediately brings me back to such a simple time, it always makes me smile.” Indie music further allowed her to follow her heart without the burden of typical industry pressures. “I love the freedom in it, how there’s nothing formulaic. There’s no set intention on ‘becoming a hit.’ So going in with that kind of mindset, it makes you feel like you can write without needing to meet a more mainstream expectation. You can express yourself freely and in the most authentic way possible.”
Julia dabbled in self producing before finally finding her true creative partner. As often happens, too many people were too eager to manipulate her music. “I only ever self produced early on in my songwriting, out of sheer necessity,” she reminisces. “Producers were constantly trying to change my sound no matter how much I tried to articulate what I was looking for. There came a point where I was wasting too much time trying to find someone that wouldn’t call me ‘nitpicky’ and instead put that time into teaching myself the basics in production. It really saved me. I was able to get it to a place where finally a person could hear and clearly understand what I was going for. That’s how I came to work with my producer now, Jackson Foote. I sent him a demo a few years ago and he knew instantly how to bring the vision to life. It’s been us two ever since.”
Her new single, “Hot Killer,” acts as an anthem for girls who are more reserved or overlooked. “‘Hot Killer’ is really meant to empower my young females! Especially the shy ones,” she adds. “I want it to boost confidence while singing along and give some love to my misunderstood team Slytherins. People are always assuming quiet people are the ones to walk all over, to take advantage of. So I wanted to write this and set the record straight that being soft spoken doesn’t equate to putting someone else’s needs before your own, we can still be hot killers, we’ll just be less expected.”
Through ups and downs, she believes it’s time to break the narrative that shy girls are incapable of breaking hearts. “It’s the automatic assumption that we put everyone on a pedestal. That our own decisions aren’t dictated by what best suits us but rather, what will make someone else happy. The fear of hurting someone. The idea that we would overlook being disrespected. You can still be sweet and cut people out of your life, because you have to do what’s best for yourself. People always assume the shy girl won’t do that because she’s too afraid of what others might think.”
While everyone should know their worth, “Hot Killer” is a cautionary tale against judging a book by its cover. “You can only be so kind to someone. Once you sense you’re being mistreated, it’s time to leave. But you see time and time again where girls will stay and let people drain them of every favor they have, never receiving anything in return”
“Never assume something about someone’s character when you don’t know who they are,” she continues. “Understand that having a quieter disposition doesn’t mean you can’t be just as cut throat when you need to be.”
And despite everything that’s unfolded for Julia in her career recently, she certainly knows firsthand the value of persevering. “It took me many years of dead ends, trial and error, and countless YouTube tutorials to even begin to get my footing. But none of that compares to the importance of being true to who you are and waiting til you have all the pieces in place to share your art. It took me that long because I refused to put out music I wasn’t proud of, and from that I learned the reward that comes with patience. If you don’t stay true to yourself in your creative process then what’s the point? People want to hear your perspective, your experiences, and straying from that will only be a disservice to yourself.” Your voice always matters, even if you’re the quietest in the room.
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Julia Wolf Reminds Us Shy Girls Bite Back in New Single, “Hot Killer.” Photo Credit: WOLF.