11 Questions to a Nashville Musician: Julia Cannon

Julia CannonReady to hear some new sounds so fresh and gentle that they will rest your mind, heart, and spirit? Well, look no further than the two new singles from Nashville’s Julia Cannon. Let the lovely hushed tones of both “Glow” and “These Dreams” introduce you to Julia’s intimately personal songwriting.

Julia not only touched my heart with her songs, but also through her love of two of my fave Music City spots: Sam & Zoe’s and Five Points Pizza. In fact, I’d recognize those pizza slices on the photo accompanying the “Glow” single anywhere!

Julia Cannon Pizza

Thanks Julia for the intro to your music and to yourself through the “Eleven.” Hope to see you performing around town again soon. Please come back and see us when your first full-length record is ready. We can’t wait!

Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?

I grew up in Wasilla, AK. I left for college in Boston and then after graduation I spent a year with family in Philly before heading down here. Honestly, I planned on moving to Nashville simply because I was super poor, and it was a cheaper option than the other cities I was considering. I told myself that if I didn’t like, it I could always leave and try somewhere else. But, five years later I’m still here. Nashville has been good to me, and I think I’ll be here for a while.

What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?

I think the last album I bought was a Dinah Washington compilation from Vinyl Tap in East Nashville. I was playing a Queer Folk Fest showcase organized by the lovely Sara Gougeon, and I picked it up in my way out. I have no self-control when it comes to old soul and R&B. The majority of my vinyl collection leans in that direction. The FIRST album I actually bought on my own was Charmbracelet by Mariah Carey. I loved singers that could do crazy runs, even though that gift completely evaded me. I played that CD into the ground.

First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?

The first legit concert I had ever seen was the Avett Brothers at the Alaska State Fair when I was eighteen. I was basically obsessed with them, and they were so fun and didn’t take themselves too seriously that it fed my soul. No bands really go through the trouble of performing in Alaska unless it’s the beginning or the very end of their career. Oh, wait. That’s a lie. I won tickets to see Charlie Daniel’s when I was seventeen at the State Fair. And he was like 200 years old at the time, but the fans were going crazy.

The last concert I saw was Emily King at the Basement East and she is everything. I first saw her back in Philly before she popped off in a small venue and she only gets better with time. It was so good to see her getting the love and attention that she deserves. Her spirit on stage is everything. Something I’m really drawn to in an artist is whether or not they are having fun and being playful. I try to prioritize that in my own performances as well.

Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?

I’m probably the worst person to ask this question because I do not keep up with this stuff. Everyone I thought of is already on it. Nashville has so many great musicians here that I feel like it would take some real impact to be added to that list. So, give me a couple of years and then I’ll nominate myself. Everybody’s gotta wait for me to pay off my crushing student debt first though, so that I can actually have full freedom to pursue my art first, but once that happens…hold on to your butts.

Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?

Anytime I’m actually craving pizza and it’s not just my “depression order” from Dominos, I go to Five Points Pizza. They really do it right. My mouth is watering even typing this up. I’m more of a tea drinker myself, but when I’m feeling frisky, I go to Sam & Zoe’s in Berry Hill. It’s not only three minutes from my house, but it’s good and they’re always so stinking nice. I love the vibe. I’m a small-town girl at heart and nothing quite hits the spot like a cozy lowkey joint with kind people.

What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?

This question isn’t fair. I don’t know how to answer this. Part of the draw of Nashville to me was all of the producers and studios that are here making amazing music. There are so many records that were formative for me that came out of here from artists like Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, The Black Keys, and so on. In high school, I was super into Jack White and my answer would have been his album Blunderbuss. But now, I know so many local artists who put out music that I love often and we’re living in the era of the single over the album.

Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?

I’m poor, so the frozen burritos in my kitchen. Or if I’m splurging, Wendy’s drive thru.

The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.

I’d choose the friends whose songs have been stuck in my head the most lately. Robyn Harris just released a single “Famous” that I’m so into and she’s incredible. I’d love her to join me. I made a friend who releases music under Purser, and they are such a breath of fresh air. The kind of performer that kind of makes you mad that you didn’t write their songs. And then, I would make Molly Martin and Lowen fight it out for the third spot because they’re two of the artists in town I’ve been the most excited about this year. I feel so lucky to know so many inspiring humans.

What are your favorite music venues to play in town?

I love The 5 Spot, the East Room, Exit/In…the local venues that are cozy and home-y. The Basement just feels good even if the crowd is small. It doesn’t feel empty, you know? I hope that we can protect these spaces because they are so important to Nashville.

Name a musician who you’d like to see move here.

Madison Cunningham. I need to breathe the same air as her. She’s the most impressive songwriter I’ve heard from my own generation. But she’s doing her thing where she is now. I think that some more soul and R&B artists in town would help to boost diversity, so if people in that vein moved here, I would love that. I know that they probably won’t because we don’t have the strongest community for that here, but I would love it. So, PJ Morton, Victoria Monet, all y’all…. it’s cheaper than LA or New York here…help a girl out. Lucky for us, the internet keeps our separate communities more connected now than it ever has before, so I’ll live!

Finally, what’s in your musical future?

Right now, I’m working on my album and getting singles ready to release as I go. The album release is TBD for some time early next year. I was also invited by the Black Opry Revue to join them for their performance at the Newport Folk Festival this July, which I am still reeling over!

I work a full-time job nannying and I love working with kids, so it’s an ideal way to support my craft. I’ve worked with kids to support myself my whole adult life. This is the most healthy and most secure I’ve ever been in my life, so I’m just stoked to be here now and releasing music and improving as an artist. I hope to pay off my private loans in the next few years and be able to invest more and more in myself as I go. I just finished a lot of medical work and dental work as well, so day by day I get closer to having more and more time for my music. I am excited for the future even though I don’t know what’s coming. But I know it’s going to be good! I’m breaking these generational curses and doing the dang thing!

Keep an ear out for more music from me this year and follow me @cooliajannon on all the social medias to stay in the loop ❤

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