LIFESTYLE INSIDER: BELT IT OUT LOUD AND PROUD!
Julia Duclos reveals how she’s made it in the Malaysian music scene at the tender age of 23.
IF YOU EVER THOUGHT OF GIVING UP ON YOUR PASSION JUST BECAUSE YOU FAILED AN EXAM OR SOMEONE CLAIMED THAT YOU AREN’T GOOD ENOUGH, THEN THINK AGAIN. VASENTA SELVANAYAGAM
SPEAKS TO JULIA DUCLOS AND FINDS OUT HOW SHE’S OVERCOME HER BATTLES AND SUCCEEDED IN RELEASING HER FIRST SINGLE AT THE AGE OF 23.
While most of us were going gaga over our favourite boy band at the age of 10, Julia’s parents levelled up and decided to get her started singing songs that were rather challenging for someone of her age, like the ones by Mariah Carey. They even sent her to vocal classes and when her brother was in a band, they used to have acoustic nights where they did real fun things together. Long story short, Julia and her entire family share the same passion for music. And as luck would have it, Sony Music Malaysia spotted Julia in 2016 and voilà, she went on to make her first official mark in the Malaysian music scene with the release of her first single, Further, this year. FEMALE: Can you tell us about your growing up years?
Julia: “I studied in local primary and secondary schools and graduated with a diploma in Psychology from SEGi University in 2016. The timing was great because I got the offer to do music while I was contemplating whether I should continue my studies or go after my passion. But I knew myself very well; if I’m engrossed in something, I’m going to be fully devoted to it and I can’t do two things at once. So right after my audition with Sony Music Malaysia, they told me that they wanted to sign me on and I agreed! We got down to the details and it actually took about six months for me to sign the papers. It was nerve-racking and I still couldn’t believe it when I walked out and they said they enjoyed my singing. I’m glad that everything kind of fell into place.”
F: What’s the process of creating music like for you?
J: “It’s pretty much a self-expression of how I feel at the moment – there are days when I’m sad and there are days when I’m happy. There are also days when I don’t know what the hell I am doing! But I just take it step by step. There’s
“We have a lot of upcoming artists that Malaysians should start paying attention to.” – julia
never a set direction of what I’m going to write about. It just sort of happens. So I go with the flow and tweak things along the way. For my single, I must say that it was completely different from the first draft that I wrote – in terms of genre and lyrics. Music never ends up turning out the way you expect it to. Three years from now, probably when I listen to my single, I might want to change it again. I’m a perfectionist and I feel that if I had it my way, I’ll still be tweaking my single. But thank God I’ve got Charlie Lim, my producer whom I work with in Singapore. He’s also a perfectionist who has taught me how to tweak things and be happy with them so that we can come up with something good.”
F: What are your thoughts about the music scene in Malaysia?
J: “We have a lot of upcoming artists that Malaysians should start paying attention to. It all starts at home. We definitely need local support and it’s important for us to pay attention to them and recognise their hard work. We get to learn a lot from different bands and people. It isn’t a competition in this industry; instead we’re working together to bring the industry up. I really hope that more and more people have this type of mentality because at the end of the day, you should only be in competition with yourself.”
F: What has been your biggest challenge to make yourself known to people out there?
J: “It has to be finding a sound that’s unique to me. It involves a lot of long nights and studio sessions. As a singer, we are all supposed to have our signature sound because typically, we all need to have that one thing that differentiates us from the rest – be it in the way we sing, by the way we dress or even how we express ourselves. At the moment, I still haven’t found my signature style as it’s always changing, but that’s the beauty of art. However, I do know that I’m a pretty laid-back person who can be quite grungy or bubbly at times!”
F: What are some of your proudest moments so far, and in three years’ time, where do you see yourself? J: “The recent one was at the Ram Jam Festival in Malaysia which was quite big. I actually performed using just a keyboard and an electronic touchpad, which was different from my usual set-up of just a guitar. I hope that next year I’ll get a chance to perform at the Good Vibes Festival. In three years’ time, I see myself having a successful music career and hopefully, exploring more art fields. I love photography and film but my main focus is music. Once I’ve established myself, I’ll definitely incorporate these fields and try to hit the international mark. After all, you have to dream at the right time and not think too far ahead.”
JULIA PERFORMED AS THE OPENING ACT AT JAKE BUGG’S SOLO ACOUSTIC TOUR
JULIA AND HER MUM