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A Dirty Dozen with JULIANA RICCARDI – September 2021

| 9 September 2021 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Singer-songwriter Juliana Riccardi has announced her sophomore EP, Full Cup, due out October 8th.  Today Juliana releases the introspective title track which was recorded live and highlights her soulful powerhouse vocals over a blend of trumpets, scuzzy  guitar, and soft drums as she answers the age-old question of do you view life as a glass full or empty? Mixed by nine-time GRAMMY Award-Winner Darrell Thorpe (Beck, Radiohead, Switchfoot, Jenny Lewis, Metric), the track details moments of clarity as she views her relationship with herself through cups of coffee, water, and whiskey.” We get Juliana to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release, “Full Cup.” What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

“Full Cup” is about embracing the day, your potential; loving yourself unapologetically, and finding romance in that and everything around you. I wanted to celebrate the flavors of myself and in each of us — with each verse’s cup of coffee, water, and whiskey. The richness, pureness, and boldness. Every time I sing this song I am grounded, honest, playful and sexy – and that’s exactly how I hope the listener feels when they hear it. At a first listen, you might assume the second half of “Full Cup” is all about a romantic relationship – and it definitely was inspired by the one I am in now – but as the song was completed, played through and ultimately recorded, it took on a deeper meaning. It’s an ode to the different flavors of yourself. That glass of whiskey represents strength and confidence in all of us. And whether you’re waking up to your partner or yourself, you are whole, you are full, you are loved.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

There’s a photo of me as a toddler, with a “My First Sony” cassette player, holding the plastic mic in a diaper and singing on my sisters bed. Probably started there! As early as I can remember, my mother would blast music on the stereo – all great voices – including soul and pop divas from Aretha to Celine – and my dad would play doowop and Louis Prima. My grandparents only listened to Sinatra. From a very young age, I was singing, memorizing lyrics, making mix tapes and writing poetry. It wasn’t until I got my first keyboard in high school and began voice lessons, that I started messing around with songwriting and ultimately began identifying as a growing artist once I graduated.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I’ve always been a fan of the voice and of the song and not too much into one artist and everything they created. Stevie Nicks resonated with me very early on, and Patsy Cline’s voice, Brandi Carlile writing, and I am hugely forever in love with the 1968 Astral Weeks album by Van Morrison. Most of the soul and classic rock bands of the 60s and 70s have been a big influence on me.

4. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

I love getting outside, jogging, exercising, getting my heart rate up and being under the sun. I love cooking plant-based and riding my 73′ Suzuki motorcycle around town, grabbing coffee and stopping at the beach. Unwinding to me is being at home with my animals, snuggling, either watching a great movie or listening to some classic jazz, like Miles Davis and Chet Baker – and having a delicious meal and conversation with my boyfriend.

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I’d say I’m a blend of soul, Americana, and singer-songwriter styles. There’s a lot of crossover in there incorporating folk, blues, and rock. I’ve never had a strong disagreement with how people compare me. I’ve gotten Norah Jones a lot in terms of voice, and Sheryl Crow in terms of style, and I will take it!

6. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I’m really lucky to have both an east coast and west coast solid band of great people. Most of us have friendships aside from the band relation and they’re all so unique. Laughing is key. Sometimes given the distance and circumstances lately, laughing is all we have between shows and recording! Nick, who played on the record back in NY, always makes us laugh, and has the most hysterical versions of band memories to tell. Will, who also played and helped produce the record, always pulls out the character voices and we’ll have full conversations like that, talking like cartoons. We used to play tons of private parties together for a decade or more, so there’s a ton of shenanigans between all of us.

7. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I’ve been in LA six years and maybe have seen a couple of “stars.” I work in animal rescue, with Animal Wellness Foundation, and spend a lot of time managing rescue, adoptions and our volunteer network. I was linked with actress Kaitlin Olson (Always Sunny In Philadelphia, HBO Hacks) by a beloved volunteer because she wanted to begin fostering and getting more involved with rescue work. I’m a huge fan of everyone on the show so I was secretly very giddy when I met her and Rob, her husband, for the first time. We had to wrangle (gently) a skittish rescue kitty into his carrier together and that was quite unforgettable. They’re so cool and down to earth – and funny. And we’ve been working together since getting cats and kittens into forever homes.

8. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

I’d certainly continue rescuing animals because my heart bleeds for them! HUGE animal lover and plant-based proponent. I’ve always wanted to open up a gorgeous coffee shop with house-made infused plant-based milks. As a musician, the road is actually tough! I’d say the best part of being a musician is when  you’re at home writing and playing for the simple joy you get from naturally creating with no expectation. When the voice and words are flowing, that’s best. You feel the vibration in your soul. The other best part is at a show, when the energy is palpable and everyone is inside the music and feeling all the feelings. Connection. Release. THE BEST. Knowing you’ve touched people, that a song you wrote is part of their life soundtrack, is truly gratifying.

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Gosh. Hmm. Everyone has regrets though it’s not really productive to dwell and ask “what if” – but I’ve had my share, for sure. I’ve learned to let that go and hone in on this moment. I used to wish I had started taking music seriously earlier, with more resources, when comparing myself to other young artists who were getting noticed and had their stuff together. I’d wish I had a better natural grasp and understanding of music and the business’ complexities at a younger age so I’d have spent more of my life as “successful.” But that’s like asking a child to not be a child, and instead skip to being a wise seasoned adult. It doesn’t make sense. It’s also extremely overwhelming getting into music at any stage, and trying to be something – reach for something or someone before you can be. I never wanted to be told how to write and present myself. There’s always people around you giving advice, influencing you, and you’re trying to be heard and ultimately loved by people, but you’re also trying to figure out who you are in the first place. I remember my mind was ahead of my abilities for a while. You’re literally learning as you go. It’s a constant, forever trial and error. There’s no ‘one route’ to take. And now, I appreciate my slower journey. I think my independence played a part in that. I kept a lot of my musical and creative journey pretty quiet for the most part up until recently and experienced it intimately, taking space in between projects and honestly asking myself what felt good and what didn’t before making the next move. Being an artist is such a vulnerable thing to do. To get up in front of people, put your music and words out into the world, and say here you go: this is my mind and my soul and it comes out of my body. I hope you dig it.

10. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Great question. I have a few answers. I’d want to go back before digital recording. I would have LOVED to sit next to Aretha Franklin during her vocal take of “Never Loved A Man,” and take in all her glory. Fleetwood Mac, Rumors. Oh god, to be a fly on the wall! Ella Fitzgerald… another angel. Probably one of the first songs I ever heard from her was “Learnin’ The Blues” and “Summertime” with Louis Armstrong. I could go on. Anything from The Stones. Stevie Wonder. Of course, Astral Weeks, Van Morrison. All of these artists had incredible expression and energy and I admire and was personally awakened by.

11. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I’d love to write and record with Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt and Stevie Nicks and do something really raw in terms of message and recording. Sheryl on rhythm guitar, Bonnie will play lead, we’ll all sing and harmonize something vulnerable and bold. That would be epic. Such powerful voices, performers and singers all together would be a dream. There is something in all of them I am drawn to – and each gives me lasting inspiration. They’re also badass women who don’t hold back.

12. “Full Cup” is the title track to your forthcoming EP. How does this song embody the sound that fans can hear on the EP? What song are you most excited for fans to hear and why?

“Full Cup” introduces a deeper warmth and richness that exists on this new body of work. And the single’s message of embracing all sides of yourself and each day echoes back deeper against the 7-song EP which takes the listener through a blend of different sounds and emotions. We really didn’t hold back on how we approached producing the tunes at the studio, so the listener will hear a lot of genre crossing – songwriter-folk, rock, soul, Americana. It all makes sense, because all of those sounds are related and are parts of me as an artist – and I’m proud to embrace that. You’ll hear parts of my voice and attitude you didn’t get on my 2020 EP, Simple. On Full Cup, we uplifted acoustic-based tunes and introduced a bigger sound with a full band– which I just love and will continue to represent in live shows. I love all the tunes, but I’m excited for the next single “Hold For Your Woman” and it’s boldness and also a more vulnerable song titled “Mad.” Don’t want to give more away! Stay tuned!





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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