A Chat With Juliyaa

posted by on 31/03/2013

Last year Juliyaa dropped her debut EP ‘Stars & Dragons’ and on bank holiday Monday (1st April 2013) she’s headlining a live showcase for the project at Richmix where she’ll be joined by special guests: Wilson, Nick Brewer, Dionne Reid and DJ Ace of BBC 1xtra! Today I rock up at the rehearsal studios where she’s rehearsing with a full live band, backing vocalists and a couple violinists to boot! We discuss her debut EP and her upcoming live show as well as her upbringing in a half Welsh and half Ghanaian household.

Juliyaa introduces herself 

So for those of you who don’t know much about Juliyaa, she’s an emerging artist from North London. Her music is a fusion of many different genres mainly Soul and R&B which she’s named ‘Rhythmic Soul‘- she’s half Ghanaian and half Welsh. Listen below as she introduces herself to the dictaphone iPhone.

Disclaimer- Don’t mind our un-seriousness during this interview. Safe

Juliyaa talks about her Stars & Dragons EP

I get straight down to business and ask Juliyaa to talk about the concept for the EP.

In a nutshell:

“It’s an introduction to me as an artist; it’s my statement to the world in a sense. In a literal sense it represents the black star from the Ghanaian flag and the Dragon from the Welsh flag, my two cultures. There are also parallels to stars being your hopes for the future and dragons being the fierce things you will fight against, things that will try and hold you back”

Juliyaa talks about her heritage and how it’s influenced her

Ok so have you ever met someone who is half Ghanaian and half Welsh? (aside from Juliyaa…that’s cheating). I hadn’t! What a rare mix. I was quite interested to know how she embraced both her cultures growing up because being Ghanaian myself, I can say there is a lot to take in, let alone having to learn another one!

I also asked which side of her heritage she connects with most

“I think naturally I’ve grown up with a stronger sense of the African part of me mainly because my Dad passed away when I was quite young, had I had more years with him I think I probably would have had more of a balance. But even though he isn’t here as I got older I could see more of him in me like certain traits and mannerisms that even others see in me. So I think maybe now there is a bit more of a balance now but for a while I did feel more connected to my African roots. Also I did spend quite a bit of time out in Ghana, absolutely love that place! Music wise I’m generally more balanced, I don’t think I veer more toward one or the other so hopefully that comes across”

Juliyaa spent time in Ghana

When Juliyaa mentioned that she spent a lot of time in Ghana we ended up going off on a tangent! But the work she did out there is pretty amazing, listen and read below….

She talks more about her work in the Eastern region of Ghana

“In 2008 I went as a part of a programme called ‘Platform 2′ to the eastern region of Ghana.  Out there I was living and working on a nature reserve called Afadjato.  We helped in the community by doing a lot of manual labour around the nature reserve to make pathways that would enhance tourism in the local area.  We also taught lessons in local secondary schools on sustainability.  It was a life changing experience, especially spending time with the kids who were care-free and always smiling.  I also spent time with the elders drinking palm wine…but not to much!”

Juliyaa talks Stars & Dragons Live show @ Richmix

Ok so it was time to bring the conversation back to where it started. Stars & Dragons and the live show. Here she talks about her reasons for putting together a live show for the EP and what to expect on the night.

“To be honest, it’s really nice when people discover your music. But when you do it live however, it takes it to a whole new level and people understand something about you that maybe they didn’t really get from the record. I just really wanted to show people this live, there is not a better feeling than when you can connect with your audience and take them on this journey with you- so when they go back to listen to your music, it does take it to a whole new level”


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