We’ve been keeping an eye on New York-based artist Julia Wolf for the last few months, who’s been quietly and determinedly making her rise in the indie pop scene online: releasing a slew of singles as early as 2019 and even getting her recent single “RBF: Part 1” picked up by Spotify’s new Fresh Finds Program: a collaboration between the DSP and independent artists. According to this article, the program “focuses on giving developing artists the tools and educational resources needed for long-term career success.” It builds on the existing playlist that launched in 2016.
Wolf, who is from a primarily Italian family, incorporates the language into her music (more on that inspiration below), and her unique and raspy voice has an impressively effortless ability to weave in and out of hip-hop rhythms and indie pop melodies. Though many musicians have the ability to write autobiographically, Wolf’s lyricism feels even more unfiltered and raw, almost like she is just singing off the pages of a diary entry, as though she’s executing it in one take.
Yesterday, Julia dropped her newest single “RBF: Part 2” – and you guessed it, it’s the concluding song to Part 1, which dropped a few weeks ago. As someone who has been called out in public places (almost always by men), for having a “resting bitch face,” I identified greatly with the sentiment behind these two songs. There’s a very fine line that women have to walk in contemporary society: we’re constantly told to protect ourselves, be vigilant, alert, and to never let our drinks out of our sight! But we’re also “supposed” to be approachable, willing to engage with anyone who talks to us, and to never come off as “a bitch.” In these two songs, Julia takes back the narrative and makes it an empowering one for herself: a message that I find to be an important one to promote.
Check out our Q&A with Julia about her career thus far and further inspiration on her music:
Staged Haze: You started your career off by posting snippets of music on your social media pages in 2019. Were you always looking to get “discovered” or was this something you did more as a hobby?
Julia: When it came to music, I never had a plan B. The thought of an alternative lifestyle or career would send me into these depressions for years. So when I first started posting those freestyles, that was the first time I started working with Jackson and heard the music I had in my head for so long finally come to life. It was always more than a hobby for me.
Staged Haze: You’ve released quite a handful of singles that have all performed well before your recent track “RBF: Part 1” was dropped in collaboration with Spotify’s new “Fresh Finds” program. Have there been differences in the way that this song picked up traction compared to your previous drops?
Julia: I think I’ve been seeing more engagement with this latest drop. It feels like people who are finding the song are also pressing the follow button across different social media platforms. The program also gave really great insight on using the Spotify for artist tool and ways to interact with fans via things like Spotify Canvas.
Staged Haze: What is the inspiration behind incorporating Italian in your music?
Julia: Coming from such an Italian family is a huge part of who I am and the life I live. My father was born and raised there and about two years ago we sold our Long Island house to move back to Italy in his hometown. Who knows what life would have been if I had left! So one reason why I try to incorporate Italian into the lyrics is because of that whole experience and choosing to stay in America. It’s like my little way of paying homage.
Staged Haze: Can you briefly explain to our readers the origin story behind “RBF: Part 1” and the relationship between that track and your new single “RBF: Part 2”?
Julia: “RBF: Part 1” is about the pros of having a “resting bitch face”. All my life I’ve been told I have one, and while I used to think it was a negative thing, I’ve learned over the years how being too nice can translate to people taking advantage of you and, growing up especially, I was overly accepting of that behavior. So I wanted to highlight the empowering side that exists within the term.
“RBF: Part 2” explains parts of myself not everyone understands off the bat. People like to blame a “Resting Bitch Face” for the reasons why it’s so hard to approach me or why I’m not the best at making new friends, but I’m not going to apologize for the ways people perceive what is actually just shyness. So many girls can relate to being shy and being told they look standoffish, or are hard to talk to, but we shouldn’t have to change ourselves for the sake of pleasing someone else’s ego!
The song is meant to tell my side of the story, and show that being shy isn’t a negative thing whatsoever.
Staged Haze: You collaborated with Jackson Foote (1/2 of musical project Loote) on this project: what was that like?
Julia: Jackson is an absolute genius producer and songwriter. He’s the first person I’ve ever collaborated with who fully understood my sound and the ideas I want to bring to life—sometimes without me even having to explain in depth. It’s been a breath of fresh air: he’s managed to pull from the hip-hop influences I love so much and meld it with my voice which is more on the indie side. Unlike countless other folks, he’s never called me nit-picky once!
Staged Haze: What inspires your music?
Julia: No experience past or present gets ruled out when I’m writing. I love to write on past experiences, as those are the things that shaped me into who I am today. But present situations fire me up as well! All I know is that my writing is based on real life events; as long as there are truths to share, then there are songs to write.
Staged Haze: Anything else you’d like to add?
Julia: I think the most important message I want to share is that being shy doesn’t mean you can’t take ownership of your life and the decisions you want to make. It’s always been looked down upon if you’re the type to keep your head down or freeze up when put on the spot, but I want my music to be a boost of encouragement to continue being yourself and see that being shy just makes you a more self-sufficient person!
Link to Julia’s socials below: