A TASTE OF HEAVEN - JULY JONES - THROUGH HELL ON EARTH, WE ENTER A NEW ERA, THE FUTURE IS HERE.
Literal angel on earth, July Jones, joins us yet again for a mid-pandemic catch up, speaking new music, white privilege and the importance of using your voice in the face of injustice.
'A TASTE OF HEAVEN'
PHOTOGRAPHY BY INA MOANA
CREATIVE DIRECTION & STYLING LAURIE TB
MAKE UP BY MARGHERITA LASCALA
HAIR BY DANIELLA ADELE
PRODUCED BY CHARLIE LONG
WEARING HOUSE OF COMPULSION AND INSATIABLE LUST
We last spoke to the upcoming music star when she graced our last print cover for ‘The Future is Us’ issue, along with Munroe Bergdorf and Josh Harrison. We wanted to reconnect and explore the new world, looking at the evolution of human creativity, even during the most restrictive time in human history.
July began her career at age 14, signing her first record deal in Germany. Like many Gen-Z starlets, Jones turned down a scholarship into a music school in Boston and chose to create a career for herself, utilising the internet and the power of platforms such as YouTube. Despite being an independent diva, Jones has earned quite a name for herself within the music scene, working with the likes of Girly, Sigala and K-pop legends BTS. Having not released since her 2016 hit single, ‘Switch It Off’, we’ve been waiting all year for some new July Jones material and it would seem the singer is about to give us ‘a taste of heaven’ sooner than we think.
Now it feels like a lifetime ago, but we last saw each other on the set of our last physical edition where you covered our ‘The Future Is Us’ issue before COVID-19 hit, how has lockdown been for you and how have you coped both creatively and mentally?
I know it’s crazy! You know, the last year has been really hard, but it taught me that I am enough, without my career, as grateful as I am for it. It was an important time to focus on myself without all the makeup, the music and everything else going on around me.
Our cover shoot is entitled, ‘A Taste of Heaven’, to remind us all that we need to be finding what makes us feel happy during this ‘hellish’ time. What has been you little ‘taste of heaven’ throughout this time?
I spent most of my time around nature. I’m really grateful to be from Slovenia, it’s so beautiful, so my little taste of heaven was definitely my little alien self with no makeup and clothes in the mountains and the ocean.
During lockdown the incredible Black Lives Matter movement took off and you have been amazing at using your platform to raise awareness, spread information and keep people updated on what has been happening. What does the word ‘Ally’ mean to you and in your own words, why is it so important for white people to recognize their white privilege?
Thank you so much. I think 2020 brought a lot of truth to the surface. The BLM movement was long overdue and an example of the much-needed truths that came to light. As a white queer woman, I had to recognise how much privilege I hold and learn how to bring up issues within my platform, take responsibility and create change. An ally to me means to be actively aware of the issues in our society, listen to what others have experienced, start uncomfortable conversations with my friends and family, donate, and stay educated. I have seen racism happen all my life in different forms, so I think that the BLM movement is going to create a domino effect and empower people to speak up on inequalities that happen in all parts of the world.
"As a white queer woman, I had to recognise how much privilege I hold and learn how to bring up issues within my platform, take responsibility and create change"
Right, it’s making sure we are all aware of racism and making sure we are actively being anti-racist and educating each other as much as we can! As an outspoken artist and activist who is always sharing important information and engaging in essential conversations, who are some of the people you look to for inspiration that you’d recommend to your followers on social media?
There are so many incredible voices out there but my top 5 would be: Rachel Elisabeth Cargle (@rachel.cargle), who started a LoveLand Foundation that empowers young women of colour. Munroe Bergdorf (@munroe.bergdorf), who is an incredible black trans activist, she is known to start uncomfortable conversations, she is one of the smartest human beings and I’m so grateful for her existence. @SoYouWantToTalkAbout, a platform that brings up everything society wants to conceal. @Them, one of the safest spaces for young queer people to educate both themselves and others. Finally, of course, @MermaidsGender, a trans charity I’ve been working with, raising funds for trans and gender variant children. There’s so many more but if you go follow these 5, you’re one step forward in the right direction towards positive change.
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Of course, it was on set of our last shoot we confirmed the BTS album cut which you wrote on, what was that experience like for you and is writing for other artists something you want to explore even further?
Oh yes, BTS was definitely an amazing experience, being a part of such a global phenomenon and writing for the boys has been a privilege. I consider myself a songwriter first, so I actually have a lot of exciting cuts coming out. Next is my friend Girli’s album, we both co-wrote a lot of material, so definitely keep an eye out for that! I also did a cut with Zolita, so it's just really cool to explore song-writing and make music with so many incredible people
New Girli and July material on one album? Sign. Me. Up. You were going to go on tour this year with GirlI and of course Cassyette, you also spend a lot of time creating with them, how important is it for you to have other strong female creatives around you?
Unfortunately, the tour is probably going to be postponed due to COVID-19 which is so heart-breaking for me. It is vital for me to have incredible women around me. Girli and I are practically one person at this point. We have been friends for a really long time and our working relationship is incredible, we’ve created so much magic together. It’s so amazing to have women that genuinely empower others and are going through the same struggles as I am as a young female artist. It is so important for female artists to have other female artists in their circles because they share similar experiences and help you feel less alone in this industry.
A lot of people have been creating music throughout lockdown and working on various projects, is there anything you can get us excited for?
Yes, my project is all done and ready! I AM SO EXCITED TO FINALLY HAVE MY MUSIC OUT! I have my first single coming at the end of this year and after that there’s an album in the oven and I can’t wait for people to hear it. It’s been a long time since people have heard new material from me so the prospect of finally launching new music again is just the best.
I am so excited to hear what you’ve been cooking, I think I’ve broken the replay button on ‘Liar Liar’ at this point. You spent a lot of time in L.A for your last musical ventures, has it been difficult being away from a place that is usually one of your greatest sources of inspiration? Have you found a new place that makes you feel equally as inspired?
I absolutely love L.A and it’s been really hard being away as my main production team is based there, but of course we’re lucky to be in the era of the internet, so we have been working over Zoom most of the time. It has been challenging but we’re making it work and I am so grateful to be able to continue working during this really crazy time.
I saw you did a lot of live performances out in nature, is live performing something that’s been really difficult to not have during this time?
I spent a lot of time around nature out in Slovenia so once I came back to London I actually walked through Camden Town crying because it’s just been so long since my last performance! It is such a big part of me and performing means the absolute world. I seriously can’t wait to get back on a stage when it is safe to do so. All we can do now is make sure we support the venues and donate to organisations such as @MusicVenueTrust who support musical venues, making sure they don’t go bankrupt!
What are your plans coming out of lockdown now everything is slowly beginning to feel like the ‘new normal’? Are you hoping to tour as soon as possible or are you focusing on studio projects?
I am just signing a record deal, which is such a huge and exciting moment for me, so I will have a chunk of music coming out and then head on tour. Right now, things are a bit up in the air but let’s see what the future holds. I take every day as it comes and just try my hardest to enjoy the ride.
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