If you’re anything like me, you’re not too fond of what’s currently hitting the Top 40. The artists I like generally have a following but they aren’t known for their consistent Top 40 hits. So you can probably deduce that I’m not the biggest fan of Katy Perry, Rihanna, or Drake, for example. I respect them as artists but I don’t find anything that they do particularly fascinating or remarkable. Music today is about ambience, whether it’s peaceful background music or, the complete opposite, club music. So songs like “Turn Down For What” and “Talk Dirty” are more celebrated and downloaded than songs by talented songwriters, which leaves us at a sad point in music history. This is why I want to bring attention to this next French artist, Juliette Jules. With a sound like Stevie Nicks, Lana Del Rey, and Norah Jones, at just 16 she has more soul and depth in her voice than most musicians twice her age.
While learning classical styles is usually reserved for college courses in modern-day America, Juliette Jules has already been taking lessons for classical piano and opera for years, alongside of being a painter and an avid reader of literary greats. She even bought her first guitar by selling one of her paintings. But to balance out her intellectuality, she also went to concerts like a normal teenager, except they were concerts by artists prevalent in the 60s and 70s, such as Patti Smith, and her plus one was always her mother. While today’s youth is more worried about seeing artists like Justin Bieber and looking good on Instagram, she is a classic case of an old soul.
Juliette Jules released her first EP, Black Crow, for her 16th birthday in May of this year and it is one of the most strong and pleasant EPs I’ve heard in a long time. Unlike a lot of current tunes, all of the verses and choruses have a definite structure and a likeable melody, a necessity a lot of artists don’t seem to incorporate in many of their songs anymore. Her strongest track is “Johnny Was”, a lovely folk tune with some jazz influence, a seemingly faster version of “Come Away with Me” by Norah Jones. But I would also strongly recommend “Black Crow”, as it has a similar ambience to that of “I’m With You” by Avril Lavigne. Her cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is sweet but she lacks the resonance in the higher register to hit the most poignant parts of the tune, but it’s otherwise lovely.
The music of Juliette Jules is a gentle throwback to the times when music was about love and freedom and less about digital sales and viral hits. This girl has real talent and she deserves a true listen, just not to be a part of your multitasking efforts.
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