I came across the impressively talented vocalist Jennifer Juliette on Instagram. Upon viewing her very impressive interpretations of popular songs – I hesitate to use the word “covers” because she truly makes these songs her own – I was mesmerized by the beautiful tone and impeccable technique of her singing voice.
Jennifer has recently released her own music – Little Voice, which was released in May 2021 and Anchor, which was released in June 2021.
Her cinematic style of classical pop music takes the listener on an emotional journey – you don’t listen to a Jennifer Juliette song; you slip into it like a warm cozy bath. The outside world may be in a bad place right now, but slip into Little Voice or Anchor with your favourite streaming service and everything will be right in your inner world for about 3 minutes and 45 seconds.
I reached out to Jennifer to request an interview about her musical background, her songs and her plans for the future and she graciously agreed.
About Jennifer Juliette
Where are you from and how did you get into music?
I’m from Caerphilly in Wales. An organist at my father’s church noticed I could sing at around age 3. He took me under his wing for piano and singing lessons and it was just the beginning.
In addition to being a vocalist, you’re also an accomplished multi-instrumentalist.
Thanks! I play six instruments proficiently. I spent time as a concert pianist, played violin and cello in several orchestras. I can also play the flute, double bass, viola and guitar, but only reasonably well (so I don’t count it!).
Who are your favourite musical artists, both past and present?
My favourite of all time is Alexis Ffrench. His melodies send me to another planet. Kelly Clarkson is the only person I’ve ever seen live who just had me glued to her. Céline Dion has this power to her every note, both quiet and loud, that never ceases to astonish me.
Are there any relatively unknown (i.e., indie) musical artists that you’re a fan of?
I actually run a choir in Berlin which at the moment has been reduced to only eight members due to Covid. These ladies each have an individual shine and style to their voices that makes a perfect blend. And I adore and listen to each one of them every day.
How many years did it take you to develop your singing voice before you became a professional opera singer?
To develop an opera style? This took twenty years of daily training and can always improve. It is never done. To develop my own style? Twenty-seven years. I found it at age 27!
Are there any vocal tips you can give to any aspiring singers who may be reading this interview? For example, do you have any warm-up exercises you like to use? Any techniques or exercises to expand your vocal range?
I have this “Bella Signora” arpeggio exercise that I love, with a scale that runs down. The main thing is just to really sing every day you’re well and if you feel sick, be disciplined enough to not to do so.
Of course, drinking water helps too. Many people don’t see a doctor if they have a strange sensation in their throat, and they should! Vocal chords issues are very common.
Are there any notable differences in vocal technique or your approach to singing between performing opera and pop music?
So different. A lot of my “pop” style would be frowned on in the opera world! I’ve made my peace with that. I’ve been expanding my range lately with great results in a more “poppy” style. But I’m always singing from my diaphragm.
Who are your influences as a vocalist?
Kelly Clarkson would be the biggest. Closely followed by Enya. I spent a lot of time emulating their styles and realised I have a lot more fun when I’d sing in my own style. But Kelly Clarkson has a live English version of Ava Maria that is a huge influence for me.
Both Little Voice and Anchor have a very cinematic feel to them. Are there any movie composers or film scores that have influenced your songwriting? Similarly, are there any singer songwriters who’ve musically or lyrically influenced you?
The Lord of The Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean soundtracks are just amazing. May It Be (by Enya) is my favourite classical style song of all time. Joni Mitchell is a writer with a style I really admire.
How do you go about composing your songs? Do you consciously sit down and treat writing a song like a full-time job or do your songs come from sudden inspiration (or maybe a mix of both)?
I mostly sit and compose a piano melody and it evolves with lyrics. Small Voice came to me very quickly, whereas Anchor just developed over time. My newer songs usually come from a place of observation or deep emotion.
What inspired the lyrical content of your two songs “Little Voice” and “Anchor”?
Small Voice was about a miscarriage – a horrible, traumatic event and I truly hope the stigma can be removed from this so women can have an open conversation about it and be able to reach out to others.
Anchor was like a deep dive into a fantasy world. The place where my imagination rests!
Are there any specific tips that you can give to aspiring songwriters who may be reading this interview?
I think the best advice is to remember that everyone who is singing, playing an instrument, writing, sharing their talent has got something to offer and never ever to think you’re better. You’re the same. Find that common ground and work together. Form bonds with other creatives.
You’re currently based in Berlin, Germany. What’s the music scene like in Berlin right now?
Things are reopening, which is great. There’s a lot of alternative music in Berlin. It’s a great place to be an individual with no one judging anything.
If Jennifer Juliette of the year 2021 could sit down with Jennifer Juliette of the year 2011 for tea and biscuits, what advice would she give to her younger self based on what she’s learned and experienced (both good and bad) over the past 10 years?
I would tell her to stop worrying about her weight or what’s wrong with her face and body and focus on the important things, her heart and her brain!
What are your short-term (within a year), medium-term (within 5 years) and long-term (within 10 years) professional goals?
Short term goals: Not to go insane with two babies at home! For real though, to find more time for myself and my passions while raising them well. It’s a balancing act.
Medium term: Some live shows, writing more songs, meet musicians in real life who are similarly minded.
Long term: Raise two smart young women, experience personal grow myself as a smart young woman, and one or more albums are definitely on the horizon.