Julia Cannon is one of a kind. Energetic. Witty. Sparkly. Bold. Creative. Unapologetically and fully herself. Her energy is captivating, outfits intriguing – she sometimes shows up in a full ball gown on stage – and her music is catchy and relatable. With a magnetic presence and unapologetic authenticity, Julia brings a fresh and vibrant energy to the music scene. In addition to being a songwriter, instrumentalist, vocalist, and performer, she also produces and mixes her music.
Julia has played many Queerfest showcases and was part of Queerfest 2023, taking the stage at The Basement East. In this interview we talk about her dedication and the hard work required to pursue her career in music, her experience as an LGBTQ+ artist, and her pursuits as both an artist and producer.
What’s your ideal vision for your future?
Julia Cannon: It would include a lot more peace and a lot more freedom. I’ve been working since I was 12, sometimes two jobs trying to get to college or help my mom with her alterations shop or pay off my private student loans. I just want to be able to fully invest more time and more of the money that I make into my craft.
What is your greatest fear?
Not reaching my full potential and never being able to invest fully in myself.
What is your current state of mind?
I’ve been in the grind mindset my entire adulthood. I’m 30 now, and I’m finally starting to be able to do some of the things that I want to do. I just finished my first little tour and had a blast. I’m transitioning as I pay off my private loans in the next year or so.
What would a “perfect day” look like for you?
I’d sleep in until 10 a.m., go and have some tea with my cat, and then start playing guitar. Hopefully I’d end up making music somehow, and then a shitty rom-com and I fall asleep on the couch. Can you tell I’m an introvert?
Why do you create music? What’s more satisfying to you, the process or the outcome?
It’s the first way that I learned how to process and communicate my feelings and thoughts. And it’s still the best way to root around in there. And then I get to share it and that’s magical.
Do you create music primarily for yourself or for others?
It’s selfish. And I’m not even motivated by external validation, which is hell. But it’s also freeing. But sometimes my inner critic is a dick.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Recently I was freaking out about god-knows-what and my Uncle Vic said, “Just go where the joy is,” and I was like… damn, it is that simple.
Who are your favorite LGBTQ+ artists and bands?
For anyone reading this who might not be out of the closet, were there any specific people, musicians, or resources that helped you find yourself as a queer individual?
Find your people and go where the joy is. And also therapy.
What does it mean to you to be an LGBTQ+ musician?
Queerness in general just means freedom from following the norm. Life outside of the box. I think that translates to the art that we make as well.
What are your release and touring plans for the next year?
I have no idea. While I’m still working full time to pay off my loans, I’m taking it day by day. I’d love to release some EPs and keep playing in new cities. I had so much fun on tour.
Your album, How Many, came out this year. What was the process like for you to write, record, and release this collection of songs?
It was really fun and fulfilling. I want to keep growing as a producer and a mix engineer and I feel like I did that with this album. I got to see where I need to continue growing and have new goals for future projects. I crowdfunded How Many, so I was able to hire and work with a lot of people that elevated the project as well. It made me so happy.
You’ve collaborated with other LGBTQ+ artists like Purser. What is it like for you to work with other artists in the community?
My inner child is so stoked about it. I grew up in such a small town in Alaska. Being able to collaborate with inspiring artists who are also queer is incredibly healing.
What has your experience been as a queer woman of color in Nashville?
Mixed bag honestly lol. I feel tokenized sometimes and sometimes I’m happy to be representation for younger generations. I think, in general, things are trending upward. I feel safe and supported.
Photo courtesy of Julia Cannon