I aspire to be a strong role model says Unsigned 2022’s Juliet

Unsigned

It’s time to look at the next of our Unsigned stars, Juliet. Originally from south east London, she moved to the north Norfolk coast when she was 10.

Now 18, she’s currently in her last year of her Level Three Vocal Artist course at Access Creative College in Norwich.

Q: Tell me more about your music

A: I mostly go under the umbrella of RnB but love to bring elements of rap/spoken word, hip hop, soul and pop. My main influences at the moment are Mae Muller, Olivia Dean, Jorja Smith and Little Simz.

They are such powerful women and write such empowering songs. They inspire the younger generation with their strong feminist lyrics.

They speak up about mental health, their roots and backgrounds and their bad ass dress aesthetic. They show there are no limits or boundaries to who you can be. I aspire to be as strong a role model as I grow.

Q: Tell me more about your song-writing process

A: Songwriting is something I feel I have struggled with. I’ve really only started to find a way that worked for me in the last year. 

I remember when I was younger, my dad always used to say to me “make sure you take your notebook out with you and write ideas down” or ‘how’s the songwriting going’.

I never took that notebook out and I found it difficult to enjoy the process and to connect with it. I slowly started to write small ideas on my notes on my phone.

These included long arguments or rants I had sent to people along with their responses, to try to capture my emotions and to use them as inspiration for lyrics at a later date.

Later, I began to record voice notes of melodies, a certain hook idea or an example of the tempo. Most times I wouldn’t listen back to them for a few months before I turned them into something. 

But I knew they were there for when I was ready. Over time, without realizing, I was growing my lyric library.

I wrote my first proper song in December 2019. This was after talking to Millie who was my tutor at the time. She said if you’re feeling creatively blocked try to write to a free instrumental online.

I had never tried writing this way but soon found this song coming together. Before I knew it , my first song Greenlight was written.

From then on it was an upwards journey of finding ways to get my thoughts onto paper. A few ways I always turn to now are brain dumping / stream of consciousness. 

This is where you spend as much time as you want to (I normally do five-15 minutes) where you just write. You let your thoughts flow.

One minute I might talk about what I had for breakfast and the next I’m complaining that I missed my bus. This really helped me to come out of my box because I was allowing any ideas onto the page.

I have realised nothing I write is “stupid” and freewriting allows me to look back at them and extract parts to make a song. You get a clear image of what your mind is really saying.

I take my songbook everywhere now (thanks dad!) and any ideas I just write them down to use later.

These techniques have helped me to start letting go of being a perfectionist, and to see that no lyric is bad, but all are worthy of development.

Now when songwriting I either write to a beat I’ve made myself or I explain my idea including tempo, key, preferred instruments to a producer and I sit with them as we bring my idea from a voice note or page to life.

Q: Where does passion for music come from

A: Music has always been a massive part of my family, even though none of them are in the industry. 

Every style of music was always around me growing up, so I have grown to have an eclectic taste in styles and I appreciate most music.

When I was five I watched Dolly Parton‘s live show at the O2 on catch-up BBC iPlayer. That’s when I knew for sure that is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

She was, and is, one of my main inspirations. As my passion for music grew, I started to base my life and education around music and the industry to work towards achieving my calling.

Watching The Brits yearly was something I never missed and made my motivation grow. When I was old enough, I started going to gigs. 

Watching the artists that inspire me are some of the best memories I have.

One of them being Jess Glynne at Thetford Forest with my dad and a close friend. I was front and centre with 10,000 people behind me. 

I cried because I was in awe of her whole performance and craft. It was another key moment where I knew that was what I wanted to be.

Q: How old were you when you first started performing

A: From the age of five or six I performed at a biweekly vigil that my parents took me to when living in London. 

These experiences gave me confidence to perform at an early age and has helped me have confidence to develop myself as a singer and songwriter today.

Unsigned

When I moved to Norfolk I joined Sheringham Little Theatre from 2014-2018. I was a cast member of their professional pantomimes for four years, as well as youth shows in between.

This was my first experience performing in front of a paying audience doing two shows a day, every other day.

Since I started with Access, I have had the opportunity to perform at LatitudeWild PathsHead Out Not HomeWild Crafts and several other events around Norfolk.

Q: How does performing make you feel

A: It’s indescribable. It’s unreal and I can’t get enough of it. I usually feel almost unwell before performing. 

My heart is beating incredibly fast, my hands are clammy and I can usually be found racing through my set one more time before I head out onto the stage.

When I step out, I feel my body go cold with excitement and I suddenly feel filled with adrenaline. Any feeling of nausea is gone and I feel so happy and at home.

Words will never do it justice. Nothing else gives me the same feeling as performing to a crowd.

Q: Why did you sign up to Unsigned

A: I heard about this opportunity through Millie while she was my tutor at Access.

I decided to take part because I already knew who I was and had a good sense of my image and style of music.

But I needed direction to help me make my music “brandable” and to further develop my performance and writing skills.

Q: What part of the programme were you looking forward to the most

A: I’m very excited for the showcase at The Waterfront later this year alongside the three other artists. 

I’m also looking forward to the recording opportunity at a professional studio. I will be recording some of my Manifester and Greenlight.

Q: What’s after Unsigned

A: I am working towards my debut single and EP releases this year. 

In September I am continuing on at Access Creative College, studying Level Four Artist Development where I will continue to develop my brand. I am looking forward to gigging and festivals in summer.

Find out more about Juiliet‘s music on Instagram.

Gabby Meadows is our Participation Programme Manager who looks after our musical programmes.

She said: “Our four performers have been working on their material, performance style and branding since they joined Unsigned in the autumn. They’re now gearing up to head into the recording studio to record their first single before Easter.

“They have already given us a taste of what’s to come in a café gig at the end of last term and it was so exciting to hear them live at that point. 

“All of this hard work is building towards a final showcase gig at The Waterfront in July.

“We have four really distinctive artists on board this year – each producing really fresh and exciting music.

“They are being mentored on all elements of the music industry by Millie Manders, fresh from her UK tour with her band Millie Manders and the Shut Up. 

“Jasper Milton is an experienced songwriter and producer and a member of the band White Rose Movement.”  

She’s grateful to Youth Music for supporting our music provision. Projects like Unsigned wouldn’t be possible without their funding and endorsement.

Gabby added: “Taking these artists on a journey from building up their skills and confidence, through to giving them the platform to really shine as musicians and performers is something we are extremely proud of. We can’t wait to see what the next few months has in store for Unsigned.”

Millie is also looking forward to watching our new cohort grow and develop at The Garage, with all the resources once again available.

She said: “While working remotely with our unsigned artists throughout Covid was largely successful, it was very challenging. 

“Being back in the room is exciting, enabling us to better get to know our artists and their music and delivering high quality sessions on performance, songwriting and music business.”

New mentor Jasper added: “I’m very excited to be working with these multi-talented songwriters on the Unsigned programme. All have varying strengths and areas to further develop throughout the year.

“Stagecraft, arrangement, sound production and hook lines are just some of the topics we will be covering while developing their live and recorded performance techniques.

“We’ll also be helping them to develop their branding and logos which they will be utilizing as they develop their online presence.”

We are now accepting applications for September. 

If you wish to considered for selection, please send links to your music, any performance footage, a bit about yourself and why you’d like to take part to [email protected]

Our summer term of classes starts on 25 April. 

Click here to check them out. Our friendly front of house team is happy to answer any questions. Give them a call on 01603 283382 or email [email protected]. 

Keep up to date with everything we’re up to by signing up for our monthly newsletter. You can also follow us on on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. 

about youth music

Youth Music is a national charity investing in music-making projects that support people aged 0-25 to develop personally and socially as well as musically.

It works particularly with those who don’t get to make music because of who they are, where they live or what they’re going through.

Projects funded by it break down barriers at all stages. It helps children develop an early love of music, provides diverse role models, introduces young people to a wide variety of potential career paths and works with the music industry to make its practices more inclusive.

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