Julia Cannon is a Nashville-based songwriter, recording artist and music producer who is hard to forget. Her soothing, honeyed voice and quirky personality offer a pleasing contrast to the bittersweet honesty of her lyrics.
She was raised in Alaska by a hardworking Filipino mother, in a household Cannon could only describe as “unorthodox.” She developed her wicked sense of humor and offbeat persona early on. As one of only a few people of color in a mostly white, ultra-conservative community, Julia’s creative voice cemented her identity as a young woman who could not - and would not - be overwritten.
Julia Cannon’s sound has been described as playful and relaxing, but her tone transcends the folk-pop genre to include soul, rock, and jazz influences. Cannon credits her genre-bending style to influences such as Ella Fitzgerald, Paul McCartney, and Stevie Wonder. In July of 2021, she released her EP Listening, which received positive feedback from both fans and the press. Her newest single "Glow" was released on May 20, 2022.
Julia now has a growing fanbase in Nashville, who join an existing community of ardent supporters both at home in Alaska and across the US. She is quickly becoming a fan-favorite on the popular social media platform TikTok, with over 11K followers.
You can catch Julia this summer at her Newport Folk Fest debut on July 23rd, alongside artists like Joy Oladokun, Buffalo Nichols, and more with the Black Opry Revue!
We recently had a chance to sit down and chat with Julia, who happens to be one of the wittiest and most genuine people we've ever met. Not to mention, we are huge fans of her music and sweet, angelic voice as well.
Hi, Julia! Happy Pride Month! As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, have any other LGBTQ+ artists influenced your music or impacted your life?
Hi! Happy pride!!! 💜 Did you know that Whitney Houston was very likely bisexual too? Because I didn’t until I watched her biopic. So her for sure from a young age. I’m also pretty sure that a bunch of people that formed me musically were queer, but from a time where they either stayed deeply closeted or kept it a secret. I feel very fortunate to be from a time where it doesn’t have to be that way and we have queer representation. I also think that if society was more accepting, a BUNCH of people would be able to feel more fluidity in their sexuality. I secrety think that most people are queer and don’t know it. That’s not an answer persay, but it also is lol.
Being Bi wasn’t celebrated growing up, so I don’t think I personally had any big queer influences. People saw sexuality as more binary. I remember hearing from people that I was either gay and hiding it or just seeking attention. I didn’t see many people like me in media until adulthood.
A native Alaskan, you're of Filipino and Panamanian heritage. Do you feel that being a first-generation American has added more pressure onto you, or has it influenced your creativity?
My mom is from the Philippines, my bio dad is a fantastic mix of Afro Latino and Caribbean (thanks slave trade for making that extra complicated) and my step-dad is native Alaskan. Everyone who made me has both intentionally and unintentionally added a lot of pressure to my existence. I think that on top of being a first generation American, poverty adds a lot of very fun pressure. I remember how hard my parents tried to show us that we could achieve anything if we worked hard enough. And I remember watching them and slowly learning that wasn’t necessarily true. But, they really believed it and bought into the American dream.
Luckily, I think I learned about how nepotism and generational wealth run the world young. So that freed me to just focus on continuing to build upward without feeling entitled to anything. Luck and community and consistency are the things I’m aiming for now.
But obviously it’s taking a lifetime to relieve myself of that pressure.
If you were headlining your own stadium tour, which two artists would you want to bring along with you?
That’s such a fun question. I’m still evolving as an artist and straddling a lot of different genre lines, but I think I’d choose based on who I think I could have the most fun with. If it’s my fantasy, I think I’m bringing Ben Folds and Emily King. I think that between the three of us, it’ll be a sassy and sexy show and mostly I just want to breathe their air. They’re two artists who I really admire both live and recorded. They take their craft very seriously while still being playful and interactive on stage. I would love to share a stage with them.
Your new single "Glow" was written during quarantine. You've mentioned that you're an introvert that struggles with anxiety. Has songwriting helped calm your nerves over the last few years?
I think songwriting has helped me to make the intangible tangible. It’s always been a format for me to arrange and look at my feelings and thoughts and then I get to share it and sometimes people will tell me that they have had the same feelings and thoughts. It’s actual magic. I’ve learned so much about myself through songwriting. Also therapy. Truly a winning combo.
If you were granted three wishes tomorrow, what would you ask for?
First of all, I would get rid of student debt. What a ball buster. We’re literally just trying to learn and better ourselves and instead we’re getting taken advantage of with insane interest rates and predatory contacts. There is no reason that college should cost so much. Second of all, I would make mental health resources very accessible and affordable. Everybody could benefit from feeling emotionally supported and safe. Third of all, honestly I’d get rid of my bunions. I’m sorry if that’s TMI but both sides of my family has given me bunions and they’re the worst. I literally hate them. It’s the only thing I would change about my body. That’s all. THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME <3