I caught up with soulful Folk-Pop Singer Juliana Riccardi last month ahead of her “Full Cup” EP. Out now, the EP is a project of reflection, featuring seven tracks, including the Bluesy title track “Full Cup”, and the vulnerable “Hold Your Woman”. Juliana recorded the entire EP live at Dreamland Recording Studio. You can read my interview with her below.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Hi, Juliana! Thanks for taking the time out to speak with me at The Reclusive Blogger. How have you been doing?
JULIANA RICCARDI: Doing great. The band and I just put on a great show at the legendary Mint music venue in Los Angeles for the record release party and we are getting ready for the next show date.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Can you speak a bit on your background? What was Juliana like? What role did music play in your life at that time?
JULIANA RICCARDI: I grew up in a home where music was always on, from doo-wop, to crooners, to grunge rock and Motown. I loved music and dancing. I always memorized lyrics and melodies easily, and began writing poems at a young age, singing more in my early teens, but being private about it. I began experimenting with songwriting toward the end of high school, taking voice lessons and learning basic piano into early college years. When I was 19, I began playing live gigs and learning guitar – mainly cover songs, to strengthen my singing, performing and overall knowledge of music. Music was a growing part of my identity, it was something I felt natural doing, it was a healthy release for me and it challenged me. Music made life more interesting, fun and emotional.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Was there a specific catalyst that set in motion you wanting to pursue music professionally?
JULIANA RICCARDI: Out of high school, I wanted to pursue music more seriously. I don’t think there was one specific thing that moved me but more of a culmination of musical influences, wanting to hone in on my raw talents, and seeing others around me succeed. I had a lot of melodies in me, lyrics, ideas – and music felt natural and healing to me. But, there was so much to learn and understand, I knew it would be a long journey.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Let’s talk about your new EP, Full Cup? What inspired it? How was the recording and writing process like for you? Especially since you recorded this EP live at Dreamland Recording Studios?
JULIANA RICCARDI: The songs were written at different times over the last 4 years, with no intention, other than to be authentic by writing about my life experiences, my perspectives and allowing my voice to come through naturally. I left my home, in Queens, New York in 2015 to start fresh and these songs were written while I was alone, after heartbreak and uprooting, getting familiar in a new place, and slowly meeting like-minded creative people who shared, supported, and collaborated with me.
(cont.): As my sound solidified and my confidence in the direction of my music grew, I knew I had to record the songs. My first EP was an icebreaker. It was recorded from home, and with musicians in their home studio in 2020 during the pandemic. I wanted to use the at-home time wisely and share something people could connect with. But for my sophomore EP, I wanted to elevate the recording process to celebrate the songs and my journey in a bigger way: with a full band in a professional and magical recording studio. The sonics, new arrangements, and environment were perfect. Dreamland Recording Studios is a converted church turned studio and it’s been used by many outstanding bands and singers. We tracked over a weekend, using vintage gear and instruments, and then the following months were spent doing some post-arranging, vocal comping and mixing.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: In terms of your influences, what are some of your influences outside of music but still within the arts?
JULIANA RICCARDI: All of my main influences in the arts are either singers or bands. I love film and art as well, but the most profound impact on me comes from music – from Billie Holiday, Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Raitt, Van Morrison, Bob Seger, Sheryl Crow, Brandi Carlile and many more.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Do you have a favorite place that you like to write songs in?
JULIANA RICCARDI: Wherever I am inspired or emotionally charged – it all depends on what is happening in my life. Usually the lyrics and melody come out simultaneously capturing a theme, feeling or part of a larger story. When there is a moment alone, at home, in my car, in the shower, on a walk; there is space for the song to come through. Other times, I plan to write, pick up the guitar, and revisit my last idea or explore something I’ve been feeling.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What lyric from the ‘Full Cup’ EP do you feel is most representative of our current times? Or where you hope we should be?
JULIANA RICCARDI: In the track ”Full Cup‘,’ I encourage self-love. I think loving ourselves is key to having healthy relationships, and to avoiding unnecessary struggle and conflict. When we love ourself (not just our physical make-up, but our whole being), we make better choices. When we take care of ourself, and don’t stand for abuse and mistreatment, then we are able to give our best energy toward others, and so on – and we set that example to those around us. In a world where there is still hate and fear of the unknown, love is everything. But, it starts within.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: To close out, Is there anything else you would like to add?
JULIANA RICCARDI: I hope everyone checks out the new record, Full Cup! I put my all into delivering it in its best form possible, and if any part of it moves you – any of the songs- then that is the greatest gift in return I could ask for! And if you love one of the songs, request it to your local radio station!
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Thank you for your time, Juliana!
JULIANA RICCARDI: Thank you for taking time out to get to know me and for sharing my new music!
Stream “Full Cup” by Juliana Riccardi here.