We had the good fortune of connecting with Juliana Riccardi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Juliana, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Deciding on a life change or choosing any action that will spark some part of you to grow, discover, learn and overcome is worth the risk. A good risk, to me, makes me more excited and fired up (from the heart) than it makes me nervous. Also, nerves are good. It means you’re feeling. Something is being triggered. It’s up to you to explore whether it’s positive or negative and WHY. Safety is good but when we get too comfortable and too complacent in our situations, I believe in asking some questions to ourselves and honestly answering them. Some examples might be: “Is making good money in my stable job more important to me than putting my passion and talents at the forefront of my life?” “Is there something I’ve always dreamed of exploring but rationality and society (or family) doesn’t seem to support that dream?” “What would my life look like if I had no fear of changing it?” “What do I deserve? And what changes can I make to have or be those things I deserve” Sometimes the deepest changes we need to make and the risks we take in choosing them, aren’t physical – like moving or choosing a new career – they’re mental and spiritual. How we see ourselves and how we see the world will have a huge impact on where we end up. As a singer and songwriter, I’m vulnerable all the time to my audience. Deciding to accept music as a huge part of my identity and true happiness was a risk in itself in many ways. It’s kept me on path to continue to create and share, to invest in my identity and happiness, and thus forced me to sacrifice stability many times, despite other ‘easier’ or more comfortable paths being offered. There’s no guarantee of a return in music and art. But that’s not why you do it. You do it because it’s in you. Creation is a part of you and you’d be stunted without it. Energy in. Energy out. Energy in…and so forth. I moved to a new state, left a very comforting relationship, and forced myself to wipe my slate clean as an artist and start fresh. It was one of the best choices I have ever made. Being alone gave me so much more clarity and allowed me to know myself in a way I hadn’t. I connected with authentic people and artists that helped shape my music today. I’m forever grateful.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about:
My songwriting is very organic and always based on my own experiences and observations of others experiences; or a collective experience. My best, most fluid songs come when life shifts a bit and I’m feeling something deeply. I won’t just sit and say, I’m going to write a song today. I will already be feeling something and I’ll be sitting in my parked car and the melody will come out simultaneously with words. Or, in the shower. That happens a lot. Or driving. I’ll record the idea, and then set aside time to flesh it out and create some musical structure. But the lyrics and the sentiment is something I won’t force if it’s not coming out easily. I’ll step away and come back until the missing piece comes to me.
I’m really excited about the upcoming album, coming this fall, which was recorded with my long time band mates and friends from New York. We booked a weekend at Dreamland Recording Studio in New York which is an incredible converted church owned by Jerry Marotta – who is an outstanding drummer and the coolest guy. Ariel was a fantastic engineer and the whole band really killed it and helped contribute to new arrangements and add their magic on live tracks – in just two days. The songs mean a lot to me and were written after my move to Los Angeles and finding my place in the artist’s community here in Mar Vista. The album is a more ballsy and elevated delivery of my original acoustic songs. You can expect blues, rock and americana vibes.
How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges?
There’s always been a challenge dealing with financial limitations as an independent artist. I’ve had to figure out how to balance and budget my life to be able to support my passion and treat it with the same respect as a job that pays the rent. I decided to work my butt off and squirrel away money to afford great musicians, book the studio, and not cut corners to release my music. I’ve been exhausted and drained and then inspired and motivated through the process. The biggest challenge is trusting your instincts when it comes to your art and the people you collaborate with. It’s like dating! You have to explore the options before you find the most healthy, most productive and most fun combo. Different people bring out different sides of you.There’s still plenty for me to accomplish, like booking a nice tour and getting on the radio! The journey continues and the creation never stops.
While developing as an artist, I’ve built a career in the animal rescue world. I started as a volunteer at a small facility knowing there would be room to grow and help expand the organization’s reach, and it turned into a full time job doing just that. Rescue is an emotional world. There is so much to do and never enough time to do it. There is a lot of sadness and unrest involved with animals who have been neglected and abused. It’s part of the job. There is also so much joy in seeing your animals move into their new and better life, and a lot of remarkable people who help along the way. I’m excited for future rescue projects that involve educational components and a robust rescue community.
What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way:
Make lists, and follow them. Change them as you need to.
Forgive yourself if you fall off coarse. There’s a lesson in there. Find it and keep going.
Self care is super important for creativity and peace. Don’t burn out.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Of course, we’d come to Mar Vista and grab delicious coffee at Mavro or Alana’s, gaze at the beautiful murals that color the walls along the way, catch friends strumming and singing music outside or painting at the Fine Arts Studio and grab dinner and drinks at Little Fatty’s & Accomplice. We’d make time for the beach south of Venice, where it’s super chill and beautiful, then ride north and take a motorcycle ride through the canyons off the PCH. We’d also catch the Mar Vista Farmer’s Market for the best produce and unique foods on Sunday from 9am-2pm.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
A very big thanks to my family for supporting me and encouraging me from a young age; for coming to shows and being my biggest cheerleaders – and to my parents for supporting all my wacky stops along the way. To my amazing OG bandmates back in NY, especially Will Hensley, an exceptional guitar player, producer and mixer, and person who has stayed involved in my music from Ny to LA and is a great friend! To my community of artists and friends here in Mar Vista, and our performance group, The Night Owls, made up of poets, painters and musicians, you all changed my life and gave me so much support and room to grow as an artist- as a live artist. So many fun times. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Other: Single release party: https://new.hotelcafe.
“Juliana’s new single “Full Cup” releases 8/25/21!”