Juliana Richer Daily

Belatedly posted, but here’s the transcript of an interview I had recently with one of my favorite musical artists out there, and one who’s destined for big things, Juliana Richer Daily. Check her music out, because she’s that good. Originally published in the Rockford Independent Press.

This is a relatively faithful transcript of a phone interview with the extremely talented Juliana Richer Daily, 22, conducted by the Rockford Independent Press’s Benjamin Taylor, who is not a musician in the least. Daily is a graduate student at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Her work is available on iTunes, amazon.com, and at her website, julianaricherdaily.com
Q: When/how did you get started?
I’ve been playing piano since I was four, I just started playing. I did that for 11 years, did the whole Mozart/Chopin classical business. I had a guitar in high school, but I only got as far as really basic chords and easy songs to play. I went abroad my junior year in college to Copenhagen, brought a guitar with me, had a lot of extra time, and just started playing. I love music period and just made the effort to learn how to play guitar. I’m not an expert – I can’t shred or anything – I picked it up as a means of accompanying myself while I sing. I took to it, had a blast with it, and started writing my own material.
As far as singing goes, I’ve always liked singing to myself, but I’ve never had any voice lessons – in high school I was never that into music, I wasn’t in chorus or in band – I was more into painting and visual art. I’ve always been sort of shy about singing – I started playing open mikes at Cornell, and when I got back from being abroad, I started playing more live, and it was just sort of a personal thing, but once I started performing, I just loved it. My voice is the only instrument I have actual control over – the guitar is just sort of a sidekick.
Q: Who are your most important influences? Like the artists/songs who gave you that “holy shit” moment?
I listened to a lot of my parents’ music – Joni Mitchell, Dylan. I love Josh Ritter and dream about being the female equivalent of his sound – I really like Florence and the Machine and that kind of folky sound. I want to marry the music I listen to into something fuller that says something. I’m kind of struggling with what direction to go from here, actually – songwriting is kind of difficult for me, it kind of comes out in fits and spurts – once I can work with a band and other musicians who can help pull my vision out of me, I think my sound will work out.
Q: Touring – what are your intentions?
I played here in Ithaca and in the city a few times. I don’t have a definite plan, but I’m definitely going to head down to New York for a few years, and get a “real job.” I have these two degrees I want to make good on – if the music thing doesn’t work out, I’d like to have a career path to fall back on. I’m definitely going to take the music thing seriously when I’m down there. I have a couple friends who have some studio space, and are involved in production. So ideally for a year or two, I’ll hold down the real job and do music on the side until it works out, hopefully. And I don’t want it to be on the side – my biggest fear is that it’ll be a hobby. Just trying to take a realistic approach. I really want to try and do this for real, I’ll be kicking myself for the rest of my life if I don’t make a real effort to do this. I want to travel and play, and I know it doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s what I want most to do.
Q: What are you listening to now? Your covers range pretty far, from Dylan to Jeff Buckley to Dr. Dre/Bruno Mars. What’s the best show you’ve caught of late?
In the last month and a half, I’ve been listening to a lot of new albums that have dropped lately. So many good albums — The new Fleet Foxes [Helplessness Blues] and Bon Iver [Self-Titled]. The new Cults album [self-titled].
Josh Ritter, Mumford & Sons – just to mention two I have on heavy rotation. I listen to a pretty broad spectrum of music and musicians.
As far as the best show recently, I’ve been working so much on this thesis that I haven’t caught as many as I’d like. I caught the Flaming Lips here, and they were pretty epic. I have plans to go to the Newport Folk Festival again, but it’s close to my thesis deadline, so unfortunately, whether or not I make it down will depend on where the thesis is at.
Q: So the music industry – like pretty much every creative endeavor – has changed a shit ton in the past even five years. You’ve been on top of this through your YouTube videos (how I came across your work), twitter, myspace, etc. How do you think this new landscape affects up and coming artists like yourself? Where do you think the music industry is going and how does it change things for young artists like yourself?
I think that it’s really cool that anyone in the world who has an internet connection and a means to record has access to an audience. I think it’s an amazing thing that you don’t need to have corporate production pumping money into your project to get an audience – anyone who can record can make a name for themselves. You can listen to the brainchild of any musician out there – anyone and everyone who wants to try and make it can try and make it. On the other hand, you’re competing with hundreds of thousands of musicians out there — you’re one more of any other artists out there.
Yet from a listener’s perspective, it’s amazing – I can listen to any number of artists out there and watch their journey. I just celebrated my two-year anniversary on YouTube, and it’s funny to see how I’ve grown as an artist since then. The landscape is an interesting animal to wrestle with. As far as exposure goes, it’s great – that’s why I give my covers out for free – it’s an awesome gateway to get my music out there.
There’s no end to exploring concepts and developing as a musician – that’s my favorite thing about music – it evolves all the time. The musician I am now will likely not be the musician I am a year from now.
Q: Word – how do you feel about someone like Rebecca Black blowing up in the “YouTube era” when a much more talented singer like yourself doesn’t have that kind of instant exposure?
As far as someone like Rebecca Black goes – it’s a little frustrating, but I’m not trying to aspire to that kind of thing. YouTube is by no means grassroots, I like that this has been a growing experience, and my listeners have gotten to get to know me, and there’s not one video that’s blown up. I don’t know that my music is ready to be heard at that level. Personally, I have a lot of growing to do as an artist, I’m glad this journey has been a gradual thing.
On one level, it’s a bit frustrating, but at the same time, it’s part of the experience to let it take shape, and to let my listeners get to know me. I know as a listener, we all like to be part of the discovery of an artist. So the Rebecca Black thing just isn’t where I want to be.
Q: Band? On your last post on your website you mentioned looking for a band/moving away somewhat from acoustic – where do you see yourself going?
Getting a band together at Cornell is tough – people are so busy, and during breaks people scatter, and after graduation it’s even harder. It never really took shape here, and I’m still figuring out music and just wasn’t ready. I don’t really know what direction I’m going to go in artistically – those tracks were my first real stab at songwriting. I know I have some work to do as a writer, and I definitely think I want to have a much fuller sound.
Q: LP?
I’ll be releasing another EP later this year. I’m working with a European production company and pressing a vinyl collection of 3 EPs. I didn’t have any physicals released of my work, so I’m excited.
Frankly though, I want to release this stuff and move on from it. As I said, these tracks were my first foray into songwriting, but it’s not the end all and be all of where I want to be as a musician – I’d like to move on and explore different things. I don’t know that any of the songs I have out right now will come together as a full album – I didn’t write them with an album concept in mind.
I absolutely love when albums tell a story as an album, and it grows with you as you listen. Each album can tell a different story, there’s a rise and fall and movement in them. There’s something great and unique about sitting down and exploring an entire album, and you can get a full sense of where the artist is going. There’s definitely merit to having some standout singles, but I love to sit down and listen to an entire album. Letting yourself just hang out with that music I love.
Q: How’s your injury healing? [Daily suffered a fractured spine in January 2011 as a result of a snowboarding accident]
I’m doing all right, I’m not back 100%, but as far as breaking your back goes, I’m doing all right. I’m titanium-reinforced now, which is pretty cool. Doing a lot of swimming, biking. I’m grateful the accident didn’t turn out a different way.
Ben: Thanks so much, Juliana!
04.12.12: Way belatedly updated to change “skiboarding,” which, as Juliana helpfully informed me does not exist.
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~ by Benji on 14 July 2011.

2 Responses to “Juliana Richer Daily”

  1. […] It was a fairly free-form exchange in a Q&A format. You can find that initial transcript here: This past week Ms. Daily graciously consented to do a follow-up interview, which we kept in the […]

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  2. […] be remiss not to post this, but the very same Juliana Richer Daily whom I interviewed below (and earlier) somehow found time to record her cover of The Tallest Man on Earth‘s “Love Is […]

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