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Julia Henning

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Julia Henning is a talented Australian singer songwriter doing good things. I was impressed with what she is doing. So I had to interview her.
1.    What does playing live mean to you?
Playing live is one of the best parts of being a musician. So much of my time these days is taken up emailing or organising events and dealing with very nitty gritty details. It’s so nice to be able to see it all come together at a show and play with your friends and really just have that release of creativity.
 
2.    Do you think it’s all about the songwriting or does timing and the right place at the right time has a key getting your music out there?
I was told once by a music business tutor that the key to ‘making it’ is to put yourself out there and be dedicated to making it work. I think if you have a good product to begin with and you’re constantly working on it to make it as great as you possibly can then with a bit of luck and determination it will all start to take shape and grow. I think luck has a huge part in life in general but certainly in music. But as long as you’re putting yourself out there and taking opportunities as they come, you should be alright. I often think of it like poker, I might not always win but as long as I played the best I could with the cards I was given, I’m happy.
 
3.    How important to you are music blogs in helping get your music out there?
Music blogs are a great way to get new people interested in your music. I love that there is this community of people out there who are so passionate about music and actually take time to create these blogs and give thought out, in depth opinions about songs or artists or albums. Sadly a lot of journalism these days is pretty shallow and poorly researched. I often look to music blogs as a more reliable source of information as to what’s new and what’s good.
 
4.    What inspired you in the first place to give music a shot?
My parents liked to take me to see live music and shows when I was a kid. I fell in love first with the stage and musicals and then as I grew older I found that my true passion was for song writing. My father wanted to be a poet but was told that it wasn’t a ‘real job’ so he became a doctor. When I was growing up, showing interest in music, he and my mum made sure to support me. They’ve been to almost every show I’ve ever done and have never made me feel like music wasn’t a real career choice. I am very grateful to them for this. It’s such a tough industry to get by in even with the amazing support I have at home. I can’t imagine how hard it would be if I was constantly having to defend my choices to the people I loved.
 
5.    Having tools like Soundcloud does it make your job easier when trying to gain new listeners to your music?
Soundcloud, Revebnation and many other sites make it so easy to instantly have your music available world wide. It makes it so much easier to reach out to people and get more fans but it also means that there are a lot more musicians out there competing for those fans attention. I think in general it makes life a lot easier but it is still hard to be heard over all the noise.
 
6.    Do you think releasing EP’s and singles is a good way of keep momentum going before releasing a full length or spending time out of the spotlight writing songs is better?
I think it depends on your style of writing. I used to be the type who needed a very long time to be by myself and write. Nowadays I write in all kinds of odd situations, on the road, with deadlines looming over me or with the band. I think if you can do it, releasing more music as you go is a good way to be. Albums are great but there is something nice about being able to just get 3-4 really good songs on an EP and keep that momentum up.
 
7.    How does a song happen for you?
It’s different every time. Sometimes I’ll write a poem and take it to Eli (My drummer & co-writer) who will then write some chords to base around it. Other times I’ll write an entire skeleton of a song and the band will just flesh it out and sometimes someone from the band will have written something for me and I’ll sit there and write lyrics to it. Usually a song takes about 5 minutes to a few hours to get the basic form and feel down and then a month or so of tweaking, adjusting lyrics and arrangements until we’re content with it.
 
8.    Are there moments where your just not in the mood for writing music and need to do something else before you jump back into songwriting mode?
It used to be the case when I was starting out that I would write for a few weeks and then have a few weeks break but being as busy as I am now I really relish whatever chances I get to write and express myself. If I ever do get writers block or just get frustrated that I can’t work something out, I tend to just drink some tea or read a book and then jump back in when I’m ready.
 
9.    Do you think YouTube has help save the music industry?
I love youtube. I like how easy it is to find new music and get your music videos out there. I don’t know if the music industry has been saved quite yet and I’m not convinced about a few decisions made by youtube in regards to music in recent times but for the most part I think it has helped get people to be more creative and to search for new things which is fantastic.
 
10.  Do you think being serious with your music at a young age has helped you?
Definitely, as soon as I could understand it, I was reading books about the industry and attending music business classes and conferences. I think a lot of bands get scared off by how complicated and frustrating the business side of music can be and so they stick by the standard ‘Oh I just like to do music for the fun and getting to hang with my mates’. It’s an easy way of making sure that if you don’t’ get anywhere you can shrug your shoulders and go ‘That wasn’t my goal anyway. I’m no sellout’ but realistically you have to be in this industry because you love music. No one is in here who hates music or is in it for the money because that would be a really dumb decision. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn about the business of it all and make sure you’re not getting a raw deal or making life harder for yourself. It’s better for the industry in general if we all take it and our jobs within it seriously.

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