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JULIANA HALE | “DOLLHOUSE” & THE INDEPENDENT GRIND

December 13, 2021

Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!

Juliana Hale is here to bless the music industry with her smooth and sultry vocals. Born in Laguna Beach, California, but currently based in Nashville, the singer-songwriter has her eyes set high on the prize, creating her own version of organic pop while implementing her love for real instruments.

Being a multi-instrumentalist, Juliana states, “I play guitar, bass, piano, flute, ukulele. I started playing guitar and flute when I was 9. I started writing songs when I was 10, then I learned the rest of them as it went.” Fun fact, she actually wanted to be a country singer before finding her footing in the pop realm.

Fast forward to 2021, Juliana had the pleasure of performing at the Leather & Laces Super Bowl pre-party hosted by Donnie Wahlberg and Jenny McCarthy, alongside Flo Rida, Brandi Cyrus, and DJ Automatic. Now, Juliana unveils her newest release titled “Dollhouse,” featuring Wande. The upbeat record is paired with a fun video with Juliana bringing the record to life on the dance floor.

Flaunt caught up with Juliana via Zoom to discuss her sound, roots in Nashville, the making of “Dollhouse,” shooting the dance video, her fashion sense, acting in her first movie (And You Call Yourself a Christian), opening for Snoop Dogg, studio essentials, the independent grind, goals, and more.

How would you describe your sound if you could?

It’s like alternate pop. I’ve recently gone a little bit edgier with it in newer music. “Crazy” and “Dollhouse” both have heavy urban influences, and features as well like Derek Minor, Wande. But I still really like incorporating organic instruments. “Crazy” has a violin in it and guitar. “Dollhouse” has bass guitar. I like to incorporate that because I’ve always been an instrumentalist first.

Growing up in Nashville, what was a young Juliana like?

Well I wanted to be country. I was 11 and Taylor Swift was my entire world, so I said “I want to be a country singer.” My family moved to Nashville, both for my career and because my stepdad’s family was up here. That was really cool. I started playing in bars and restaurants when I was 11, doing singer-songwriter stuff, but also country music more of the sort. When I was 17, I went on my first tour. I was doing Americana. By the time I got back, I knew I wanted to do pop. That’s after I graduated, I started pursuing that instead.

Is Juliana Hale your real name?

Juliana is! Hale is my mom’s maiden name.

“Dollhouse” out now! How are you feeling?

I’m pretty excited. I’m really pumped. We had 700 pre-saves, which for a small independent artist I feel good about it. I’m very excited, really excited for it to come out. I wrote this song, the hook for it almost two years ago. I’ve had the full-produced version for 6 to 8 months. I’ve been really excited to share it. [laughs]

What took so long? Were you fine-tuning it?

I was yeah, and I was trying to find my sound. I didn’t release songs for about a year, when COVID hit. I took that time to write songs. I wanted to get a large collection together so once I started releasing, I could keep on releasing and build that momentum. I was writing for a year, and now it’s time to go. [laughs]

How did the record come about with Wande and Derek Minor? I know you collab with Derek frequently.

Yeah, he’s produced a lot of my songs and the ones that will come out. He produced Crazy and also featured on it. I brought the hook to him, I’d already written it. He thought it was really cool so he built a beat to it and got really hyped. He messaged Wande and we connected, she ended up hopping on it. She’s a rapper in Atlanta, her verse is awesome. I’m really excited for everyone to hear it because she goes really hard.

What can we expect from the music video? 

We have a dance music video, so I haven’t done the official official music video yet. I partnered with a dance company, we put together this choreographed routine. It’s pretty cool. There’s a bunch of younger girls in it and they have some awesome freestyles in it as well. They were killing it, it’s very much dance-oriented.

Why did you call the song “Dollhouse”?

The hook is “You just want a Barbie to take to your parties and show off like a new Benz.” I was playing around with a lot of Barbie titles, then Derek mentioned something about “Dollhouse.” Dollhouse ended up being in the verse, I said, “Okay, I like Dollhouse.”

Who or what inspired “Crazy”?

“Crazy” was inspired by a crazy year. It was funny, I wrote it before COVID. By the end of 2020, I thought, “Wow, I feel more insane.” I probably would have named it Insane, if I’d written it later on. I was wearing a lot of different hats, and I still am. Trying to work, do music, I was also in a movie at the time that’s coming out in December. I was doing social media as an artist. I had to learn all of those things. I got in music to do music. I wasn’t necessarily a video creator so learning that has been a challenge.

I‘m overwhelmed. I have really high expectations for myself, and I also try to live up to expectations around me. That can be exhausting. It was a song of finding power in all that though. I’m going crazy, but at least I’m doing what I want to do. [laughs] So that’s the inspiration there.

You’re serving looks in the video, what was your favorite?

Thank you. My favorite was probably the last one with the space buns and we put black extensions in it. All those different looks were supposed to show the different identities I’ve gone through, as I’m trying to find my way as an artist. There was the hippie outfit with the long dress and the scarf, which I’m still that person for sure. I love dressing very Bohemian. Then there’s the biker thing, because I’ve done a lot of bike shows so I was playing to that rocker edge. The pin-up look. They all came for different phases, different looks that I’m into.

How would you describe your fashion sense? 

I’ve narrowed it down to a hippie pirate. I really like edgier things. I like corsets. I honestly used to only wear black, but I really branched out recently because I’ve been inspired by the 70’s look. I like the flowy things. This is a retro-ish look: it’s denim, checkered, has flare pants at the bottom. I really like the 70’s style because pirates look like edgier hippies to me.

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with pirates. I wanted to be one. I even made my crew. I designed my flag, then I went to take sailing lessons. I was so set that I was gonna be a pirate. My mom was on board, she’s like “Okay, sailing lessons.” It turns out, I don’t have sea legs. To this day, I get motion sickness. Like on a kayak, it’s not for me. So my dreams died, but I still like the style.

How did it feel to act in And You Call Yourself a Christian

I’m really excited. It was my first time acting. I’ve been an extra before in movies, but this is my first talking role. I play her prison best friend basically. I’m a character named Tiny. They had me talk in a deep Southern accent because they heard I was from Nashville. They thought I was originally from Nashville, so “Oh, I’ll do a Southern accent.” I had to work on that. It honestly gave me a real life twang, but it was really cool. Shooting on the set was fun. It was fun to work with the other actors and see the behind-the-scenes of how that all works. I’m super excited, it comes out on December 24th on Amazon.

How did that happen?

That came about through my manager’s friend, he knew the guy, the producer of the movie. We connected on musical terms, as far as getting songs in their other film. We talked about the movie and how I was looking for acting roles, so it came about organically through those conversations.

Was it easy for you to act? Did you have to take classes or anything?

I did take some classes before not knowing I was going to be in the movie. I was trying to work on that for future opportunities that hopefully come about, which did work. I took some classes that helped me understand. Honestly it was online because it was during COVID. I’d like to go to a more hands-on class instead of an online class, but it was still really cool. I feel like I did pretty good. I have a good memory so I can remember all the lines, that’s half the battle. I try to put myself in her shoes, my character’s shoes. That was cool, and the director was super helpful as well.

Talk about opening for Snoop in July! How did that happen and were you nervous?

That was very exciting. I was maybe a little nervous, but not as nervous as I thought I’d be. My manager brings stages to a lot of places. He does the production, so that opportunity came across. I was able to get on the show, Snoop’s manager said Snoop liked my music so that worked out. I was super excited because obviously, who doesn’t love Snoop Dogg? Pretty pumped, that was really cool. It was a great crowd, it was in Oklahoma. My little Oklahomies out there. It was awesome. Seeing Snoop Dogg is awesome too, he did a DJ set.

How excited are you to play your first California gig? 

I’m excited, I’m very excited. I also have another gig in LA opening for Bow Wow Wow, the 80’s band who does “I Love Candy,” at Whiskey a Go Go. I’m pretty excited. My mom’s very excited. The 80’s are her jam, so she’s stoked.

How does it feel to be performing again?

It feels great. I’ve luckily been able to perform since the beginning of this year. My first show was in January, so I’ve been pretty steady performing. Because Nashville is relatively open show-wise. A lot of Venues require vaccination, so it’s been great. That’s like, my favorite part. It was pretty hard in 2020 not to perform. The live streams are cool, but they didn’t feel quite the same. It was really nice to get back to it because it’s where you get to meet people. That’s where the magic is and the connections that you get to make.

How is the independent grind?

The independent grind is definitely a grind. It’s great though, it’s cool that artists get to do that now. You know how before, you needed a label and all that, and now we don’t. It’s a good time. It’s difficult, there’s definitely issues. Definitely have worked with the wrong people, which isn’t fun. That would happen if I was signed or independent regardless, but it’s cool. Social media is definitely a cool tool, which birthed the whole independent artist movement to begin with. It’s cool to be able to build your own fanbase. Record label money would be nice, but I’ll get there. [laughs]

3 things you need in the studio at all times?

Water, Goldfish, and this vocal tea that tastes really gross, but it works. Slippery elm roots is the base of the ingredients, and some other licorice thing. It tastes not great, but it makes your chords feel very smooth.

What do you like to do for fun when you’re not working?

I like to hang out with my cats. I paint. I do acrylic floor painting, and I like to do yoga.

Do you do regular or hot yoga?

I do regular. I haven’t done hot yoga yet because I have a lot of gastro issues and vitamin issues. I’m not sure if sweating the whole time would be good for me but I do want to try it. I’m just scared. [laughs] I’m anemic.

Any goals for yourself at this point in your career? 

I have a lot of goals. I have the super shoot for the stars goals, and I have more attainable goals. Getting my first million streams on a song, that’s more what I’m shooting for right now. Otherwise, my goals are to play arenas and win Grammys. That’s up here, so different tiers of goals for myself at the moment. Getting a million streams would be great. I do want to get signed for sure.

 How’s the TikTok journey been?

It’s a journey. It is a very interesting platform. As I said, I was not a video creator, but it’s definitely been good. I don’t remember how many followers I have right now. It’s 17K on TikTok. It’s going up, I have a steady growth. I talk to people every day so it’s good. I’m trying to learn how to have fun with it, find my niche with it and not do a million different things.

Anything else you want to let the people know?

Oh yeah! I’m doing a giveaway right now. Christmas is coming up so I’m giving away a $250 Amazon gift card. That’s on my page, click the link in my bio. I’m pretty excited about that. I like to do giveaways, people have fun with it.

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