Juliana left her blooming career in design to pursue music full-time. Good thing she did, because since then, she's garnered more than 50,000 YouTube subscribers and over 11 million views of her videos. Juliana calls Nashville, TN, her home, where she has spent the last year falling in love with the vibrant musical community and polishing her craft. Juliana's debut album, Slow Love, was self-released in February of 2014. You can keep up with Juliana and her work on YouTube.
HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“The first really deep and lasting heartbreak that I experienced was with my first serious college boyfriend. He was a musician with a spontaneous, beatnik heart, constantly fighting his college dropout instincts and the allure of the open road. He was unlike anyone I had ever been with. Our relationship was exciting and passionate and tumultuous, and I was convinced that it made me feel alive in ways I'd never known. I put his free spirit on a pedestal. Then I found out he had been cheating on me while I was studying abroad. He was on his way to surprise me overseas when the news broke, so we had a devastating falling-out when he arrived in Denmark. He then finally did drop out of school, so when I returned the next semester he had, for all intents and purposes, vanished. I think one of the reasons I clung so hard to that heartbreak is that I never found any closure. It was over, I was broken, and he was gone. Poof!”
ADVICE FOR HER 20 YEAR OLD SELF
“Things that have happened to you certainly inform the way you see and interact with the world, but they do not define who you are. Or, in the words of Aldous Huxley, 'Experience is not what happens to you; it's what you do with what happens to you.' I did a lot of growing during and in the wake of that relationship, both creatively and personally. For a long time after we split up, I credited a lot of that growth to him rather than to myself. He, and the heartbreak itself, certainly provided a creative muse, and the relationship was, in many ways, a catalyst for a lot of subsequent change in my life. But it was me who did the growing and the changing. Even though I started writing songs on the guitar that he gave me, they were my songs, and I was writing them. Maybe he did lead a free-spirited and nomadic existence, but my decision to leave my job in architecture and move to Nashville to pursue music was for myself. The life I'm living is mine. It has nothing to prove to him or to anybody. And it took me years-- years! I hate admitting that-- to see that clearly.”
HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
“It was a very different kind of heartbreak, but after Big Heartbreak Number One, the next serious relationship I was in ended painfully and most of the blame was mine. Because I had never properly mourned and let go of that first loss, I don't think I was truly emotionally available enough to be with this new person. He was, and is, a good man, and I wanted so badly to be ready to love him completely. But I wasn't. Most of the hurt I experienced came from seeing the heartbreak that I put him through. I hated myself for it.”
HER BREAKUP RITUALS
“Exercise. I'm sort of a health nut as it is, but I really dive into physical activity when I have a lot of thoughts and emotions that need digesting. And writing music. What fuels the song-writing machine better than a little good, old-fashioned heartbreak?”
HER BREAKUP VICES
“I definitely hid in a lot of really casual relationships after the Big Heartbreak and sort of numbed myself to the idea of commitment. I was afraid of being hurt again. I was afraid to admit that I'd been hurt. I just didn't want to deal with any of the emotional fallout. To me the breakup felt like a failure—that I hadn't been good enough to keep him. I hate admitting failure or showing weakness, so instead I walled myself up and had a lot of emotionally detached flings that were seriously lacking in the give-a-damn department. I didn't let myself hurt or grieve properly.”
CAN EXES BE FRIENDS?
“You know, I've tried. I'm on amicable terms with a most of my exes, and even better terms with their families...it's funny how that works out. But you can't erase that shared romantic history. I think that makes it hard to get back to a true, honest, hang-up free friendship.”
“Who can resist a little creeping on ye olde social media? I don't actively reach out and stay in touch with most of my exes, but we're all still internet friends so we have a vague idea of what one another are up to. I try not to dig too far though, that's crazy-making.”
THE BIGGEST LESSON SHE'S LEARNED
“You are never so broken that you don't deserve to be loved! I think a lot of people, myself included, have gone through enough low points in their lives—be they failed relationships or otherwise—that they start to think that they themselves are the problem. You are lovable, you are worthy of good love, and there is so much of it out there.”
HER FAVORITE SONG ABOUT HEARTBREAK
“Bon Iver's 'Blindsided'. Or really anything off of For Emma.”
ON KEEPING HER HEART OPEN
“I'm going to let Fiona Apple speak on my behalf here. This is from an interview she did with Pitchfork a few years ago. I read it while I was still dragging my heart back out into the light, so to speak, and it really struck a chord:"
There was a period of time when I was not feeling things. It was terrible. Sometimes it's good to grow a tough hide-- for press stuff, maybe. But when I hear people say that they won't get a dog because they had one when they were a kid and it died, or that they don't want to fall in love because it hurts too much, I'm like, fuck you. I really believe in completely being naive and having high hopes when meeting someone new. I can kind of re-do my stupidity or my naivete. It pisses me off to think that we're conditioned to push away bad feelings and to think that anything that's uncomfortable is something to be avoided. When things are really bad nowadays, I recognize the value in it because it's filling my quota-- it's going to make my joy more intense later.
“I just went on my first tour and bought my first house, so I sort of want to kick up my feet and take the rest of the year off! But I'm really excited to be getting a whole new batch of material ready to take into the studio in the fall for my second record. I'm starting some pre-production with my producer in the next few weeks.”
Photographed by Gabrianna Dacko + Jonathan Stutzman