“Well this small girl is gonna make things happen”, the opening line to her Salt of the Earth EP, perfectly encapsulates how Juliet Sunflower is a brilliant young artist destined for greatness. Her crystal clear voice exudes both serenity and strength as she delivers her poignant poetry. The majority of her music is composed of primarily vocals and guitar, highlighting the intimacy of each song and her fearlessness in delivering carefully crafted lyrics. Salt of the Earth serves as an exquisite debut of Juliet Sunflower’s artistry and showcases the natural genius of this artist in the exciting first chapter of her musical journey.
I first came across Juliet Sunflower when she released “Boy of the Mountain Green” prior to her EP, and was immediately hooked. I was then pleasantly surprised to find that she is based here in Nashville, after having grown up in both LA and Australia. In making Nashville her home, she has integrated herself within the local indie singer-songwriter community, which I was able to witness first-hand when she recently performed a show with other incredible local artists, Jacque Jordan, Brennan Wedl, and James Turner. (all artists you should also check out)
Juliet was kind enough to answer my questions about Salt of the Earth, her creative process, background, inspirations, and more!
Salt of the Earth is a beautiful and brilliant debut EP. Can you tell us a bit about how this EP came together?
Thank you so much. I made Salt of the Earth about a year ago with my wonderful friend and producer Ed Hawke in Australia. We recorded most of it live and in one take actually. We then added strings, some more guitar and harmonies. I wanted the songs to sound and feel as organic and simple as how I wrote them. They were all written within the span of about a year and a half. I had moved to Nashville and was so inspired by all of the things I was experiencing, I knew from the second I started writing here that I wanted to bookmark it somehow. That’s what this record feels like to me. A homecoming of sorts.
Each song on the EP is centered around your vocal and a guitar, highlighting the intimacy and poignancy of the lyrics. Can you tell us what your writing/creative process is like?
I am such a lyric person it’s not even funny. I’m so intrigued by words. Writing these songs in particular showed me that songwriting is something that just kinda happens to me. It is a really special kind of energy that flows through me sometimes, and other times I’m lucky enough just to grab onto it. I think I’m still trying to figure out what my process is and how to harness creative energy in a productive and healthy way. But I’m such a sucker for creating things. I’m trying to find ways in which to make it more playful and collaborative.
According to your bio you were born in LA, relocated to Australia for many years, and now live here in Nashville. How have those cities helped to shape your songwriting and artistry?
Growing up in LA was pretty magical. My Dad was a studio musician there for many years and my Mum worked in music transcription and preparation, so as a kid I feel as though I had a really special glimpse into that world. It showed me that as a musician and just a human being in general, community is everything. Spending my formative years in Australia shaped me the most as an artist, though. I lived part-time on a farm for a few years and had so much room to run and explore and dream. That was actually when I started really writing. But Melbourne was a cool place to live for so long because of the artist culture there. There are so many beautiful creative people, so it was inspiring in that regard. I have definitely blossomed the most since being in Nashville. It’s a really special thing to have peers and collaborators who are constantly pushing me to be better. Music is just a universally accepted and valid career path here.
How long have you been writing/playing music, and what initially sparked your interest in becoming a singer-songwriter?
I grew up as a classically trained cellist, but have been singing for as long as I can remember. I think just being my parent’s child meant that music would be a huge part of my life. It was super inspiring watching them play when I was a kid. The passion they have for their craft is pure devotion and it’s beautiful. The real A-HA moment was when I realized I could write poems and stories and put melodies to them. My parents raised me listening to some real classic female songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Norah Jones and K.D Lang. It was something I started taking really seriously at about age fifteen, and ever since then I haven’t really thought about anything else.
Who are some artists that inspire you?
I will always be inspired by the folk wave of the 70’s, especially Laurel Canyon era. Joni Mitchell. For so many reasons. Recently, I have really been loving Adrianne Lenker and her work with Big Thief. Also Gia Margaret, Julia Jacklin, Angel Olsen, The Japanese House, Sharon Van Etten. There are so many incredible artists doing wonderful work right now.
What can fans expect from you in 2020?
Oh man. Hopefully a lot! I would love to play some shows out in Los Angeles and New York, and definitely some more in some southern cities (Nashville included) I will be doing a lot more recording and writing, that’s for sure. I also think I will be spending some time back home in Australia and in different parts of the USA. Whatever it is, I know it will be super exciting.
— — — — — —