You’ve probably read about many musicians who have left the industry hardened by it’s politics… it’s not a new story. Many artists run from the industry once they’ve been eaten alive, never to emerge with any new music ever again.
This is not that story. This is the story of Julian Moon. Who was once chewed up and spit out by the industry machine, but instead of running from it — rose up from it’s ashes and released new music with deeper meaning than she ever thought possible…
In 2015, Julian Moon released her debut LP on Warner Records, “Good Girl.” The cover image was a cutesy photo of her — making it apparent that she was the quirky “Zoe Deschanel” type with Lana Del Rey lyrics. At the time, the public didn’t know they were only seeing one side of “Moon” (as her friends call her). The music was poppy, quirky, fun — all the things you’d expect with a photo like that, but it was missing the soul that Julian had inside herself all this time — probably even unbeknownst to herself.
After the industry confused the girl with the music, and the multi-faceted multi-layered sides and angles and in-betweens that made her so damn interesting to begin with, and jumbled it into a mess no one could make sense of — Julian found herself having to start over from scratch. “I almost quit [music] because my ego had been shattered. The music industry is not the place to invest your self worth — but that’s exactly what I had done. So when I was rejected, my entire identity was obliterated,” she says.
In her attempt to move on, Julian had no plans to continue making music as an artist. But to those around her — fans, family, co-creators, they knew that this was just a stepping stone for her.
Skip forward to present day, and Julian Moon is the heroine of her own story — releasing independently one of her proudest bodies of work thus far: an EP entitled “Pomegranate Seeds,” which explores the metaphors of the Greek myths of Persephone and others.
Julian had always been interested in Greek Mythology, “As a kid, I used to love the myth of Athena and Artemis — strong, independent women/deities who lived life on their own terms. As I got older I became more intrigued with the stories that were less black and white and were more grey — like Medusa, and Persephone.”
After spending some time in Guatemala to find herself, the lyrics to “Pomegranate Seeds” came to her as if screaming to find a way out. Perhaps it was just life imitating art? Soon, more and more ideas came to her about songs surrounding the myth of Persephone — and Julian began to realize that that very myth related to her on a deeper metaphorical level: “The deeper I found myself in the music industry, the more I related to Persephone and her transformation,” Julian says.
What followed after, was finding a way to make the music. Other people in this instance would have perhaps quit — seeing a mountain in their path — since without a label, making music is quite expensive. But Julian knew that she had to follow through with her ideas, and soon began raising money on the crowdfunding website, GoFundMe. After meeting her financial goal, Julian says, “I had the idea to create this concept EP, and I had someone amazing offering to help me create it [Producer John Gilbertson] — I couldn’t not follow through with my idea, it would contradict the myth itself which felt almost blasphemous.” She adds, “It sounds cheesy but I kept going because of Persephone.”
The music itself encompasses the concept of transitioning from a girl: naive, sheltered, and unaware; to a woman: complex, sensual, life giving but also life taking — a huge change from Julian’s former music. “I didn’t want to delete what I’ve already done because I am really proud of the stuff I’ve created in the past. It’s a part of me, a very honest telling of who I was when I was younger. It wouldn’t be very ‘Persephone’ of me to forget where I came from.”
She adds, “ ‘Pomegranate seeds’ is an evolution of ‘Good Girl’… the ‘Good Girl’ takes a bite of the forbidden fruit…. And well, you know the rest.”
When the EP is played in order, Julian says there is an overarching story that spans for the entire length: “‘Pomegranate Seeds’ is the start of the myth at which the end of the song is an instrumental representing the descent into Hades; ‘Heartbeat’ is about coming into contact with your soulmate or new destiny; ‘Siren Song’ is about the resistance you encounter when you transform; ‘Hurricane’ is about having to choose yourself and your life, despite how painful it is to do that. “Honor Among Thieves” is about not being naive anymore and knowing exactly what you’re getting into; and ‘Sweeter the Heart’ ties up the myth with the moral of the story: you don’t get to be strong, amazing, kinda, compassionate, powerful and badass without a ton of grief to carry with you wherever you go.”
Perhaps the biggest thing that Julian hopes for this EP, is that she hopes that people who listen to it will “be inspired to embrace all the nooks and crannies of themselves. This world likes to try and make each of us two-dimensional and easy to digest — I hope this EP gives people the permission to be the messy, multi-faceted humans that they are.”
Regardless of how “messy” of a process it was for Julian Moon to get to this point — it’s likely the path she was meant to take — ultimately learning to give herself permission to be what she’s not, and more importantly what she is. “I was so close to quitting music — I had completely lost internal motivation because my self-worth was so depleted that if it wasn’t for the incredibly generous people who helped to fund this project. This EP was a community effort and I am beyond grateful for the donors, John Gilbertson and to Neon Soapbox for making this project a reality.”
CONNECT WITH JULIAN MOON:
Story // Angie Piccirillo
MUAH // Ana Herrera
Photographer // Michelle Hargreaves
Photographer // Kevin Ipalari
Video // @NeonSoapbox
Clothing Credits: Adriana Sahar @AdrianaSahar // OTT @OTTDubai // Necklace by Dori Csengeri @Dori_csengeri