Raised on a diet of music Julia Bhatt, the 19-year-old Bostonian writes songs with candor. Reflecting on teenage life, and time spent in Miami, Bhatt expresses herself with acerbic wit, and if you turn up the volume an apology becomes difficult to discern. ‘I only cry in a cool way’ from ‘I’m Cool’ her 2020 single defines the upbeat matter-of-factness that has quickly become staple. Bhatt’s voice shimmers with a diverse use of notes and melodic assembly informing us of the vibrancy of an organic talent. The bird girl has landed.
How do you feel about this upcoming album?
This album has been a while in the making, which is what I wanted. I’m happy with it, and in retrospect I’m proud of all my songs, I’ve been writing them over a few years.
Which is your favorite single?
I think ‘Karma’ because it’s closest to my heart. It was one of the first songs I ever wrote, and it was on the back burner for a while. ‘Karma’ has always been one of my proudest songs and it was cool to be able to redo it the way I wanted.
That’s a hard question…I think the world has started to look back on itself and inspect. Everybody nowadays is trying to find the root of the problem and I think you can’t do that without looking at the bigger picture and so a lot of people have become philosophical. Some people think that nothing matters whereas others think that that’s exactly why we matter. Nowadays people are so divided and there always seems to be a clash in terms of opinion. I am learning to separate that.
Art for the sake of art?
Art is a feeling extracted…something raw, something real. You’re not just trying to satisfy a goal or an expectation…and for a lot of my songs they just take form. A lot of people ask me about my writing process and I’m bad at answering that because sometimes I’ll have to focus, but recently I sat down on my bed, grabbed my guitar…and just wrote.
A favorite flower?
I love flowers! I used to want to work in a flower shop. I love sunflowers, and roses. Bougainvillea is a beautiful plant in general, they’re all-around Florida. Any colored rose, jasmine…I could go on. There’s so many f***ing flowers dude!
When did you start playing guitar?
I taught myself pretty much over the years, but I started when I was 13. I used it as my vehicle for writing songs. I’m not very technical…but I get the job done. It’s a way for me to create without my voice.
I’ve always had a rational voice in my head, one of the songs that’s coming out on this album is more irrational. I wrote the song as a question to myself, asking myself why I don’t think it’s cool to cry…around that time I was trying to hold it in.
It has a lot of meanings. You can see cool as being cool and composed…or flashy/blingy, or someone you admire. I think a lot of people have a lot of different meanings…but we all have certain interests, so cool depends very much on the person.
Do vampires really suck?
I wrote that song on a dare in 15 minutes! I was 16 maybe…so that was just a story that came out.
A rainy day?
I was in bed, and I was looking out through a pair of huge sliding glass doors. There was a thundercloud…I had just woken up and I watched the entire storm pass on a Sunday morning. It was really nice.
A goal for 2022?
Direction…but I’m doing my best.
CONNECT WITH JULIA
STORY / ALEXANDER MAYS
PHOTOS / SHERVIN LAINEZ