July Jones has arrived and has every intention of sticking around.
Even though the Slovene-British singer can be easily compared to the other edgy stars of today — Ashnikko, Brooke Candy, and Grimes — she wants to follow in their footsteps by taking over the world with her own genre-bending sound. Those that have been following Jones’s journey will know that she came from a jazz/soul background and has been grinding hard behind the scenes for a number of years. With so many up-and-coming musicians trying to get heard, it’s important to know that Jones is not just a vocalist with an edgy look. Along with writing her own thought-provoking songs, she’s is also an established songwriter who has penned material for pop phenoms like BTS, Nasty Cherry, and her peers Girli and Suzi Wu.
This year has proven to be a great one for Jones. She kicked off the summer with the bold and experimental anthem “Butterflies” with Girli and Suzi Wu and proved to be flying high with the acclaim it received. She quickly followed up the release with “Aladdin” after its teaser went viral on TikTok and is gearing up to release her debut mixtape. Starting in November, Jones will embark on a tour across the UK.
Jones is dreaming big. She wants Grammys, wants to produce for others, and is determined to be an example for aspiring stars from Eastern Europe. During a coffee shop chat with EUPHORIA., Jones talked to us about the creative process behind her singles, her mixtape, and why it’s important for her to be a representation for people all around the world.
“Butterflies” became your first release of 2021. What was it about that song that made you want to release it first?
“Butterflies” is a track I wrote two years ago and was the first track where I was like “wow, this is my sound.” Because I’ve been a writer for other artists since I was 17, I’ve done a lot of clean pop, which I love, but at this stage, I wanted to start crafting my project but I didn’t really know where I wanted to go with my sound. When I wrote “Butterflies,” I wrote it on this jazz section and it was a really interesting chorus because the song is not in any key. I felt it was so unique and so weird but at the same time it’s pop and I wanted it to be my sound. Because it was that first realization, I wanted it to be the first statement.
Did you always envision the song as a feature?
No, the original version was supposed to be with my friend Dope Saint Jude, but she moved to South Africa. We had that vision of her being on the track but we never got the vocal done. I worked on both of Girli and Suzi Wu’s projects and then it just happened. They heard the song and wanted to be on it and I was like, “hell yeah!”
Shortly after, you dropped “Aladdin.” How long ago did you create that track? Is that a more freshly written one?
“Aladdin” is literally like two months old. I wrote it recently and I didn’t expect or aim for it to be a single or anything but I posted a clip of it on TikTok and overnight I woke up with it having millions of views. I was like … “Woah, what the fuck?” I think because it was a controversial topic and consists of direct lyrics of what my situation was, I think a lot of people relate to it. It gave people a talking point and I quite enjoyed it. I was like, keep talking! The push of TikTok made me decide that “Aladdin” should be my second single and we are actually releasing a Spanish version of it. We just finished it with a big Spanish artist called Rizha and we are releasing it in a matter of weeks.
Did you ever expect that to happen with the song?
No, I went to DJ in Milan and we met and she had this idea to do the song in Spanish. The thing with my mixtape is that it features different languages so the whole point is to show diversity in different ways. It’s to show that we’re all from different countries, you can’t just be a continent. Rizha was like, if you would be down, I would love to do a version in Spanish and she literally just wrote it there and then and I told my management about it.
You plan on releasing your mixtape in three parts — what made you make this decision to dissect it?
I have so many songs. As an up-and-coming artist, releasing 17 songs in one go is a lot. It also gives me space to play with visuals. The visuals are going to be in three stages. The first part is going to be the birth of July Jones as a character. The second part is going to be me shooting towards the dream while the third is going to be me in the dream. Releasing it this way is much more digestible and gives me more time to promote it. It will also give people space to understand me.
Do you know when you’re hoping to release the first part?
We’re aiming for in the next couple of months. Before the end of the year because we’re going on tour.
What artists or topics have influenced the tape?
I’m really into production, therefore, I really look up to a lot of trap music because the production and the structure in the songs are never the typical pop structure. If you listen to Travis Scott, Kanye, FKA Twigs, they all have pop trap songs but the structures are kind of flowing and take you on a journey and that’s really important to me. I’m not really into the box, typical pop song. I’m inspired by artists who are more in the left field, artistic world.
You’ve done a lot of live shows over the years and will be embarking on a nationwide tour starting in November with Girli. Is this going to be your most intensive tour?
Yes. We’re doing around 17 or 18 shows. It will be the first time I’m doing that many back-to-backs so I’m a bit nervous, but also excited. It’s intense for mental health but from the tour, it’s also the audience that I want. I’m so grateful for all my fans. I think in the past few months, we’ve been pushing music out and because I’m around all these amazing artists that respect me as a writer and producer, I get their support.
Along with the tour, you and Girli have also formed a DJ duo, Hotdrive. Was that a spur of the moment idea or had you been thinking of doing that for some time?
We both love production and we see the lack of women in music so much and with DJing, it’s the same. We always made sets on the side because we live together and we’re quite geeky and enjoy making beats so we thought why not become a DJ duo when we have spare time. We literally came up with the name on a photo shoot for something else and created a social media page that enabled us to get booked for stuff like Reading Festival and this Courtney Love event this weekend.
What is a goal you are set on achieving within the next year?
I wanna have my mixtape out and go on a world tour with an even bigger artist. I wanna reach as many fans as I can with my music. I wanna break into the mainstream, but it’s hard. I think being born in the UK has a different element of privilege. When you are foreign, you have more to prove before you go anywhere. You have to prove you’re good at production, writing, singing, and that you’re interesting enough. I came here when I was 17, it’s been five years of just working and working.
It’s really hard but I think also very possible. I grew up in a culture where having success in Western culture and succeeding is more of a dream than a reality. I had no role models, nobody. Even now, no one from Eastern Europe has a Grammy or Oscar because accents aren’t normalized. The only person who has ever made anything is Melania Trump, which is such a horrible example, but it’s the only one we have. It’s important for me to achieve everything I want in my head. I have no limit and I want to be a representation for people all around the world, not just Eastern Europe, but those also in Asia, the Middle East, Africa. It doesn’t matter where you’re from.