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Toronto-based musician Jules is using her art as an empowering escape

Right before her singing debut ten years ago, when she was around twelve or thirteen years old, Jules, a musical artist based in Toronto, could not resist the trembling in her legs as she peered through the curtain and observed what seemed to be a daunting sight: a packed auditorium.

She hadn’t even stepped onto the stage then, but it felt like everyone was scrutinizing her already. Earlier that day, she tried so hard to quell her nervousness by telling herself that it wasn’t a “big deal.”

It wasn’t. It was just her first time, and she had plenty of chances to do even better afterward. She was ready for the performance, yes, but it was the almost ineffably empowering change of perspective that she didn’t perchance entirely expect.  

As she finally emerged into the spotlight, picked up the microphone, and belted out to Sarah Bareilles’s “Gravity,” she felt confident and comfortable. To this day, she cannot, and will not, shake away that love for performing, but most of all, for music — a medium that helps get her through, well, everything sayable and unsayable.

“On stage, I feel most confident and more comfortable, and I will sing my heart out. When I am in my element, I do best,” Jules said.

“It’s better to connect when I have an audience as well. And just feeding off their energy makes me stronger.”

It’s that memory of a time when she first conquered her fear and let herself feel free that, in some subtle ways, has kept her going. Unlike some young adults whose parents usually recoil at the mention of such phrases as “I want to be a pop-star,” Jules’s support system — family and friends— has been beyond encouraging and she, in turn, determined.

It was her dad who initially drew her into music.

“I spent a few summers busking in the city, and also performed at private events with my dad, who is a drummer,” Jules said.

“He was actually the one who introduced me to music and singing. I would always watch him practice in our basement and loved watching him perform. I have memories of always dancing and singing along. He really taught me to appreciate and love music at a very young age.”

At thirteen years old, she had asked her parents if she could take vocal lessons to which they put her to right away. Her current coach, Kristina Minchopoulos, with whom she has been for the past five years, has guided her closely and reliably. 

“I don’t know where I’d be without [Kristina]. I have seen such an improvement in my voice since I have worked with her,” she said. “ I always turn to her for anything I need, and she always has really wonderful advice.” 

Scrolling through Jules’s Instagram page alone, it’s not hard to tell that her musical taste is varied and versatile.

Among her covers are Post Malone’s “I Fall Apart,” Lewis Capaldi’s “Someone You Loved,” Selena Gomez’s “Lose You To Love Me,” Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now,” Tones and I’s “Dance Monkey,” and Lady Gaga’s “Dope,” “I’ll Never Love Again,” and “Stupid Love.”

There’s, however, a methodology to the way she chooses which songs to perform, and the following are the questions she poses before deciding: Does a particular piece empower, inspire her? Is a certain musical artist’s message aligned with her own principles? Would she want to support that artist, and why?

Those are the questions that guide her own journey as an artist, too.

“I want to write music that inspires people and have them appreciate the power of music in their lives,” she said.

She added, “I want it to be an escape for people — just like a place where they can go when they feel the need to dance around.” Uplift and encourage, that’s what she wishes to do with her talents for her listeners.


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Last November, she began writing and producing her own music. At first, it felt almost as a “hobby” put aside for the weekends, as she used the rest of the weekdays for schoolwork.

But soon, it grew into a calling so resounding that all of her prior, and ongoing, contemplations on whether or not she would like to pursue music, career-wise, were affirmed and reaffirmed. Set to graduate from a master’s program in October, she is ready to delve into music full-time.

On April 3, she released her first single, “Don’t Wanna Be,” which she co-wrote with singer, writer, producer Chiara Young. As the first female producer with whom Jules has worked, Young taught her invaluable lessons about the creative process — how to connect new themes or to recalibrate old ones, how to build on ideas in a nuanced and daring fashion, and generally how to have faith in moments of inspiration.

The song is now available on all streaming platforms.  Also, on her YouTube channel, she has premiered her first ever performance of it.

“It’s about an experience I had with a guy,” she explained, “After ending things with him, he was very persistent and clingy. I felt the only way he would get the message was literally telling him, ‘I don’t wanna be your girl.’ That’s really how the idea of this song came to me. All of the lines in it are so true, like I say, ‘You keep blowing up my phone when I want to be alone.’”

When the song came out, she started receiving messages from young girls who found resonance in her lyrics and a sense of optimism, healing, and hope in her dance-pop beat. Touched by much of the feedback, Jules feels even more motivated to keep on giving that beacon of light; even while the entire world feels isolated and uncertain, she trusts in the spiritual antidote that music can offer.

“I was debating about pushing the release. My first idea for this song was to perform it, to showcase it, to meet and connect with people face-to-face. I was very excited about that,” she explained.

“But music is a big part of my life and it gets me through difficult times, so I thought I should release it for people to listen to and enjoy.”

That unwavering will to create content despite all odds is just one of the numerous aspects of the vision she holds for herself and her audience.

There’s something perhaps so sacred in being able to jot on a piece of paper seemingly fleeting feelings that then go on to inform her larger artistic projects and to release those ideas when they are most fresh and tractable.

It’s clear that she not only believes in the power of music but in the power of the all-encompassing oneness of the world, a oneness whose threads music helps to tie. 

Under current circumstances, and in general encounters with life’s obstacles, it’s sometimes the case that people let down their hands and hardly know how to go on without feeling grounded, but Jules yearns to instill a more positive message: manifestation.

She likes to manifest her pursuits and firmly believes in the transformative function of knowing that manifestation is possible and how much good could come from it.

While as of late she has mostly written about young girls — and their battles with a lack of self-confidence in a society that feels daunting, hard-to-navigate, and at times shallow — she does not mean for her music to apply to solely any age group or, at that, to just a single-gender.

In fact, aside from creating new music, her other biggest goal is to connect directly with more people; she is looking to social media to help her with that endeavor.“You could just put so much out [on social media] without anyone stopping you,” she said.

“You could talk with people, engage with people. I just love that for young artists especially — that you could have a platform like that.”

Because of the circumstances with COVID-19, Jules is also scheduling online performances and live-streams. “I’m trying my best to reach out to my audience in any way that I can,” she said.

Her mission of deep connection calls to mind what one of her biggest idols, Lady Gaga, has been saying about the yearning for fame, or some kind of materialistic success, versus the yearning for impact.

Like Gaga, Jules values the latter ideal over the former. It might seem “predictable” to hear from artists that their hope is to inspire, but it’s different in Jules’s case. She takes it a whole step further; the word “inspire” hardly covers it. Her hope is for young creatives to feel entirely confident in the pursuit of their dreams.

She remembers how, before she turned fifteen, she was always so hesitant about telling her teachers and classmates who she wanted to be when she grew up. It always felt, to her, like she was hiding, but the secret quickly became unbearable when she began questioning herself:

“Why am I keeping this a secret? It’s what I love to do. And if someone wants to support you, they will. If not, then don’t worry about them. Worry about you.” 

Since then, she tries to not have other people influence her decisions — her journey is entirely reliant on what she feels is right.

It has taken some “growing pains” and finding “pieces of peace of mind” — as another one of her idols, Alessia Cara, sings — to dig deep for the courage to put her own music out there, but she’s finally here: Jules, her talents, her voice, her first single, “Don’t Wanna Be,” and her continuing ambitions.

Free, happy, empowering escape. That’s how she describes her music. So, sit patiently until another curtain lifts, lights dim, and Jules emerges into the spotlight.  She is just getting started.