by Nur Lajunen-Tal

Julia Jewels: Sequential Dreams

by Nur Lajunen-Tal

Julia Jewels: Sequential Dreams

AONZ-Indonesian singer Julia Corciulo has been making a name for herself as the smooth and sassy vocalist of Ōtautahi duo Shared Soul. Recently, Corciulo has branched out into a solo career under the name of Julia Jewels. Her latest song, Dream Sequence, is a punchy, uplifting drum and bass track which features producer Maxwell Sweeney, aka Monika. Nur Lajunen-Tal looks into it. Made with support from NZ On Air Music.

Julia Corciulo has lived in Aotearoa for nine years, with a three-year stint in London.

“I did music all through high school,” she says of her backgroaund. “Singing in bands and entering various competitions like Battle of the Bands, and talent shows. I also did classical music training intermittently, but didn’t really enjoy it so I didn’t get very far!”

Since settling here Corciulo has been mentored by acclaimed Kiwi DnB artist Tali and has been mostly working alongside her husband, producer Jacob ‘Flex’ Webster. The two of them make up the duo Shared Soul. Julia Jewels began recently as her solo project.

“The name Julia Jewels only came about in the last year or so,” she says. “It was always a struggle to find a name that resonated with my identity, and at the same time, had no overlap with existing artists around the world. When I started performing in NZ I performed as Jewels – Shared Soul, but as I dove deeper into my solo projects, it was necessary to lose the ‘shared soul’ to separate myself from that collaborative project. I was also introducing myself more and more with my birth name Julia, it just felt right, so I wanted to incorporate that. I know there are quite a lot of Julia Jewels out there in the world, but I kind of stopped caring! It’s the name that resonated with my identity the most and my identity goes beyond the label. I think that my personal style will differentiate me from the rest of the ‘Julia Jewels’ out there!”

The collaboration between Corciulo and Maxwell (Monika) began when he saw her perform.

“I think Monika first heard about me through a Sugar and Spice event in Ōtautahi. I think I was MCing there, and I guess he really liked my style. So after the event he reached out via my socials, and he told me about this song he was working on, I hadn’t worked on a DnB song before, so I was excited at the opportunity. We recorded the track in Monika’s home studio in Lyttelton, which also happened to be where I was living at that time. So we were practically neighbours, which made the whole process a lot easier.”

Although set against a different, grittier musical backdrop, Corciulo brings the same easygoing presence with her vocals as she does to the more RnB-orientated grooves of Shared Soul. Lyrically, she delivers a feel good message about dreams coming true.

Dream Sequence was the first DnB track I’ve ever worked on, and I think my vocals worked really well with the liquid elements of the song. Monika already had the working title when he sent me the track, and I just ran with it! The lyrics came out really easily when I was writing them, and I think you can really feel this when listening to the track, the flow just works and nothing feels forced. That’s always a sign of a good track! Ultimately, the message of the song is that it’s okay to dream big and go after what you want, but at the end of the day, you can’t chase happiness, and you have to learn to find happiness wherever you are.”

The song is accompanied by a confident and colourful music video, featuring Corciulo singing and dancing in nature and urban scenery. It was directed by Monika and Michael Duggan from Offline, and filmed by Matthew Clode from Below NZ.

“In the music video there’s a scene that was set in the bunkers and this was really fun and hilarious to shoot! Our mate Duggan who was involved with the filming was going hard on the vape to give us that smoke machine effect. The flashing light, the smoke, the music, they all really made me feel like a badass when we filmed this!”