Julia Nunes by Catie Laffoon

Julia Nunes blew up on YouTube after posting herself playing covers and original songs on her ukulele. Even Ben Folds noticed and invited her to be on tour with him in 2008. Opening for him was her first paid gig!

The OG YouTuber and singer/songwriter changed her life for the better and is more happy now than ever before. Moving from Brooklyn to LA after a difficult break-up, she found love and happiness again. She had a lot to say about it musically and raised the funds on Kickstarter to actually give us this amazing indie-pop record.

Her new album Some Feelings actually gives you ALL the feels. Julia’s honesty, playfulness, and utterly raw emotions are clearly shown through her music. The album is about the highs and lows in her life and moving forward.

I called Julia to talk about life, her new album, and how awesome making out is!


Hey Julia! How are you?

Very good! How’s it going?

Good! So do you want to jump right into this?

Sure yeah, yeah!

So you’ve created a new image, a new album, and a new life in Cali- how’s everything going?

Umm it’s really good. It’s fun to have it laid out like that. Seems very impressive when you list it off.

It is impressive! You started playing the ukulele because your roommates and neighbors complained about the loud guitar sounds—did you ever think it would take you this far? I mean, obviously it’s also your lyrics and voice and everything as well.

Thank you! No, I had no design on becoming successful with a ukulele. If anything, I thought it would be a detriment because it was way before the ukulele was a thing. Then it took over and it seemed even less likely. People were like sick of the ukulele and I was like, “Cool..I guess my favorite thing to write songs on is like a kitschy thing that girls do now.” It got less and less likely and then I was just allowed to keep making these things.

I’m loving Some Feelings. You tweeted, “This album is going to be a person realizing they are not happy and doing something about it and then getting happy.” Do you want to talk about some of the feelings on the album?

Yeah! It was almost kinda like a light bulb went off in me. I don’t remember being like, “allllright time to get happy!” But I knew that I was not happy. I knew that I was bummed as f**k and I think breaking up with a person is like making a deal with yourself to be unhappy like much more unhappy than you have been. Even if you’re in the sh-ttiest relationship, breaking up is so much worse than that sh-tty relationship. But then it’s temporary and I think I kinda just spent the last year and a half making little obligatory almost changes in my life, like I didn’t realize I was making them. Now I look back and I’m like, “oh my god, I’m so different.” Everything is different. I’m so much happier.

That’s awesome!

Yeah, I think the song that encapsulates it most is “Fondly Enough,” where I’m looking back and I’m like, “oh my god, I was so unhappy.”

Yeah, that song is so sad. There’s a certain part in that song where you can hear you cracking a little bit and I’m like, “oh my god!”

Okay, the circumstances of recording that song is like my producer [Joanna Katcher] and I just had dinner and I told her the whole f-cking story. I told her 5 years of me in that relationship and the dynamic. She thinks I’m smart and cool and funny and she’s like how were you in a relationship where you were like sad and bummed for most of the time? And I’m like yeah, I don’t f-cking know. I do not know. And we kinda got sad about lost know what I mean? Like what a waste of time! Then we sat down and recorded it and the moment after it we just looked at each other for a minute and I just crumbled onto the floor.

I can’t even imagine sitting in a room with you recording that. It’s pretty intense. Switching over to a happier song on the album-—I’m a huge fan of making out, so I’m pretty stoked you wrote a song about it. How much fun did you have making “Make Out”?

Oh man. That song took no effort. It just like came out of me in like 15 minutes and I brought it to Joanna and she was like f-ck yeah. Like the beat is where it all stemmed from and she just like created this thing and I was like, “man, I’ve never sounded this cool.” I think the solidifying moment was when it was still just a demo and she went home to Portland and played just the demo like really terrible sounding for her mom and her then girlfriend/now fiancé and the two of them just like rocking it in the kitchen. And I was like, “that is what I want!” I just need people to be feeling it. That is a song like across the board if you’re 13 and you had your first kiss and you were, like, ‘yes.’

For sure! Or if you’re 28 like me and you just wanna make out with someone.

Right!? Do you feel a little bit like maybe people our age do not appreciate the sanctity of the make out period?

I feel like they don’t and it’s disappointing because making out is awesome.

I mean yeah. I don’t know if you saw this, but Mindy Kaling did an interview on some show where she was like I could make out for an hour and be like good.

Oh yeah! I definitely saw that and I was like, “Hell yeah Mindy. Thank you!”

Yes!! Thank you! No one man. It’s all building to a thing and it’s like no, just make out. I hope it inspires a movement.

Yes! Julia Nunes inspires a make out movement. [In breaking news voice] I read an article on Punchland and you said, “One big goal I have had since I was a teenager is to have one of my songs featured in a coming of age film with the camera swirling around just as the main character is realizing their potential.” Which coming of age film would you have loved to see your music in?

Whoaaa. Maybe The Way Way Back. Did you see that?

Oh yeah, good one! In the water park, going down the waterslide with your song playing!

Yes! With “Make Out”!

Yes!! You’ve collaborated with HelloGiggles bestie Rozzi Crane and a lot of others—any artists you’d love to collab with?

Man, I feel so lucky. I mean I’m in LA, all my friends are musicians or like creative people and I just feel like it’s all endless collaborations. My friends The Mowglis are a seven-piece band and they just kill the like “be happy. live your f-cking life. Don’t be so hung on trying to do what’s expected of you.” I love their whole message. We’ve covered each other and I always jump on stage when we’re in the same city, but we have to make some sort of real official collaboration.

That would be awesome! So you’ve performed at all six VidCons—from a basement to a venue that holds thousands—what’s it like?

Man, yeah. I mean, if you look at VidCon today, I cannot. I can’t. It’s the same transformation that I feel like I’ve gone under. I walk around VidCon and these huge superstars walking around are a bunch of nerds that I’ve known for seven years. Like John Green, are you kidding me?! He’s a movie producer and so famous and he’s doing even more with what he’s got already. And I hung out in a Boston bookstore with him and played acoustic songs to 200 of our fans. It’s crazy! I can’t believe it’s become what it’s become. I feel like there’s a group of OG YouTube people that just used it really well and became masters of the craft and they’re all still killing it at VidCon.Yeah, it’s true. It’s crazy! Oh your podcast-That Was Us! Such an awesome idea- I love the idea of going back to past writings- how’d you come up with the idea?

It’s like a podcast version of Throwback Thursday. You know? I mean, part of what my life is right now is looking back and being like whoaaa…because it’s so recent too. A year and a half of change is so small compared to the life I’ve led before that, so I’m so focused on it. I feel like if I don’t look back and watch it all and think about it as it’s happening, history is doomed to repeat itself. So it’s almost like I turned my life into a podcast, where I make people do what I’m already doing, which is like examining yourself. It’s giving me the opportunity to have real talks with all my friends, which is the best part.

Yeah, seriously. I love it. So I’m SO happy we are premiering your music video for “Don’t Feel”! Amir [Blumenfeld of CollegeHumor] looks like he’s having all the fun in the video smashing things over your head—did you get to smash anything over his head or on the wall?

Me too! Man, I didn’t really. Wow, I don’t know how we got through the whole thing without me being like, “hey! let me do this.” I smashed one plate on a Plexiglass window- that was like my big thing and I took a bite of a plate. That turned out to be a mistake because it just kinda crumbled in my mouth and I had to scrape the crumbled plate off my tongue with the plate. It was rough.

I love the way it looks behind your head as he’s smashing them on the wall. It looks like glass fireworks.

Yeah! I mean honestly before we had a storyline or anything else, we just had the idea for like glass fireworks behind my head. Exactly it!

So cool! So if someone hasn’t listened to your music before, which songs would you tell him/her to listen to?

Hmm “Something Bad”, “Don’t Feel”, and “Make Out.” Yeah, I figured “Don’t Feel” is sad. “Something Bad” is the middle ground of like, “Alright, I don’t like the negative energy here, but we’re trying to shake it off.” And then “Make Out” is like the euphoria.

Good choices! I think that’s it. Is there anything else you’d like to tell HelloGiggles’ readers?

Um hi, I love you guys!

We love you too!

Now check out the premiere of Julia’s new video “Don’t Feel” and be amazed.

Seriously, how cool are those glass fireworks?! Guys, not only am I a fan of Julia Nunes the artist, I’m a fan of Julia Nunes the person—especially after our phone call. She’s hilarious, full of heart, down-to-earth, and just super fun to talk to. Some Feelings really does give me all the feels and I think it will have the same affect on you.

Some Feelings is out September 25th! You can pre-order it here. You can also follow Julia on her Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. And catch her on tour this fall!

Featured image & 2nd image by Catie Laffoon.