Miami-based rising indie artist, Julia Bhatt first started in the drama room at school, but soon found herself immersed in music. Her parents were avid music fans, and there was always an eclectic mix of sound going on at home. While Bhatt navigated anxiety and lacked the confidence to perform, she was challenged in 9th grade by a family friend to record some originals, so she gathered a group of talented music students (her sister’s friends in the school band program) for the project. Her parents helped Bhatt to find entertainment lawyer Janine Small (who she continues working with today) to protect her songwriting interests and, recognizing her potential, Small connected Bhatt with producer Elliott Jacobson (credits include Ingrid Michaelson, Elle King, Vérité) to help expand her artistry. Bhatt now describes Jacobson as her greatest mentor and friend.
Having dabbled in the guitar for a school class, Bhatt confesses she didn’t learn much, but that she uses the instrument as a tool for her writing, creating hooks and melodies that lead to her lyrics. While most kids juggled their senior year schoolwork and the start of a worldwide lockdown, Bhatt released her first three singles (“Tall,” “Marco,” and “I’m Cool”), turned 18, and graduated.
The debut EP 2 Steps Back soon followed, featuring “Miami” and “Bird Girl,” and Bhatt’s confidence grew as she performed at more venues (once playing for three hours straight for tips and a meal). “I really do like performing,” she gushes. “People might not always react the way you want them to, but keep going.”
The lockdown also brought Bhatt’s first touring experience, opening five shows for Mutlu Onaral after being asked to join him, and she began using Ableton Live to write (“1:30” and “Hair Salon Vibes”). Finding herself frequently caught up with technicalities that jeopardized the vibe, Bhatt still sends voice memos to Jacobson to help the songwriting process. He then puts the bones of a song together with drums and instrumentals, sending it back to Bhatt for more workshopping.
Grateful for the incredible musicians who have worked on her music (especially Pertes on bass and Elicit Ghost on violin), Bhatt also credits Small and Jacobson with finding her incredible team at Reybee, Inc. “It's hard to work with a person or an artist who doesn't love to promote, yet they still work with me,” shares Bhatt. “They're such great people.”
Including cover songs in her live shows, Bhatt loves engaging the audience with songs they know and love to better connect with them. Live performances also have her sharing her music in its simplest form—singing along with her guitar. She finds it fun listening to the big sound of her recordings (like the studio versus live versions of “Marco” and “Karma”), but feels that saving her original ideas is really important, which is why she performs her music the way it was written (with the exception of full band shows).
Missing the full experience of her first live band show due to anxiety challenges, Bhatt advises to “live in the moment a bit more—even if you're terrified—because once that [moment is] gone, you're going to regret running away from it.” Now taking time to flow, Bhatt is making space to fall back in love with being an artist. Her anxiety gets in the way and, while she can’t outrun those feelings, she feels that even one person’s support can make a difference. Bhatt shares that Jacobson “still makes time for me—especially when I have mental health explosions and breakdowns. I really do owe a lot to him. If it wasn’t for him, I probably would have stopped a while ago.”
“I'm still working on music,” concludes Bhatt. “I've stopped myself from running off into the woods—that's what I'm proud of.“ It Is What It Is, Bhatt’s debut, is out now, with singles “1:30” and “Hair Salon Vibes.”
Contact Heather Hawke @ Reybee, Inc. [email protected]
Experience Julia Bhatt at juliabhattmusic.com