A proud native New Yorker, JULIA PERNICONE is also a pop music lover and cappuccino enthusiast. She began her career in music singing in choirs, and eventually writing songs and playing in bands. Her interest in the business side of the music industry began when she attended the Music Business program in the Steinhardt School at New York University. As a longtime fan of songwriters, she pursued many internships in music publishing, a favorite being at Downtown Music Publishing. Coming back to Downtown to work at Songtrust, empowering songwriters to make a living from their work, is a dream come true. After all, Julia’s strongest belief is that without songs, there would be no music business.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SONG?
I don’t know if anyone in the world can narrow down their favorite song to just one, but one song that is very near and dear to my heart is “Daughters” by John Mayer. A more current favorite is “Chunky” by Bruno Mars.
WHEN DID YOU WRITE YOUR FIRST SONG?
I wrote an a-cappella verse and chorus (that I remember to this day) when I was around 8 years old, but I wrote my first “real” song when I was 15.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE YOUR FIRST SONG?
Honestly, I watched Taylor Swift’s E! True Hollywood Story where she said that she taught herself three chords on the guitar and started writing tons of songs. I knew more than three chords, could sing, and always loved writing poetry and prose, so I figured I could write songs too!
WHERE DO YOU DO YOUR BEST WRITING?
Sometimes I like to write at home, by myself, on my keyboard or ukulele. It allows me to focus my mind on the song itself without too many distractions. Other times I really like to be in a studio environment with a producer and either write to a track or work on a track as we go. In those situations, it’s cool to see a clearer picture of the finished product. That can really help inform my writing.
WHAT WAS THE FIRST TIME YOU RECOGNIZED YOURSELF AS A SONGWRITER?
I think as soon as I started writing my first song. The real realization was when I figured out that I even had the ability to write a song. Before that, I loved to sing and perform, but I hadn’t even considered writing original music. Now writing is the part I love most!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SONGWRITING TOOL?
My iPhone! I rarely come up with a better idea than when I least expect to. I have so many voice memos of random melodies sung from the shower or on the subway, and my Notes app is FULL of lyric ideas.
DO YOU HAVE A TRICK WHEN YOU FACE WRITER'S BLOCK OR GET STUMPED WHEN YOU'RE WRITING?
I recently went through quite a long period of writer’s block, which was extremely frustrating and discouraging. But I think the number one thing holding me back was myself. I was putting too much pressure on myself to create something great, instead of just enjoying the process and seeing what happened. When I finally just sat down and wrote something, it turned out to be a lot easier than I had been building it up to be in my head. Was it great? No. But since turning my “creative faucet” back on, I haven’t been able to stop the ideas from coming! And, while some are better than others, I’m proud of and grateful for all of them. Now whenever I feel stuck, I try to stop being so hard on myself. When I have less pressure, I’m able to come up with much better ideas and have a lot more fun in the process.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST FAVORITE PERFORMING MEMORY?
My high school band and I played a Battle of the Bands at Playland in Rye, New York the summer before my senior year. I think it was the biggest show we had ever played at that point, and we got so many of our friends to come out. They made signs and were singing along to all of our songs. We came in 2nd place, but it really was a magical day.
HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT SONGTRUST?
I found out about Songtrust while I was interning with Downtown Music Publishing in the summer of 2013; it was a much smaller operation then. I kept in touch with the Co-Founder and General Manager, Joe Conyers, over the years, and joined the team in January of 2016! It’s been so exciting to play a part in growing Songtrust to where it is today.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE LIKE BEING BOTH A SONGTRUST EMPLOYEE AND A CLIENT?
The fact that I am a songwriter allows me to relate to our clients in a really special way. I understand the emotional attachment a writer has to the works they create, and because of that, I take what I do at Songtrust extremely seriously. I--and the rest of the team--want to take as much care of our clients’ songs as they would--they’re our babies! Knowing that also gives me peace of mind that my songs will be well taken care of!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF WORKING AT SONGTRUST?
My favorite part about working at Songtrust is the people and our collective mindset. Everyone at Songtrust and Downtown is extremely passionate about songs and the people who write them and working on more effective ways to get them the compensation they deserve and are owed, regardless of their level of “success”. We’re an extremely forward-thinking company that never settles for the status quo. We’re always pushing the boundaries of how the publishing industry has traditionally been run. Aside from that, our founder and CEO, Justin Kalifowitz, is as much of a New York snob as I am, and of course, everyone here sees the value in quality office snacks.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE SONGTRUST ARTIST (THAT YOU'VE HELPED ALONG THE WAY)?
I have a few! I’ve had the absolute pleasure of working with so many wonderful people and songwriters who have written some great songs: Alex Deleon, who co-wrote “Victorious” by Panic! at the Disco and has recently launched his solo project Bohnes; Griffith Frank, who co-wrote “Boomerang” by JoJo Siwa; Jeremy Miller, who co-wrote “Rolex” by Ayo & Teo; and Gina Figueroa, who co-wrote “Really Love” by D’Angelo. I also have to shout out my favorite band (they’re my friends, but I’m not biased!), Modern Diet.
WHAT IS AHEAD FOR YOU?
Outside of work, I’m writing as much as I can, and finishing up an EP of funk music to be released later this year! At Songtrust, I’m looking forward to bringing some new members onto the Operations team and working on making our processes even more efficient so we can better serve all of our new and existing clients.
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