Since releasing her debut single nearly three years ago, Miami-based indie artist Julia Bhatt has been busy turning the songs and music she has held within her since she was 16 into live tracks for the world to hear. Now at 20 years of age, she has a new debut album under her belt, it is what it is, released July 20, and a sea of possibilities ahead of her with her fresh and endearing sound.
Overlaying an indie-folk sound with synth production and rock elements, Bhatt’s debut work is an eclectic, upbeat collection of newer and older tunes; the combination of which result in thoughtful arrangements indicative of Bhatt as a growing individual. Her new album captures a youthful longing for clarity and direction, but still manages to find its grounding in the present with salient points about her journey in the music industry and on personal moments in her life. The mix of themes create a spacious landscape filled with varying emotions and tones.
This churning of internal feelings and moods is most evident in the album’s first track, “On My Shoulder,” a bright and jangly tune that speaks about the multiplicity of one’s personality and how one personality trait can dominate the other at different points in our lives.
“One [half] is ambitious and strict, while the other is carefree and relaxed,” notes Bhatt. “I think a lot of people usually settle into one side or the other at different points in their lives, but they never really stop questioning each other. At least, I don’t think they should. All that deep shit is translated into a digestible story that could be nothing more than a silly little song.”
While Bhatt pens very personal music, she also touches on broader themes, such as being a musician in the digital Gen Z age where one has to promote music via social media and other online platforms. The burnout of having to jump through so many digital hoops is distilled into “Fighting Type,” a rebel-rousing tune written about the anxieties and stress that go along with constantly being tuned into the internet to share your music.
“I have to promote all the time on TikTok and Instagram, and I have to watch numbers rise and fall, and it’s just brutal,” says Bhatt. “Unfortunately, that’s the music industry now and adaptation is the name of the game.”
Crafting music without any one genre in mind, Bhatt’s work flows with an open and easy consistency, not feeling stuck or confined to any one thing. Through her music, she opens herself up to the world; her warm and distinctive voice and honest lyrics capturing universal themes, earnestly offered and coming from a young individual trying to find her footing.
“I’m hoping this album will provide me with some direction and reassurance,” Bhatt notes. “I’ve been pretty rocky lately, and I think I’m just excited to get it off my hands and into other people’s ears.”
Words: Patti Sanchez