Her name is Julia, but you can call her WOLF. Based in Queens, New York, the singer-songwriter was one of the first independent artists to be featured in Spotify’s Fresh Finds program, landing herself a giant billboard in Times Square. The self-confessed shy girl explains how she nitpicked her way to carving out a space for herself – on her own terms.
“I've been doing all my creative work and all of my songwriting here in my bedroom; this is kind of where it all happens,” she begins, showing Headliner her room on Zoom.
Today, the Italian-American independent artist is busy taking her own photos (“via self timer or I might drag my sister into it”), working on Photoshop, and is then putting some finishing touches to her debut EP, Girls In Purgatory.
She’s a true DIY artist – WOLF (full name Julia Wolf) writes her own lyrics (in both English and Italian), co-produces her music, and creates all her graphics, videos and photos herself.
While she’s unquestionably resourceful and has complete control over her image and music, this self-reliance actually stems from being painfully shy. This is hard to believe from a woman who boasts more than 18 million streams to date and over half a million monthly listeners on Spotify in just over a year since releasing her first music.
“I started working on my own vision and learning how to do my own artwork only because I was extremely shy in college,” she nods. “In high school, I was so afraid of my own shadow, I couldn't talk to people – I couldn't make eye contact. I did everything I could to stay under the radar. Ever since I started putting music out, it has brought out a whole new side to me. It's made me more in touch with my own voice and allows me to speak out about things that I've been through.
"My whole goal with music is to encourage others to be themselves, because I didn't have that too much growing up. The people that I idolised and the artists that I listened to never talked about eating lunch alone every day in school, and that's why I try and reiterate that so much. Even after I graduated I couldn't muster up the courage to ask people for help, so I went on YouTube and started teaching myself. And now it's great because it's made me a more self-sufficient person. If I envision something myself, I can just bring it to life on my own.”