By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Many have heard Julia Piker’s music without even a need to Google her name.
Whether it be the new theme for Nickelodeon’s “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader” and “ALVINNN!!! And The Chipmunks,” Piker has proven herself to be quite the television/film composer on the rise.
Her recently released debut score EP ‘Samovar’ is chockfull of haunting vocals, lush strings and electronic licks. The four-track, 11-minute long EP was composed, arranged, produced and engineered by Piker herself.
According to her, she wanted the EP to “embody the feeling of growing and expanding beyond the parts of ourselves that we hide.”
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to chat with the London International Award winner about ‘Samovar’ and more.
Music Bugle – What has been your proudest accomplishment?
Julia Piker – I think pride is something I’ve been actively trying to make meaning of. As artists, we are so hypercritical of ourselves and our work. It’s hard sometimes to take a step back and actually look at what you’ve accomplished from an outside perspective. For me, ‘Samovar’ is probably my proudest accomplishment, because it’s the first time I’ve poured my whole heart into a project without killing myself over whether or not it’s good enough. I made it for myself and by myself. After finishing it, I felt this kind of exhale, as if I’d just finished a book, or a delicious meal. It felt satisfying.
Music Bugle – What are the biggest challenges of being a composer and songwriter?
Julia Piker – Trusting yourself. The music industry as a whole is a very difficult environment. You have to know who your people are, who you trust and what your goals really are. The trick is finding what sets you apart from everyone else. When you find what that is, you have to hone it. Being a woman in the music industry is especially difficult, because you have to work twice as hard for people to trust you. There are so many talented, incredible songwriters and composers that are women, but who haven’t been able to get their foot in the door because it’s been closed to them for so long. Developing trust in yourself and in your abilities can really propel you forward, because it shows people that you know exactly who you are and that you deserve a seat at the table.
Music Bugle – What was your goal for your debut score EP ‘Samovar’?
Julia Piker – To let go of any preconceived notions I have about myself, or my style of writing. Working full-time as a composer and a songwriter is truly a blessing. I feel lucky each and every day that I get to do this for a living. I spend most of my time working for clients who have a pretty clear idea of what they want to hear musically alongside their project. My goal with ‘Samovar’ was to completely exit the work environment and just sit inside of my own creativity for a while and see what came out of me.
Music Bugle – What makes you the most proud about where you come from?
Julia Piker – My family is from the Soviet Union and it’s actually the inspiration behind ‘Samovar.’ They immigrated to the United States in the early 1980’s and were very poor. It’s hard for me to conceptualize what they went through in order to live in freedom the way we do now. My great grandfather played tuba for the Kremlin and my grandfather played for the Russian Philharmonic, but in the USSR, you couldn’t listen to your favorite music. To release a record inspired by my family, in which I get to compose whatever I feel, is an ode to them and to their freedom.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Julia Piker – Anything and everything. I’m a diehard Queen and Radiohead fan. My current love is disco. “Nights Over Egypt” by The Jones Girls.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Julia Piker – I lost my great grandfather. He was the patriarch of our family and truly was the most remarkable man I had ever met. He survived the holocaust and created a home for all of to feel safe in. I finished ‘Samovar’ right after he passed. It was kind of a catalyst for me to realize that there’s no time like right now.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
Julia Piker – Escondito Beach in Malibu. Trust me.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Julia Piker – “It will happen.” My friend and I have matching IWH tattoos. It reminds me to look forward and think positively.
Music Bugle – What do you hope for from the rest of 2021?
Julia Piker – Work! 2020 was a difficult year for artists and musicians. I can only hope that the rest of 2021 will bring beautiful projects to the table that I can sink my teeth into.
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Julia Piker – I believe it helps majorly. It puts everyone on an equal playing field. It’s an incredible resource to share information, music and to connect with people all over the world that you wouldn’t normally meet. For musicians, it provides a platform to share your art and your unique perspective. I think it’s invaluable.