By: Chandler Maynard
June is LGBTQIA+ Pride Month, and here at The Festival Babes, we strive and will always advocate for an all-inclusive community. During Pride Month, it is crucial to educate about the reasons behind our march for the LGBTQIA+ community. The commemoration of the Stonewall Riots holds great significance in the LGBTQIA+ rights movement's history. To learn more about the Stonewall Riots, its history, and more click here.
Today we had the pleasure of interviewing Julia Zelg, a lesbian singer/songwriter.
Give us a little overview of who you are and what you do.
My name is Julia Zelg, I’m an alternative-pop singer-songwriter. I write songs and create music videos about the queer experience. My intention is to create more representation for the LGBTQIA+ community and to make music that is relatable to everybody. I’m originally from Brazil, but I’m based in London and New York. I’ve been living in London for the last 10 years and moved there to work on my music career and get my classical singing degree and songwriting masters. My most recent music video is called Torture and is a story about Lesbian vampires! My most viewed music video is Judge Me and has over 1 million views on Youtube. I’m currently preparing to perform at Henrietta Hudson (America’s oldest lesbian club) on June 1st to open Pride month. I’m also working on my next single, which should be released within the next 2 months.
What style or genre is your music?
I call it alternative-pop, but really it is a blend of a few different styles such as classical, electronic, gothic, and pop. I like making music that is different and unique. I don’t want to sound like anybody else.
Who or what inspires you to create?
I write music for people who are different and feel like they don’t belong because that’s who I am too. My fans are mostly queer or into alternative fashion or just extremely creative and unique people and they inspire me so much. I want all of them to feel seen and represented.
How has your personal journey as an LGBTQIA+ individual influenced your songwriting and music?
My most streamed song, Judge Me, is about fighting homophobia and discrimination in general. I wrote that song because I have experienced that myself as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and as an immigrant. Also, my love songs are all about women! Haha!
How do you navigate the balance between expressing your personal experiences as an LGBTQIA+ artist and creating music that resonates with a wider audience?
I hope that in time the wider public can also relate to LGBTQIA+ music and media. Most music, movies, books, etc are about the heterosexual experience and queer people have always watched it and enjoyed it, so why can’t the opposite be true too? I hope that in the future queer stories will be just a natural part of life like straight stories are and not an obscure niche.
In what ways do you feel your music contributes to the LGBTQIA+ community and its ongoing struggles for acceptance and equality?
I believe representation is key. When I was growing up there were no queer people being portrayed positively in the media, so it took me so long to realize who I am and I wasted so much time. I am writing the songs and creating the music videos I wish I could’ve seen when I was younger. I want other women loving women to feel represented and to have something to listen to and watch that is relatable to them. Also, the more people see LGBTQIA+ themed media the more they’ll get used to it and become more accepting.
What is important about having representation within the music scene?
It is so nice to listen to a song or watch a music video that you can personally relate to. It makes you feel like you’re not alone. It makes you feel like you’re not weird or inadequate. When I was younger I thought I would never have a normal life because I was gay. That was until I got older and watched The L Word (a series about lesbians). Watching that show made me realize that I could still have a family and live a normal life, even if I was queer. It completely changed my life. I want to do the same thing for other queer people.
Have you faced any unique challenges or opportunities as an LGBTQIA+ artist in the music industry? How have you overcome them?
I often receive homophobic comments online saying I’m going to hell, etc. I just ignore them and carry on being me. I think answering the haters would give them more power. The fact that I’m not stopping because of them speaks louder than words.
What do you want people to take away from your music?
I want people to feel empowered and represented when they listen to my songs. And, of course, I also want them to have a great time and lots of fun listening to my music!
How do you envision the future for LGBTQIA+ representation and inclusion in the music industry? What changes would you like to see?
I imagine that going forward it’ll be more and more natural to see queer musicians and songs because thankfully the world is slowly becoming more accepting. I would like to live to see the day when being an openly gay artist will be just a natural thing and not even something people will need to discuss or think about. Just part of life, like straightness is.
It is important to remember that LGBTQIA+ representation in the music industry is not solely defined by numbers and percentages but by the individual stories, voices, and contributions of LGBTQIA+ artists that continue to make a unique impact on the art form. Stay tuned this month and beyond for more inspiring interviews within our LGBTQIA+ community. Happy Pride!