Juliette Jules is a 16-year-old Parisian singer-songwriter. On May 23rd she released her 5-track debut EP, Black Crow. Juliette was discovered while music producer/manager Peter Karroll was leisurely sitting in a park with his wife and neighbors, he recounts: “from behind us we heard a voice, it was as if the park was instantly converted to a grand concert hall… the park became quiet and we all turned and there was Juliette Jules… her back to us… she was singing a song to a friend.” It’s a good thing miss Jules decided to sing in the park that day, but more importantly, that she had the skills to captivate everyone in attendance.
Juliette started her musical training at an early age: classical piano and operatic vocal training at age eight and fourteen, respectively. Coupled with a sophisticated literary palate, Miss Jules draws her musical inspirations from authors such as Voltaire, Steinbeck, Kafka, and Oscar Wilde. Not exactly bedtime reading for a 16-year-old. But her taste in literature certainly parallel’s the thematic complexity that decorates Black Crow’s mature soundscape.
The opening number, ‘Johnny Was,’ is a cautionary tale that hums with a mellow sadness. An acoustic piano twinkles in the high register between melodic phrases. As simplistic as it is, the song seems to have a full sound, rich with texture. All the rhythms and notes seem to interlock effortlessly, like a musical jigsaw puzzle.
The title track, ‘Black Crow,’ maintains continuity with the following song by reiterating twinkling keys in the exposition. It also shares themes of sadness and remorse, but takes a turn with a tinge of morbidity, similar to that of a 17th century lullaby (e.g. rock-a-bye baby). Rather, the song has a black crow falling out of a tree; the black crow is personified from the opening line: ‘Black crow sings our song / between the river and the pond / so angry, it leaves it’s nest / breaks its wings, screaming like deaf.’ The song reminds us that we’re mortal and accentuates our impending yet fleeting race to the grave.
Juliette Jules has smooth sometimes-smoky vocals that swirl into your ear like a soft mist. Her bluesy tone is not unlike Norah Jones’ yet her writing style and lyrical themes are so much darker. Her copious knack for introspection can easily be attributed to such heavy-handed tastes in literature, which seem to complement her poignant melodies and warm vocals. Black Crow is a terrific work that demands the listener’s attention and requires their patience. Give it a listen, and decide for yourself: Black Crow EP