By Vee D

Julia Zahra is a talented LGBT+ artist from Holland. Having experienced a lot of support from her home country, Julia is heading towards an album with international appeal. Her soulful pop blend is clear in her intimate single, Indiana. The track touches upon what it’s like to grow up with adopted parents, not knowing what your other life could have looked like. We talked to Julia about musical beginnings, writing and success in the 21st century.

How did your musical life begin?

I think the first time I got in contact with making music for myself was when I tried a musical course of different instruments. I ended up taking saxophone lessons, but after about a year I discovered I wanted to sing. I was about 9 years old when I started singing in a band with my brother and the boy next door. We just wanted to earn a little extra pocket money. After about 5 years of playing school open mics, some bars and other nice amateur gigs, we split up and I picked up a guitar. I started playing all the songs I liked, and spent hours and hours a day with the guitar in my hands. In the beginning it’s very frustrating, but I’m so glad I stuck with it. 

How was the process of writing your album?

Looking back on it now, it was a very healing process for me. All the songs have true discovery about life in them. Some lessons were harder to learn than others. That’s when a more serious song comes out of it. But I always tried to contain it in an uplifting wrapper. 

Was it difficult writing about your birth parents?

It was a little bit difficult at first, when I didn’t quite know yet what I wanted to say in the song. Then it can get really confronting. I had to figure out what the intention was of the song. Was I mad? Or sad? Or just curious? Turned out it was the last one. After figuring that out it got a little bit easier and I just started thinking about the questions and wonders I had. About Indiana, my birth parents and the life I could have had there. 

How would you describe your music?

My music is a reflection of me. The songs are personal stories that almost always have some sort of healing effect on me when I write them. If something is bugging me I have to get it off my chest and write it down. It doesn’t always turn into a song and the songs on the album didn’t all start like this. But most of the time it does. It feels lighter when I can listen to the struggle I had in a song. I hope people can find comfort in my stories and I hope the messages and lessons I learned resonate with them. 

What does musical success look like to you?

Success to me is finding true peace in everything you do. If you feel happy with what you do in your day to day life, and all your activities support some sort of goal you’ve set for yourself, I think you can call yourself successful. To me it doesn’t have anything to do with money or fame, or even worse; power. Musical success would mean to me; writing honest stories over music, releasing them with pure intentions, and then seeing the world because people want to listen to me singing them.