Julia Nunes Wins The Internet — From YouTube To Kickstarter & Beyond
The internet loves Julia Nunes. She has cultivated a fiercely loyal fan base while blazing new trails for musicians in the internet era every step of her career. From utilizing YouTube to reach millions from her bedroom in 2008, to raising over $77K via Kickstarter in 2011 when few bands had utilized the service, to embarking on a sold-out living room tour rather than book traditional venues, she always seems one step ahead of the music business.
Now, she’s done it again by raising $25K+ in 24 hours for her new album despite not heavily touring, recently moving to LA, and relying primarily on social media and video to connect with fans between albums. We reached out to Julia and asked her some questions about her online prosperity.
To what do you attribute your sustained online influence and ability to connect so deeply with fans?
Julia: Oh man, I have no idea. I think it’s because I just really love interacting with people online. I grew up right when the internet was becoming a way to connect with people. I remember freaking out over AIM as a 13 year old, and I feel the same way now over Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube. I think people enjoy seeing someone have fun and that’s what I’m doing.
What were your expectations launching your second Kickstarter campaign considering all that’s changed in the music industry and your own career since your last effort to crowd-fund an album in 2011? Furthermore, it’s interesting that you’ve straightforwardly asked fans to assist in funding promotional efforts in addition to recording costs. Your fans clearly are eager to help fund that element of a new album too; what inspired you to include this in your Kickstarter narrative?
Julia: My expectations were low. They’re always pretty low, no one is entitled to success or money or attention, you just have to make something worthy of those things and the scary thing about art is you never know if what you’re making is going to be good enough. My only barometer is whether or not I love it, AND I DO. I love this album so much. So, my hopes are high, expectations are low. My decision to include the promo aspect is really just me being honest and transparent which I think is super important when you’re asking people for their hard earned cash.
Your online fame has not been fleeting as it has been for most “YouTube Stars.” At what point did you realize that you could go beyond racking up views and actually harness it to sustain an independent career in music?
Julia: I think the last Kickstarter (about 3 years ago) was the first time I really realized I didn’t need a record label or some kind of “big break” to have a sustainable career. Having a loyal and supportive fan base is stronger than any contract.
What advice would you give other musicians hoping to share creative content with fans in a way that’s genuine and not contrived?
Julia: You have total control over being genuine. Make something you love, make something you’ve never heard before. Try to capture an idea that has always alluded you and put it to music. OH AND ALSO work with good people. Joanna Katcher, the producer of this album has expanded my musical horizons and upped the ante on the whole album.
You’ve implied that the new album is deeply personal; what are you looking forward to most in sharing the new record with fans while embarking on another big living room tour?
Julia: I’m excited to share the stories behind each song. Living room tours are amazing for so many reasons but the storytelling aspect is probably my favorite. You can have a genuine conversation with the crowd because you’re just chilling in a living room with them and I’m a pretty open person so we get into the nitty gritty, the good, the bad, the hilarious.
It’s been exciting to watch Julia’s musical career progress as she’s harnessed the power of the internet and social media. With over $40K now raised, she’s proven that an independent artist can make it. Keep an eye on Julia as she continues to innovate and create awesome music!