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Beyond Lyrics Musical Evolution Explored with Judelyn

By Ivan Gomez

Your musical journey began at the age of 14. What inspired you to dive into the world of music at such a young age, and how has your journey shaped your identity as an artist?

My interest in music began a few years before 14, as the first artist I discovered was Melanie Martinez in 6th grade. I remember being so amazed at her creativity and how creative she was and the character she made for herself. I remember watching YouTube videos of her live performances and interviews and knowing I wanted to be able to express myself like her. I started singing covers of her songs, and then in 7th grade my cousin introduced me to Lana Del Rey. This only further expanded my interest of singers’ artistry. I had lost my grandmother Judy unexpectedly in 7th grade a couple of weeks before my first talent show, and the first time she would’ve heard my voice. I ended up singing “Hey Jude” by the Beatles in her memory. This occurred when I was 14, and the reason why I say my career started then. This was when I started to have a purpose in my art. I remember being in science class brainstorming different names to use for my character, and Judelyn was the name I came up with. This was when I taught myself how to play guitar, and started posting covers and writing my own songs. The first song I ever wrote was “I’ll Never Understand” for my sister. Then during quarantine, I started live-streaming and building more of an online presence, trying to get myself out into the world and connecting more. Later in the fall of 2020, I lost my grandpa. He was a big supporter of my music and this hit me pretty hard. I started crafting my character even further and came up with relating moths to my grandpa and butterflies to my grandma, and this is why I have a tattoo of each on my arms. To me, butterflies symbolize light, feminine energy, and life. And moth symbolize dark, masculine energy, and death. I like to feel very balanced in my image, so I’m always playing around with my look in how to achieve this, my latest appearance change being my hair. I’d like to look as unique as possible, as well as for my music to reflect that.

You released your debut album, “I’ll Never Understand,” in March 2023. What was the inspiration behind the album, and how did the creative process unfold?

I started writing the album in 2019 (when I was 14), and wrote most of it that year, with the exception of “Autumn Leaves” in which I wrote in 2020. I wrote about topics including anxiety, yearning, and people-pleasing, as well as self-image, major life changes, and relationship struggles. Since I wrote the album so young, I hadn’t gone through the experiences I wrote about until later on, so when I went through something I thought “Wow, how did I know I was going to experience this?” And it became pretty astonishing to me. I had worked with a lot of producers and had a hard time finding one who understood me as an artist and the sound I ultimately wanted to end up with. I feel like the most frustrating thing for me was how long it took to get the album out, as I did write it when I was just 14, and released it at 18. You can only imagine how much I’ve evolved since then, and my next projects will reflect that. My next project I’m going to release I wrote when I was 16, so I’m pretty behind in releasing what I’ve been working on as I only have one album released but in my writing journey, I’m on album three. As for my inspirations for the first album, I’d say the biggest ones are Lana Del Rey, and Beabadoobee.

How have past experiences shaped you as an individual, as well as your artistry?

Most of my life I never fit in and was pretty bullied. People picked on me all the time and I turned to people-pleasing to try to fit in. I only recently realized that there’s only so much you can do to try to fit in when you were born to stand out. I started to embrace who I am as an artist and individual instead of constantly swimming against the tide. It has been rough to say the very least, but I have noticed that I have not only gained more respect from others, I have become so much more confident in myself.

What has been the most memorable experience from your past performances, and how do you feel your stage presence has evolved over the years?

I feel like two monumental performances for me have to be the first High school Rock off at the Rock Hall and the first time I had opened for a band at the Rialto Theatre both for different reasons. The Rock Hall performance will always be special to me because it gave me a taste of what performing was actually about, and I got to perform my own songs for quite the crowd. I knew since then that I had a twisted kind of relationship with adrenaline and performing. Its very stressful to perform on stage as I have very bad stage fright and social anxiety, but once I am off stage I feel very accomplished and the adrenaline that comes with it becomes very addictive. I love to push myself as much as I can. As for the Rialto performance, I got to open up for Cleveland’s 2023 best alternative band “Recess” on their tour. This was really huge for me because I was so used to performing at competitions, and this time I was actually seen as an artist and wasn’t being judged on my performance, and I could truly be myself. This was my longest set lasting one hour, and was pretty big for me. Not only did I get to open for this awesome band, I grew to become very close with them as people and we have done a few collaborations since then. Thats what I love most about the current Cleveland scene is how supportive all of the artists have become of each other and the community we have created.

Your performances at the Tri-C High School Rock-Off have become a notable part of your journey. How do you prepare for live shows, and what do you enjoy most about the connection with your audience during these performances?

Before live shows, I like to not think about it too much. I play my pre-performance playlist and try to remember that this is part of my career path and every time I perform I get closer to my goal and reach more people. As I mentioned before, I have very bad anxiety and stage fright, so performing is no easy task. My music is very personal and when I perform, I create a whole atmosphere in the room that seems to grab the attention of the crowd. When I’m onstage, I love to look at individual people in the crowd and sing to them. My music is very emotionally driven, so I also close my eyes a lot to put myself mentally back to where I was when I wrote the song.

How do you collaborate with directors like Logan Kyngston to bring your vision to life?

Logan Kyngston is a very talented videographer, so working with him comes pretty naturally to me. For my latest music video for “Autumn Leaves,” I explained to him that I wanted the cinematography to be very smooth and feel very horror film-inspired. I always have a vision for my songs and am very story-driven, and he always understands what I want to visually capture for the song.

Your music has been described as having a mysterious vibe with unique vocals. How do you cultivate this distinctive sound, and what do you hope listeners take away from your music?

The biggest thing I feel contributes to the final outcome of my music is that I create my art entirely off of emotion and never plan what I create. I like to create everything based off of how I feel, especially those emotions you can’t quite put into words but can feel. Its almost like I’m channeling energy from an outside source when I write, I like to thing that my grandparents are helping me every step of the way from the universe, as sometimes I am very confused at how I create some of the things I do. It feels otherworldly sometimes.

Finally, what’s next for Judelyn? Any upcoming projects or aspirations you’d like to share with your fans?

Currently, I am working on my second album/ep. I started it in 2020 and had to step away from the project in order to focus on the release of “I’ll Never Understand”. So currently I’m getting back into the headspace of the album and am finishing up the writing and then heading back to the studio. Its a very lofi-hiphop, pop vibe and very different from my debut album so I am VERY excited to say the least. I am aiming for a 2024 release as well as attempting to put together a mini tour.

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