Julia Nunes: Homesick Anthems Spawn An Internet Star | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Julia Nunes: Homesick Anthems Spawn An Internet Star

Julia Nunes (pronounced "noonz") grew up in New York State, but went to college far away from her hometown friends and family. To keep in touch, she posted videos to YouTube — mostly goofy scenes from her dorm room.

Late at night, when she was shooting these vignettes, she also started recording herself playing ukulele and singing. Sometimes she performed original material, but she mostly stuck to covers of songs by Kanye West, Destiny's Child and others — including the song "Gone." The original artist, Ben Folds, saw the video and asked her to open for him on tour.

"When I got the email saying, 'Open up for Ben Folds this May,' I thought it was spam," Nunes says. "His manager called my mom and said, 'Hey, Julia is ignoring Ben.'"

Last month, Nunes released an album that her fans helped finance through a Kickstarter campaign.

"I was really apprehensive at first — I didn't think fans would understand why all of a sudden I needed money," she says. "I had been making CDs for years without it, so why now? Easy to explain: I was working with friends. I wasn't using the best production or the best equipment. At this point in my career, I felt like I wanted to make the best thing that I possibly could. I made a budget of $18,000 for all 18 songs, 16 days at the studio, no room for breaks. I thought even that was too high for people to understand. I set it at $15,000 — that was a small enough number for people to grasp."

Nunes ended up raising $78,000. That album, Settle Down, is out now.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Justified' Creator Aims To Stay True To The Late Writer Elmore Leonard

The FX series, now in its final season, is based on Leonard's novella Fire in the Hole. Showrunner Graham Yost says, "I look at this show as Elmore Leonard's show, and we're all in service of him."
NPR

Is Colorado Primed To Become The Silicon Valley Of Agriculture?

Colorado's food and ag industries have been growing two to four times faster than the state's economy overall. Economists are getting ever more hopeful about cornering the market on ag innovation.
NPR

Indiana's Governor Signs 'Religious Freedom' Bill

Among other things, the controversial new law would allow owners of businesses in the state to deny services to same-sex couples.
NPR

Can Republicans Get Ahead In The 2016 Digital Race?

When Sen. Ted Cruz threw his hat into the ring, it happened first on Twitter. Political news is breaking more and more on social media, and both sides face different challenges in reaching out.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.