Grrrls in the Five Boroughs – Julia Klot Packs an Emotional Sucker Punch with “Boxing Gloves”

Since moving to New York, I’ve been introduced to a ton of local artists, both organically and at the hands of friends who’ve already been living here. In this series of interviews, Grrrls in the Five Boroughs, I sit down with inspiring womxn and queer femme musicians based in New York City to discuss their personal connections to music, their communities, and their favorite local hotspots scattered across their neighborhoods in New York.

There are a variety of reasons why a relationship might come to a sour end. One party could be fed up with playing the caretaker role without the other person reciprocating, their personalities might start to clash after getting older, or someone might ghost their supposed friend or significant other out of thin air. But nothing is more exhausting than feeling trapped in a toxic entanglement with a petty individual who you once believed you could trust with your life. That’s why platonic breakups are often significantly more painful than romantic ones.

New York indie soul-pop chanteuse Julia Klot tackles this universal struggle head-on in her latest single, “Boxing Gloves.” Her velvety smooth alto croons and clever cunning wit sets a biting tone with elegant sass in lines such as, “I know you like to have control/A queen would pass the crown.” With flourishing synths, horn arrangements from a full backing band, and an addictive piano groove, the new single serves as a primer for the more soulful and serene direction Klot plans on taking her sound in as she continues to work on her next project.

A Grrrl’s Two Sound Cents caught up with Julia Klot to discuss her current love of Sammy Rae and her recent shift in a new sonic direction for her upcoming EP.

How would you describe yourself to a stranger?

I’m a singer-songwriter who’s been writing songs since the age of ten. I record, release, and perform piano-based soul pop. I’ve been gigging around New York City for years and I’m currently enrolled in a masters program at SUNY Purchase studying studio composition, and I’m about to graduate.

You’ve studied music since the age of ten. When did writing come into the picture?

I’ve actually been playing the piano since the age of six, so I was exposed to songwriting pretty early through that. Most of it was joke songs about easter candy and stuff. But my instructors were very supportive and so were my parents. I started writing when I was ten, and when I was fourteen I recorded my first album with an independent label. It was a really great experience because I got to learn the ropes of studio session work and collaborating with all these professionals for the first time really opened my eyes to being able to do this as a career. I went to Purchase to study composition more thoroughly, which helped me master my craft even more.

Are you originally from New York or did you migrate here?

I’m actually from here! I’m really lucky because I couldn’t picture myself anywhere else. I was raised in Brooklyn, and now I’m a Manhattan girl. Brooklyn will always be my true home. I grew up in Windsor Terrace in the Park Slope area.

You’ve currently got an EP in the works. What makes this project stand out from your previous output?

It’s definitely a new sound for me. I think my past work involved me trying really hard to find my sound and fall into a groove. My go-to genre has been very singer-songwriter based, and I feel like I’m definitely shifting into a more concrete pop sound that remains true to my piano-based style, but is also more thought out in terms of production and instrumentals, and my songwriting has also shifted to match that.

I love the jazzy piano-based soul sound your leaning into. Who would you say are your biggest musical influences?

For the longest time, Sara Bareilles has been my ultimate inspiration. I rely on a lot of her arrangements for my own music a lot. More recently, I’ve been really into bands like Sammy Rae & The Friends and a smaller up-and-coming band called Melt who have a similar sound that’s very groovy, funky, upbeat and it’s also the kind of music where if you go see a live performance, you’ll really feel the energy radiating off the stage.

Would you tell me a little about your new single “Boxing Gloves” and how it came about?

I’ve been sitting on this song for a while. I wrote it two years ago about a friendship that wasn’t working anymore. A lot of repressed anger came out. But aside from it being a cathartic release, I knew I wanted to take my sound in a new direction as soon as I wrote it. I went in the studio with a new producer, we picked out a keyboard sound, we started writing the horn arrangements, and we got so many different musicians to come into the studio and it was a very collaborative process. We kept adding things on even after adding the horns and the full band. So it’s been in the making for a while, but I’m excited to get it out there and kickstart my new era.

What’s your favorite recent live music experience you’ve had?

I performed at Mercury Lounge last summer. It was my first performance with a full band since COVID. It was an hour-long set on a bill that I put together with a bunch of my friends, and it was one of the most fun performances I’ve done.

What does the rest of the year have in store for Julia Klot?

I’m still working on finishing the EP, so I’m exciting to release new songs from that. I also just recorded a live session for one of my previous albums, and I also have around ten songs I’ve been sitting on that I’m hoping to transform into an album! Thanks for having me.







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