The 19-year-old singer-songwriter Julius Black has a gift for channeling complex emotions into deceptively simple alt pop songs. Raised in Shanghai before relocating to New Zealand, he has always been fascinated by music spanning hip-hop, gospel and punk, but developed his own sound with the help of local musician Ezra Vine (known for his work with Celeste) before finessing it further with Struan Finlay.
After initial singles Mirrors and Summer demonstrated his potential, Julius has released his debut EP Dopamine featuring the track Electric Blue of which Julius says, “‘is about letting go of the great race, some ugly ambition that comes out of my ego, and just letting life flow without resisting it.”
Here, Julius discusses his Music DNA with Andy Howells
What was the first song that made an impact on you?
Maybe something by The Beatles or The Police? I remember loving Come Together and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
What was the first download you bought?
I think I had Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson on an MP3 player when I was probably 8-9.
What was the first album you owned?
I can remember buying Linkin Park Minutes to Midnight maybe right after the Transformers came out?? I was a huge fan of them and I remember living with that album for like a year. (Laughs)
What’s your constant go to track?
Currently its It’s not living if it’s not with you by The 1975. I’ve been a huge fan and my friends are getting annoyed because I put that song on every time I get into any car! (Laughs)
What’s your constant go to album?
Right now, I’m really into Phoebe Bridgers Punisher I think every song on that project is flawless in my opinion.
Who’s your latest music discovery?
I really like this artist called Willum Maindo, he put out his project A Voyagers Motion and I really like Contessa and Archangels.
What’s your own track that best defines you as an artist?
I think maybe Electric Blue. When I wrote it with my friend Joe we referenced melodies from old songs we both love such as Moon River. The production is really lush and a blend of acoustic instruments and I think its really unique.
What’s the track that best defines you as a person?
I think Mirrors is the most honest and vulnerable I’ve been in any song. At the time, I was going through a lot of anxiety about the person I wanted to be just because I had just turned 18 and was trying to figure out what to do. I’m super proud of that song because it reflects a period in my life.