'Embrace' is a five-track EP from Julia Maria, a twenty-one-year-old singer and songwriter based in London – who also happens to be an intern here at LOUD WOMEN HQ! Julia shares her thoughts on creating her first solo project on a one-month anniversary since its release.

I released ‘Embrace’ on 13 May 2022, after working on it for over a year. Making it was therapeutic, and I could not be prouder of it than I am. I lived and breathed this project and went through as many changes as it did.

‘Embrace’ has two meanings: to hold someone in one’s arms and to welcome one with full support. The meaning relates to the cover which I painted myself. I love sharing the meaning behind my music with others, so I hope you enjoy my run through ‘Embrace’.

I wrote the opening song ‘Squeeze‘ in March after my heart got broken. I felt so much pain I had to put it into music. I was disappointed in how short-lived the situationship was and couldn’t help to imagine how it would turn out if I were different. I imagined myself as a partner who accepts poor treatment because they don’t believe they deserve more. From an outsider’s perspective, it’s easy to say ‘just leave them’, but it’s never as easy, especially when your self-worth is so low you feel unworthy of love. Squeeze is the beginning of the journey when you are in immense pain, and all you want to do is numb it with more pain. It features a comforting voice note from my friend, Will Kedge and his electric guitar.

& life went on is much more electronic and features highly processed electric guitars, 808 drums and modified vocal loops. I started writing it in the late summer of 2021 and altered it along the way. This song is about miscommunication leading to an end of a friendship. The original title was ‘& life went on like you never happened’ and was inspired by something I saw in Tate Modern. Unfortunately, I cannot recall what piece of art it was, but that sentence got stuck in my head. I wanted the track to be bittersweet. I lost a friend, but life goes on, I felt pain, but it’s gone.

Waiting is a gentle interlude about… waiting. I wrote it in February this year when I was going through significant life changes. It sonically calls back to Squeeze due to its hypnotic, simple structure. I often get anxious about time slipping through my fingers, and this song is my way of saying it’s okay to wait. It’s the first time that I glance at myself in this EP. Healing is a complex process that takes a lot of time and effort. Some days you don’t even feel like yourself, but if you wait, you will discover yourself again.

I almost scrapped Silly me from ‘Embrace’, but I am glad I didn’t because it’s my favourite song from the project. This song celebrates the love and commitment we give in relationships despite their inevitable end. It features a voice message from my friend and collaborator, Paolo Aniello. He was visiting his family in the summer and sent me the memo around 4 am. I woke up to it and couldn’t help but smile when I heard it. It reminded me that the love I give does not go unnoticed. Our friendship is very special to me. Sometimes we might not understand our points of view, but we never quit on each other. And if we ever do, I will say ‘it was worth it’.

I wrote Embrace at the beginning of 2022. I wanted it to be the last song of the ep that concludes my story. I wrote about feeling alienated from my surroundings as a teenager, but I felt it wasn’t empowering enough and sounded too cheesy. I am a person who analyses everybody in my surroundings and learns from them. I sometimes do that to impress others and feel accepted, but ultimately it makes me forget who I am. Embrace is about being scared to let go but doing it. The bridge is still cheesy, but it marks the beginning of a new chapter. The song ends with a discovery of solace within oneself.

You can listen to ‘Embrace’ and follow Julia Maria for updates on Spotify Apple Music Instagram website