On her new song “27”, Julianna Money is preoccupied with a lot of things. She’s growing older, and even though she’s still young she knows she won’t stay that way forever. She’s ruminating on the inexorable passage of time. She doesn’t know what the future holds for her, except for what the future eventually holds for all of us. Over a delicate acoustic guitar, Money sings: “I’m as young as I’ll ever be/I’m as old as I’ve ever been.” Her voice is rich with feeling, filled with wistfulness for what came before and anxiety for what comes after.
Money namedrops Stevie Nicks, whose “Landslide” partially inspired “27”, and it’s another reminder of the song’s theme. When Nicks sang that “children get older/I’m getting older too”, she was 28 years old; now, she’s 72. Money never directly talks about death, her own or anybody else’s, but the message is clear: time waits for no one, not even Stevie Nicks.
If this all sounds a bit heavy, Money makes sure to offer some hope. Anyone who suffers from anxiety has been told to “live in the moment”, but Money puts that sentiment at the end of “27”, and after the lyrical journey we’ve been on it feels earned. It’s easier said than done, certainly, but there’s no sense in worrying about what you can’t control.
What was the inspiration behind “27”? Was there a story behind it?
It’s less a story than a feeling that had been building in me for a long while. Having crossed over the first hump of existential anxiety in my mid twenties of asking “What am I going to do?”, I sort of entered the next realm of uncertainty which is – “Why am I going to do it? Is there a reason for doing anything? Can I make a mark in this life?” A future full of possibility started to look claustrophobically blank when an infinite amount of choices meant I had nothing to be sure of. It’s just trying to come to terms with that uncertainty and live in the present.
I suppose there is an element of a story in it though – many years ago I heard Stevie Nicks sing
“I’ve been afraid of changing cause I/built my life around you
Time makes you bolder children get older/I’m getting older too”
And I read an interview asking Stevie many years after she wrote that what she thought of that line, or if it sounded silly now that she was so much older and she said something along the lines of “well, I was 28, and you can really start to feel old at that age.”
And that’s always resonated so much with me, especially through my twenties – being young enough to feel like you still don’t know anything, but old enough to know the weight of your decisions and feel crushed by the magnitude of the life that lays ahead of you. As I grew closer to my 28th birthday (which is next week, in fact) it resonated with me more and more, so this song is a tribute to her, in a way. Hence the line “Stevie said she’s ‘afraid of changing/well that’s starin’ down 28”.
You grew up in a musical family. What sort of music surrounded you when you were younger, and how did that shape your own musical journey?
The music I grew up with is a really esoteric mix! I grew up Baptist so there was a lot of Jesus music, and we would periodically purge anything secular, but some good stuff seeped in there. My mother loved Vivaldi and raised me and my siblings on the four seasons. My dad really loved soul music, some rock and roll, and old country. The soundtrack of O, Brother, Where Art Thou? was a huge hit for our family as well. I was the youngest of four, so around age 14 my siblings started to expose me to a lot of alternative music and that’s when I really fell in. One of the first records that I became completely consumed by was Death Cab for Cutie’s “Plans”. I would listen to that and Radiohead and Explosions in the Sky lying in bed with my headphones on, trying not to fall asleep because I couldn’t get enough.
Similarly, how did the musical history of the Chattahoochee Valley region in Georgia, where you grew up, shape you?
The Chattahoochee Valley has a rich tradition of blues, country, and folk. That’s something I didn’t fully appreciate until I got older, but the influence seeped in as I was growing up nonetheless, just by virtue of exposure. I think there is a definite twang to some of my music, and I’ve been really inspired and influenced by the country tradition of laughing through your tears. I think there’s something so beautiful about that that definitely runs through a lot of my music. The blues and folk elements show up strongly through my music as well; a lot of this upcoming record walks the line of folk/indie rock/alternative country and I hope to make a full on blues record one day.
What are your aspirations for the future?
I have so many! Right now I’m looking at getting this record out, and I’m already planning the next couple. I tend to have more written material than I know what to do with, so it would feel wonderful to kind of catch my recordings up with my writing one day. I also have plans to do some world travel when that’s safe again. Currently, I’ve started to get involved in some community work and that’s something I’d like to learn more about and continue to invest myself in over my lifetime. Overall I just want to experience life with open arms and try to share love and authenticity with others, which is really the essence of what I’m trying to do with my music as well.