The Creativity Interviews: Singer-songwriter, Juliana Finch

As part of my ongoing quest to explore what it means to live a creative life, I periodically corner unsuspecting (but very kickass) creatives (writers, musicians, artists, photographers) and browbeat beg invite them to answer five questions about creativity. The questions are always  the same (except for the last one, where my list of building materials varies). The answers, of course, are different every time (and fun and funny and insightful and honest).

Today’s episode:

Singing, spying and the best revenge

Juliana FinchI can’t remember how I stumbled onto this week’s victim, Georgia-based singer, songwriter, poet, creative coach Juliana Finch, but I do know that from the moment I heard her sing “Glass Heart,” I was hooked. (I so loved that song, I used it for the Love Manifesto video.)

Juliana has been featured at the Nashville Pride Festival; the Bele Chere Festival in Asheville, North Carolina; Ladyfest South; The Atlantis Music Conference; and was selected for the prestigious Falcon Ridge Folk Festival’s Emerging Artist Showcase in 2008. She’s played songwriter showcases at such iconic venues as Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta, the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, and been featured several years in a row at 99x’s Unplugged In The Park Concert Series.

You can follow her on Twitter, friend her on Facebook , listen to and download her music on JulianaFinch.com, and read about “the art of creativity” at WritePlayRepeat.com.

(Note: She crooned all her answers to me, because she is exactly that awesome.) ~~~~~

j: Life is demanding. What are your tricks for getting into a creative space?

Juliana: I have to have a routine. It took a really long time for me to accept that, because I like to think of myself as this free spirit, can’t-tie-me-down artist. The idea of a set way to do things felt somehow constraining for awhile. I finally realized that the only way for me to be productive is to show up every day, try to fit my life around this task instead of wandering around aimlessly waiting for inspiration to strike.

So now, I get up every day, meditate for a little while, make a big pot of coffee and write for a couple of hours. I like to do it first thing in the morning so that the rest of my day doesn’t get in the way of it. Really, the rest of my day doesn’t begin until that part of my life is taken care of. I’m still a free spirit, but I get a lot more writing done now.

j: What’s the weirdest thing that inspires you?

Juliana: Eavesdropping. I used to be embarassed to admit this, but I eavesdrop as often as possible. People are constantly telling incredible stories, or speaking in an interesting way (dialects, idioms, etc.) and I love to listen to that, whether I’m the intended audience or not. I don’t go out of my way to do it – there’s no Harriet The Spy stuff going on – but if you’re on a first date at a restaurant and I’m the next table over, chances are I can hear you. I’ve gotten some really great ideas for songs that way. There are stories everywhere.

j: How do you deal with critics?

Juliana: Constructive criticism has its place. If the source is trusted, informed, and compassionate, criticism can be a great ally in making an OK work a great one. That said, most critics don’t fall into that category. My mom always said “Consider The Source.” Where is the criticism coming from? What’s the motivation behind it? If they’re doing it to resolve some issue of their own, that is not my “stuff” to deal with. It still stings, of course, and for that I tend to run to a piece of dark chocolate and a bubble bath. But once I recover from the initial hurt, when I’m rejected or criticized, I use that as fuel to keep going and keep trying. The best revenge is never quitting.

j: What energizes you, solitude or engagement?

Juliana: On the Meyers-Briggs scale I get an “X” in the Extravert/Introvert category. I absolutely need both, often in equal measure. I love to be out in the world, gathering data if you will. I take in lots of art, music, performances, talk to lots of people, get inspired by my creative friends… but then I take that all home, and it doesn’t really become something until it’s had time to gestate. That gestation period requires solitude and reflection. So both are really necessary for me to function, and I love the sense of balance I feel when I’m able to honor both sides of my personality.

j: Scrap metal, beach glass, a hanger, and super glue: What will you make?

Juliana: I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a pretty epic disco ball coming on. Dance, anyone?

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18 Responses to The Creativity Interviews: Singer-songwriter, Juliana Finch

  1. j May 31, 2012 at 7:50 am #

    Thank you for doing this with me, Juliana!

    I laughed when I read about your resistance to a schedule. Me too! And even when faced with the unqualified historical proof that I was far more productive if I sat down daily and did the work, I had to learn that fact again when I wrote The Love Essays. I like your comment that you’re still a free spirit but you get a lot more writing done now. Exactly!

    And, I thought of several things to make with the supplies I gave you (a shiny robot, a flashy antenna, a really uncomfortable but epic art deco bra…) but nothing as cool as a disco ball!

    • jules June 1, 2012 at 7:40 am #

      Thanks so much for having me. I loved doing it. And yeah, I just have to find other ways to feel rebellious now. ;)

  2. C. Fassett May 31, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    I LOVE this! Thank you so much for sharing Juliana with us, j! And thank you Juliana! I love the song “Anti-Socialize.” Your voice is beautiful! And I can identify with the words. This post is inspiring, and so are the two of you, j and Juliana. I so needed the reminder of “the best revenge.” Thanks again <3

    • j May 31, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

      One thing I love about these interviews is the possibility of introducing you guys to fantastically talented artists (and artists to my fantastically talented community), which is why I was enormously excited when Juliana said yes. After I posted (of course, because my timing is perpetually off), I thought, “I wish I’d offered to give one of Juliana’s CDs to a lucky commenter.

      I may do it anyway. I’m like that. :)

    • C. Fassett June 1, 2012 at 5:48 am #

      Ohhhh….I’d love to be the lucky commenter! I would so wear that CD out! :D

    • Juliana June 1, 2012 at 7:38 am #

      Thank you so much for reading! And I have to remind myself over and over not to quit. We ALL go through that. Best of luck!

    • j June 3, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

      Cindy, your enthusiasm is irresistible. Stay tuned for our prize, lovely lady! xo

  3. Annie Neugebauer (@AnnieNeugebauer) May 31, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    It was so much fun to read someone else’s answers to these questions! And J, I like how you changed the materials in the last one. Juliana, I love your answers — especially the one about eavesdropping. I’m guilty of that too. :)

    • j May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

      I asked Juliana if she’d rather use your list of building materials or get her own and she enthusiastically said, “Give me my own!” (Which is just what I thought she’d say.) I love the eavesdropping thing too. I wonder if that’s a byproduct of being a writer… everything is fodder (in the best possible way).

  4. Pam May 31, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    “The best revenge is never quitting.” I love that!

    I want to see the disco ball.

    • j May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

      I want to see you boogie under the disco ball, dancing queen.

  5. Nuttin' May 31, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    I was almost lucky enough to hear Juliana live last year. Hopefully soon.
    Great voice.
    Great spunk.
    Great answers.

    • j May 31, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

      Couldn’t agree more!

    • jules June 1, 2012 at 7:39 am #

      ALMOST?! We have to fix this. Where do you live? ;)

  6. Milli Thornton (@fearofwriting) May 31, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

    Another great interview. I adored all of Juliana’s responses. Learned a lot about her – and myself too!

    • j May 31, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

      Did you notice? Another voice for a bit of structure in the chaotic creative mix!

  7. NM (@echo90803) May 31, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    Me three on the eavesdropping thing. Hearing what people say is simply fascinating a lot of the time! Thanks for introducing us to Juliana…I’m off to listen to her now!

    xo

    • j May 31, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

      You’ll love her. Promise. Even The Boy likes to listen to Juliana sing.

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