Interview: "Ghost Girl" - Juliet Callahan
‘Ghost Girl’ is so catchy! What is the story behind the song?
Juliet: It is written in the 3rd person about a girl who’s been through a lot but came out the other side stronger, wiser, and more independent/free. I began the writing process from the concept of a “Ghost Girl” which to me symbolizes the ghost of a girl who once
put others before herself, reflected on the pain it caused her, which in turn taught her to love herself and empower herself in the process of moving on. The lyricism came naturally to me as that girl was once me. I wanted to share my perspective in the hope that my listeners, whether they can directly relate to the song or not, can take away that it is okay to feel sad, hurt, or vulnerable. Something valuable I learned is that facing the obstacle of “negative” emotions can help you to let go and discover a whole new side to yourself. Now Ghost Girl is about to hit 100k streams on Spotify and I feel so grateful that it stuck with so many people already.
What does your songwriting process usually look like?
Juliet: I go about songwriting a few different ways depending on the mood I am in and what idea first inspires me. I am also a producer and engineer so sometimes I will start out producing a track then build vocals around that. Other ways I go about writing a song are starting out with a main concept (Ghost Girl is an example of that) then telling a story based on that concept and what it means to me. Lastly, I randomly get inspired with vocal melodies so I'll record it on voice memos, then make a beat in the same key, record the melody topline on Pro Tools, then start writing it based on the melody and the emotion that it is conveying.
*Insert YouTube Video*
How did you begin creating music? What inspires you to continue?
Juliet: Music came naturally to me and a lot of the time I would randomly come up with melodies in my head and so I decided to start recording them on voice memos. Then I eventually wrote my first song on paper after coming up with a verse melody, channeling my emotions and inner thoughts. When I first began writing I knew nothing about the technical AABA songwriting structure so instead I would listen to my favorite songs and take note of their rhyme schemes, then base the song I was writing off of that structure while using my ear to determine if it was sounding cohesive. I am constantly inspired to continue writing music because of its healing power and the strong passion I have for it that continues to grow each day. I could just be walking down the block and see a street sign that inspires a song, a phrase I hear someone say passing by, or pass by an area that sparks an old memory and base a whole song off of it. Music feels like second nature to me and it’s a way for me to share and express my emotions, that alone is inspiring. It is also a very rewarding feeling to be vulnerable with my emotions in my music (which can feel scary sometimes) and then have my listeners reach out to me saying how much they can relate to what I am sharing.
What is your personal favorite out of the songs you have released so far? You can only pick one!
Juliet: Currently I would say Ghost Girl because I love how it gives a badass vibe but is
simultaneously emotional and open. The song came very fast to me and I finished writing and recording all the vocals within the first two hours of the session. At that time I had been working harder than I ever had as a musician and after I finished recording that song it really started to sink in how vastly I had improved as an artist, so it represents a really memorable milestone for me as a musician.
How has living in Los Angeles influenced your music?
Juliet: When I moved to LA two years ago I took my music from being just a hobby to a career path. When I transferred from business school to a music school my music started to rapidly improve. I took courses on Business Entertainment, Music Theory, Ear Training, Songwriting, Production, and Engineering which taught me so much about the industry as a whole and gave me new tools on how to write music. When I started going to music school I got addicted to learning (especially when I really started to notice improvement), which in turn strengthened my determination and passion. LA in itself is also a very inspiring place as a musician. There are so many songs written about LA that I couldn’t fully grasp the meaning behind it until I moved here.
What is some of the best advice you have received?
Juliet: Make it a priority to put in consistent time and effort into your craft and understand that being an artist is not just knowing how to make music. It is important to know the industry as a whole such as your rights as a musician, the business behind it, and the marketing side if you are deciding to pursue music as a career and not as a hobby. You can find all the information you need on the internet so never cease to learn something new and let your curiosity run wild and guide you.
Interviewed By Kendall Koval