Ghanaian producer and DJ, Juls, may be the industry’s best kept open secret. He is responsible for a slew of major hits including, “Bankulize,” “Skin Tight,” “Hollup,” and “Shitor,”–and that’s just the work he’s done for Mr. Eazi. He recently put out his debut full body of work, Leap of Faith featuring artists that we’re all keeping our eyes on including, Odunsi, Maleek Berry, Santi, Nonso Amadi, and more. We caught up with Juls during his stay in D.C. and got a chance to find out more about the rising star.
How did you come up with “Juls?”
Well, my real name is Julian and my mom has been calling me Juls since I was a kid. So I just ran with that. I didn’t want to have any crazy producer name so I just stayed true to myself.
What were you doing prior to producing?
I still have my 9-5. I have a bachelors and masters in Finance, and I’ve been doing that for the last 7 years. However, music has always been my “5-9.” My brother and I also run a magazine together called Signatures. Those are the things we did to make money but we hope we can both work on our creative goals in life, full-time.
Growing up, what were some artists you listen to?
My dad still listens to a lot of jazz and soul like Jim Benson, Barry White, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield. My mom listened to a lot of old school Ghanaian artists. I listen to a lot of hip-hop: Biggie Smalls, Pete Rock, Nas, Jay-Z, etc.
Were your parents supportive of your career change into music?
My parents were supportive of anything I do as long as it didn’t bring any shame. Their main concern wasn’t necessarily, “you need to feed your family” but just remember things could go left. As long as the music is clean and I’m not doing anything crazy, they’re supportive.
As a producer, what is your creative process like in the studio?
So many things. Sometimes an artist comes with an idea or vocals and I work my magic from there or we could build it from scratch. Often, I ask the artist how are they feeling or what kind of vibe do they want. It’s very important to get the artist’s full vibe because with me I can be very eclectic.
Why did you call your project, Leap of Faith?
Big up to Eugy! We were just having a random chat about life and he was like, “you need to take a leap of faith and do this music thing full-time because you have the potential to do something incredible.” The words he used stuck with me the whole time and I challenged myself not only as a producer but working almost like an artist as well. It took about 2 and a half months to finish the album and it’s doing really well. [“Bad” just got a million views]
you need to take a leap of faith and do this music thing full time because you have the potential to do something incredible.
How did you decide which artist to be on a certain song?
With the artist I work with, I just went with the sounds that I’m aware that they’re familiar with and I just add my own element to it. With Nonso Amadi, I know he’s going to be a big star. The first time I got introduced to his music, it was mad!
You’ve previously worked with Mr.Eazi heavily, why wasn’t he on this project?
It was just scheduling, he was on tour and wasn’t able to send his stuff on time. We have songs ready though. I feel like people just expect us to always work on everything together. The magic will always be there but you can’t give the people magic all the time.
Who else would you like to work with in the future?
Wizkid, Davido, Tiwa Savage…and I want to cross over to different genres and work with Sean Paul, Tory Lanez, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole. It just has to be right. A lot of the people who are coming up with tunes that sound like Afrobeats are not authentic and they should come to the source.
A lot of the people that are coming up with tunes that sound like Afrobeats are not authentic and they should come to the source.
Do you have advice for up and coming producers?
You need to find an artist that compliments your sound and you guys need to push it together. Stick to your roots. If you want to merge your sounds just make sure your sound sticks so you keep your identity. I could do a reggae or hip-hop track if I wanted to but it would have to have some Ghanaian elements in it.
Just have Faith.
Interview conducted by Damilare for Onetribemag
Find out Juls’ top 5 afrobeats producers! Watch below