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Mission Makers Podcast | London | UK

S4: EP 6

THE RISE OF

JULY KARMA

 
Julya Karma 2_edited.jpg

Concluding our extensive coverage of Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) in 2023, we recorded an exclusive episode at the renowned Soho House with one of the music industry's fastest-rising talents, Julya Karma. 

 

Taking her listeners through uplifting melodies, and dark, hypnotic grooves, Julya tells her audience what words cannot. Based in Brooklyn with her roots stemming from Lebanon, Julya’s prowess as a selector and infectious energy in the booth has consistently delivered utter elation on dance floors across the world, including The Brooklyn Mirage, Time Warp, and Afterlife to name few. Her DJ journey has also seen her appear alongside heavy-hitting artists like Rufus du Sol, Adriatique, Tale of Us, Sven Vath, Dixon, and Mind Against. At ADE, she was playing at one of the hottest shows in the week at the W for Cercle and the Future of Dance presented by 1001 Tracklists. It was Julya’s first time at ADE and we could feel the excitement pulsating through her sets for this special moment!

 

ADE serves not only as an empowering meeting ground for upcoming artists, but also as a place where negotiations, strategies, and the future of electronic music are shaped. Listen back to some of our previous episodes with managers, agents, label owners, and headline artists for invaluable golden nuggets from our time with them at ADE.

We commence our conversation by exploring the meaning of her name. As we learn, ‘Julya’ means youthful and dedicated to Jupiter. Julya happily confirms to us that ‘Karma’ is her surname. It was unsurprising then to hear that she wanted to keep this element in her artistic alias, feeling an intrinsic connection to her name that has innately guided her towards knowing that she is pursuing her life’s purpose.

THE SUBCONSCIOUS ROLE OF CHILDHOOD

Sharing flashbacks of her memories of growing up in California,  Julya reminisces about her earliest memories of music through learning the classical piano. Throughout her childhood, the soundwaves emanating from the Karma household were a diverse fusion of traditional Middle Eastern music, jazz, and psychedelic rock. These influences and the beautiful meaning of her surname naturally played a subconscious role in her curating sets that aim to bring her dancefloor towards higher levels of consciousness and to tell stories about the gift of life.

Growing up in the US during the explosion of Swedish House Mafia and EDM, Julya’s first raving moment was in Las Vegas witnessing the spellbinding power of Avicii. It immediately inspired her to start learning the art of djiing, with production following along soon after.  Much has been documented about the impact of EDM opening up the minds of listeners to other genres of house music, and Julya soon started to venture down the rabbit hole of deeper and darker sounds.

THE FRESH START OF A NEW CITY

She moved to New York with zero contacts in the industry to pursue the musical dream, and through sheer hustle, determination, and focus on intentional networking, she managed to carve out opportunities to play. Every weekend she would frequent her favorite collectives and venues such as Afterlife and the Brooklyn Mirage, first starting on the dancefloor, and eventually receiving the opportunity to go backstage. This naturally became a big turning point in building crucial relationships with artists who helped her start getting bigger bookings. It was only a matter of time before she caught the attention of the industry, and her rocket ship started taking off. Despite the roadblock of Covid-19 appearing along the way, Julya has managed to achieve remarkable things like being one of the very few female artists to join the Afterlife family.

THE COMPLEXITIES OF EQUALITY

As two female artists engaged in this dialogue, it was important for us to exchange thoughts about the complexities of gender equality. Reflecting on her experiences, Julya expresses that while she found joy in the production process, she only noticed a shift in how seriously her career was taken once she began releasing records. The pressure to produce is something that instilled in her a determination to prove her worthiness to be booked on lineups based on her DJ skills alone, which she ardently advocates for. She emphasizes the need for greater empathy within the industry, allowing artists who choose not to produce to still find success with understanding and respect.

By maintaining a laser focus on honing her craft, and being extremely disciplined with non-negotiable habits like meditation, digital detoxes, and mindful eating, Julya has managed to stay consistent in performing at her absolute peak week in and week out as the opportunities get bigger and bigger. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for her!

We also uncover:

  • The role of mentorship

  • The journey of getting signed

  • Julya’s approach to record digging

  • The intricacies behind her creative process

  • Balancing the positives and negatives of social media 

  • How the principles of Burning Man impact her day-to-day life

If you’d like to listen, head to the Mission Makers podcast for the full conversation. 

 

This episode can be found in the video below and on iTunes and Spotify.

 

Be sure to like and subscribe to hear our future episodes.

Lessons To Fuel Your Mission
  • network with intention

  • growth and nurturing networks take time

  • understand someone's skill truly for the art form they are representing and not for other skills the industry demands of them

 

WATCH A SNEAK PEEK OF OUR CONVERSATION

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