Wichita Recordings new signing Julia Bardo is celebrating her debut EP Phase with a string of UK dates.
Born in Italy and based in Manchester, Bardo has also shared a first track and accompanying video, I Wanna Feel Love. She explains that she wrote the track during a strange moment in her life, saying: “I was in a relationship that didn’t work for me. I felt like I lost my inspiration—There was no colour in my life. I started to think, ‘Is this how I want my life to be? Is my life over at 24? Is this really the way I want to be loved?’ So, I started to write about the way I see love. I’ve always wanted to feel special for someone, I’ve always wanted a fiery and intense, passionate love. And eventually I got it.”
The song’s Italian lyrics feel like a bittersweet farewell to her former life in Brescia, the small city in Northern Italy where she began her musical road by singing and writing lyrics for a local band between shifts at her father’s bar. After finding herself disheartened and uninspired, Bardo’s next phase took her courageously to Manchester, where she would develop her striking, singular style as a solo musician.
“In the video, I impersonate an older version of myself — a more mature woman, almost like a retired film star from the ’60s, who’s been waiting her whole life for something to happen, for love to come” she comments. “The video is about this never-ending wait — waiting for something to end, waiting for something to start, waiting for someone to come home, for a phone call, for someone who’s going to love me.”
‘Phase’ marks a facet of Bardo’s ambitious evolution, and represents an artist’s quest to make music that is entirely her own. At school in Manchester, Bardo met the members of Working Men’s Club, the chugging post-punk English band she would join. Yet she still itched to have full creative control over her music, which she uses as a means to understand herself better. “For me, music is about healing what is hurt inside of me. I heal by writing and talking about what troubles me. I’ve always been very lonely, and I’ve always been very emotional—these things inform my music quite a bit.”
Bardo’s first-written, debut solo single Desire earned attention from The Line of Best Fit and BBC Radio, and saw her enchant audiences at UK festivals like Neighbourhood, Liverpool Sound City and The Great Escape. Yet Phase marks a defining moment for a forward-facing young artist, and comes with a stark warning: don’t get too comfortable. “Phase is a wave, you know; I get inspired and each time I write, it’s an evolution of what I wrote before.”
Bardo’s music illustrates her constantly changing world through journal-like observations that log each trauma and triumph, influenced by the music she grew up with (Italian musicians from the ‘60s such as Mina, Lucio Battisti, Patty Pravo, and other icons of that era like Nancy Sinatra) as well as her modern day heroines (Cate Le Bon, Angel Olsen, Aldous Harding, Lucy Dacus, Sharon Van Etten, Jessica Pratt and Weyes Blood, to name a few). She co-produced Phase alongside The Orielles’ Henry Carlyle Wade at Stockport’s Eve Studios. “It was exciting,” Bardo recalls. “For the first time these songs feel like me.”
Julia Bardo plays Brighton’s CHALK on Sun 1 March 2020. Her EP Phase is released on Fri 6 March, Wichita Recordings
Image by Ashton Hugh