Women of NC The Lady of La La Land

[14/03/16] 

Tinsletown’s no stranger to starlets searching for stardom under the California sun. In the first of our new series of Women of NC profiles, NecesCity speaks with Asian-American MMA fighter-turned-singer and model Julie Real about her newly released single, her passion for music, and what she loves so much about her adopted home of Los Angeles.

What was the inspiration behind your new single?

My latest song is called Identity. This song is close to my heart. My producer Jordan Porter helped me write it, and the song speaks to us both in different ways. When we wrote it, we were both going through an identity crisis of sorts.

I started singing since I was nine but due to my traditional Asian upbringing, my music career was discouraged, and to please my parents I always did things that I didn’t like. After seeing how unhappy I was, my parents told me to chase my dreams. It was a disheartening decision to choose between mixed martial arts (MMA) and music, but two months ago I decided to stop competing in MMA, realising that if I don’t give a hundred percent to music, I won’t forgive myself. It has taken years to realise I just need to be myself and that is how this song Identity came about.

How would you describe your music?

My music taste is diverse and I grew up listening to all genres. Most of my songs are within the genres of R&B, neo-soul and pop as these allow me to use the singing techniques that I love, such as singing runs, riffs, and belting. I honestly can't compare myself to anyone in particular; my songs are all very different. Some of them sound like Keyshia Cole or K. Michelle, while others sound like Carly Rae Jepsen. All my music is based on my feeling and life story.

Where does your passion come from?

My passion for music has always been there. I remember I was in a pre-school choir and loved to sing. Even though my English was horrible at that time, I'd still sing at the top of my lungs. I love the act of singing and the feeling each note gives you.

How’s the music scene in America? How hard is it to get signed?

It's corrupted and political but I'm sure it’s the same in many other countries. As of now, I am independent. The music industry is very competitive and if it was easy, everyone would do it. There are many labels out there, but only a few big names.

What are the three things we shouldn’t miss in Los Angeles?

The Runyon Canyon Trail, which is a popular hiking spot for celebrities and offers a great view of the city; and Melrose Avenue, a famous spot for shopping that all visitors should check out at least once. Also, there’s an extensive range of restaurants, music venues and bars on Sunset Boulevard that you have to try.

Where do you usually hang out?

You’ll find me at my gym, Blackhouse MMA. It's nice to get some training and to see all my teammates and friends. Other than that, I like hiking, trying new restaurants, and exploring different parts of LA.

Where should we check-in if we want to be close to the action?

I'd say anywhere near Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.

What about grabbing a bite?

For fine dining, you should go to Spago, which is located in Beverly Hills. They have very good Wagyu steaks with potatoes on the side. If you are craving comfort food, I suggest the chain restaurant Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles.

Where do we find the beautiful women of LA?

You can try the 1 Oak on Sunset Boulevard. Though I’ve never been, it has a good reputation. Another hotspot is called Exchange on S. Spring Street, perfect for people who’re into EDM music. But honestly, there are hot girls everywhere in LA. This is the only place I've been to in the US where there is an abundance of beautiful people.

If we were planning a bachelor party in Los Angeles, where should I start?

Strip clubs are popular here. I've heard from my male friends that Dames n’ Games – a topless sports bar and strip club - is the place to go first, and you can end your night at Spearmint Rhino on Olympic Boulevard.

If we feel peckish at 2am, where can we fuel up?

I'd say go to Alhambra and the Monterey Park area as they always have great food there till late, or you can head to Mel's Diner if you're in the Hollywood area.

If we’re going to LA during summer, where can we cool off in style?

Malibu beach! You can go there anytime besides winter months as it's almost always sunny in California.


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