Earlier this week Vans Warped Tour rolled through town, and with it came Juliet Simms. With a new EP, All or Nothing, released this year Juliet is building momentum and quickly becoming an icon to her growing and dedicated fan base. She took the time to speak with us about her experiences on Warped Tour, her jewelry line, and the many messages that she wants to share with her fans.
Cynthia Good: So what’s it like to be a girl on Warped Tour?
Juliet Simms : Oh it’s great you know, being a girl on Warped Tour definitely has its challenges, it’s a little more difficult for girls than it is for guys. You know, we have makeup and MOST of the guys don’t have to wear makeup. We have makeup and hair and the fact that it’s dirty and grimy and long hours you’ve gotta have a lot of endurance. You’ve gotta be a tough chick to be on this tour for sure. But over the years having done it so many times and having been touring for so long for me it’s gotten to the point where it’s actually kind of a breeze. It doesn’t hurt that I have an incredibly awesome band who helps out and crew, my tour manager being fucking bomb, and us being a really good team together.
You have a jewelry line now, can you tell me about that? How did it get started?
JS : Absolutely! It actually got started on Warped Tour in 2011. My band Automatic Loveletter had just written and recorded an acoustic record called The Kids Will Take Their Monsters On and the first song off the record is called “Never Take It Off”. So, I wanted to come up with a merchandise idea that would not only be good for branding and selling on the road, but something that would be a help flow towards fans. Meaning something that would give them a piece of hope or empowerment or whatever it may be. With the struggles and issues that kids are dealing with these days, if there’s anything I can do to help I want to. So I came up with the Never Take It Off bracelets, that was the first piece of jewelry that the company started to make. So basically the whole premise behind the idea of Never Take if Off is that you make a vow or a promise to yourself, something that you want to cut out of your life, something that’s not good for you. Or, it could be a message of “I will be better at this…” whatever it may be. It’s a personal thing for each person that wears it. You tie it on and that bracelet represents that important thing to you. Four years later now the company has ten employees, and we’ve actually signed other artists onto the company. For instance Andy Biersack or Kellin Quinn or Tyler Carter will create a line for the company based around their art and their message that they can then give to their fans.
In your jewelry line you’re trying to provide something positive for your fans to hold on to, does that relate at all to your music?
JS : Absolutely, one hundred percent. I started writing songs at a very young age and they were also geared kind of towards heartbreak and sort of the emotions you can go through as a teenager and the ups and down struggles of life. Whether its depression and being sad, or even feeling like you need something to lift you up. The way that I have written my songs have definitely always been talking about that a lot but how you can get out of it and especially the new EP that I just released, All or Nothing, is entirely based around empowerment and not giving in and staying true to who you are. “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel”, so to speak.
Obviously your music came first and then your jewelry line, did you have a passion for jewelry before you started creating music?
JS : Ever since I was three years old I was always in my mom’s and grandmother’s jewelry and dress up clothes and putting on shows for my family and fashion has definitely been something always in my life. Even since I was a little girl I always, always had to have the right jewelry to go with my outfit so fashion has definitely been something in my whole life.
There’s a lot of criticism out there about musicians competing in contests like The Voice and American Idol, are you criticized for being on The Voice?
JS : No, I don’t. Here’s the thing, I was a sceptic. I was one-hundred percent one of those people that was like , you know I hate people that wake up one day and are like “well, I think i’m gunna be a singer and i think im gunna go on a competition show and win a record deal and be a huge pop star”. And thats happened, you know? And more power to them. My thought process always was no, you write your own songs, you get in a band, you get in a garage, and you suck, and you play over and over and over and over again, and you tour and you tour and you tour, and you fucking work your way up. I did all that. For a very long time. I was definitely at the end of my rope at the end of 2011 having been through nearly five record deals. A lot of people have this misconception that Automatic Loveletter was a band. It wasn’t, I was the one who was signed, I was the one who wrote all the songs, I was the one that recorded all the songs with professional musicians, in a studio, with a producer. The band members were filtering in and out and it was a major label thing they put together. But, the songs were always mine. I see kids say “She thought she could break off from her band and make it on her own.”, but it was my band. It was all me. So after The Voice came to me and said “We’d like to do a closed audition the producers really love your music and your voice, and they think that you would do really well on the show.”. So I was like “Okay…”.
It’s interesting that they actually came to you.
JS : Yeah, I wouldn’t just go and search it out myself. I would have never have been on the show had they not come to me and asked me to do a closed audition for the producers of the show. And so I went, they loved me, and I got past the next round of auditions. I was still skeptic the entire time. I was still like “Oh my god, what am I doing? Am I throwing away all the hard work I’ve done throughout the years?”. Next thing you knew I was team Cee-Lo and then it was just a whirlwind. All of a sudden I was top four and then runner-up.
So if you went back would you do it again?
JS : I don’t know, honestly. The process of being on the show was really fun, the aftermath wasn’t so much. It was a lot of promises that weren’t kept and major labels, all they see is green and how they can make money. It was ironic, all I did was classic rock and blues on the show, but once I got off the show they wanted me to do like Ke$sha pop, that type of music. What a lot of kids also don’t know is that I hear “She took three years to release and EP” and its like well two of the years were spent battling a record label to not put out music that was utter shit. That’s why, because it would’ve ruined my career. It could’ve ruined what I was as an artist and I could’ve lost a lot of fans. Wild Child was an okay song, but that…you should’ve heard the song they were trying to get me to release before that song. That was like us meeting in the middle. And so, after Wild Child came out it was just like what they wanted me to do was completely against my integrity of who I am as an artist so that’s why I left Universal Records and did Pledge Music and CrowdFunding.
You’ve also collaborated with several other artists, who was your favorite to work with?
JS : Well I mean I have to say Black Veil Brides. Definitely Andy would be my number one. I had a create time collaborating with Alex from All Time Low. I always love Remembering Sunday. Still to this day I love that song. I did a cover with Every Avenue back in the day, that was fun. Those guys are all really good friends of mine, we toured a lot together. I can’t say i’ve ever had any bad experiences.
Can we look forward to any future collaborations?
JS: Obviously me and Andy will always try to work together when we it’s possible. I don’t know who, Kate in production won’t tell me, but someone really big came to her the other day asking about me doing a collaboration with the. So somebody wants to do a collaboration with me! We’ll see.
Anything else you’d like to share with your fans?
JS : Pretty much what I say all the time is that I have the best fans in the world. They’re so loyal. They’ve been with me for so long and without them I wouldn’t be doing this so thank you guys, and I love you.
We’d like to thank Juliet for taking the time to talk with us. Her EP All or Nothing is out now, and her jewelry line, Never Take It Off, is available on tour and at her website: http://julietsimms.com/
Photo Gallery of Juliet Simms performing on July 21, 2015 at the Scranton date of the Vans Warped Tour :