Julia Nunes

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Julia Nunes
Julia Nunes by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Julia Nunes in June 2012.
Background information
Also known as "jaaaaaaa" (YouTube user name)
Born (1989-01-03) January 3, 1989 (age 29)
New York
Origin Fairport, New York, United States
Genres Acoustic pop,[1] Indie pop
Instruments Ukulele, Guitar, Melodica, Piano, Vocals
Labels Rude Butler Records, DFTBA Records[2]
Associated acts Jack Conte, Nataly Dawn, Pomplamoose, Greg Holden, Ben Folds, Ben Kweller, Lauren O'Connell, Ian Axel, Mike Comite, Walk off the Earth, Cathedrals & Cars, The Mowgli's, Watsky
Website julianunes.com

Julia Nunes (born January 3, 1989)[3] is an American singer and songwriter from Fairport, New York.[4] Her career has progressed online through her videos of pop songs on YouTube[5] in which she sings harmony with herself and plays acoustic instruments, primarily the ukulele, guitar, melodica and piano.


Nunes was born into a musical family in New York. Her father is a pianist and a composer of children's songs. One grandfather was a composer of Portuguese fado music and the other a jazz pianist. Nunes started piano lessons at age seven before switching to the guitar in her teens. She started writing songs at age 14 and began playing the ukulele in 2005. She also plays guitar and melodica.[6][7] She indicated in the comments section of one of her YouTube videos (see below) that she holds dual USA-Portuguese citizenship.

YouTube videos[edit]

Nunes is known for her videos on YouTube.[8][9] Among them are original songs, as well as covers of some of Nunes' favorite bands, such as Say Anything, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Destiny's Child. Her original songs have been featured on the main page of YouTube twice, under the username 'jaaaaaaa'.[10]

On Good Morning America (June 30, 2008) Molly Ringwald said that she took up the ukulele after seeing Julia Nunes on YouTube. "I've always wanted to play the ukulele, and she completely inspired me," she said.[11][12]

Nunes is also featured in a YouTube cover video of "Some Nights" by Fun alongside members from Walk off the Earth.[13]

Recent work[edit]

She opened four times for one of her idols, Ben Folds in May 2008 at the piano player's request[4][14] and performed at the Bushman Ukulele Luau in May 2008 after having won the 2007 Bushman World Ukulele Video Contest.[15] She performed at The Knitting Factory in New York.[16] On October 25, 2008, she opened for The Bacon Brothers at The State University of New York at Geneseo.[17] On November 22, 2008, Nunes performed her song "Maybe I Will" on YouTube Live '08 in San Francisco. She was joined onstage by The YouTube Ukulele Orchestra, which is composed of fellow YouTube ukulele players Wade Johnston, Dustin Domingo, Philip Fernandez, and Narciso Lobo.[18] In January 2009 Nunes played four sold out shows in London, England, and was interviewed and performed on BBC Radio 1.[19] In June 2009, she played two shows, and participated in the artist signing tent, at Bonnaroo, the independent music festival in Manchester TN,[20] and a second tour of England.[21] She began recording her third CD of original music in August 2009.,[22] working with Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn of Pomplamoose as producers.[23]

Nunes has also appeared in several videos with Jake & Amir of CollegeHumor.[24][25]

She played at Bonnaroo 2010, her second time there. Nunes started the event on the main stage at noon 11 June 2010,[26] and also played alongside Weezer on the second night.[27] Nunes opened for Ben Kweller at Indiana University's Buskirk-Chumley Theater on November 13, 2010, as a part of Ben Kweller's tour. On January 24, 2012, Nunes made her television debut, performing "Stay Awake" on Conan.

On January 3, 2017, Nunes began a Kickstarter campaign for her sixth album and reached over twice its goal funding.[28]

Charity work[edit]

In December 2008, Nunes participated in the Vlogbrothers' Project4Awesome.[29] Rather than tell YouTubers to donate time or money to a charity, she offered one of her hand-knit hats on eBay, promising to donate the proceeds of the auction, and her own matching funds, to the Lupus Foundation of America.[30] The hat sold for US$1,250.00, after which she asked her followers to help her make the donation, promising US$500.00 of her own money.[31]


Left Right Wrong

Nunes' first CD Left Right Wrong contained all original compositions and was released in the summer of 2007.[32] It was released independently, published by Junu Music[33] (ASCAP), on Nunes' label Rude Butler Music. Following YouTube success, as of June 2008 Nunes arranged a distribution deal for Left Right Wrong with Burnside Distribution Corporation,[34] and the album can now be purchased through some mainstream sources.[35] The 12 tracks (10 studio, two live) were recorded with just guitar and voice, without the overdubs which feature in her YouTube videos.

I Wrote These

"I Wrote These", was released on October 15, 2008 containing original compositions by Nunes, except for Track 12 "Sugar Coats" which was co-written with her friend and fellow musician Kirk Stevens. Like her first album, "I Wrote These" was released on her Rude Butler Music label and copyrighted to JuNu Music. The album was tracked and mixed at Studio Arts Entertainment and Hilltop Recording in Greenwich, NY by Peter Kobor and Chris Roberson. The album features mostly acoustic tracks, although she is joined on a few songs by a full band (including Todd Haviland on bass and Dave Harris on drums). Guest vocalists include Dan Gocek, Kirk Stevens, and Andy Martin. Other musical accompaniment includes whistling, finger snapping and beatboxing. "I Wrote These" was mastered by Steve Forney at the studios at Linden Oaks, in Rochester, New York.

  • Release date: October 15, 2008
  • Label: Rude Butler Records
  • Format: Digital download

I Think You Know

She began recording her third CD of original music in August 2009.,[36] and worked with Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn of Pomplamoose as producers. The album was released on iTunes on February 2, 2010 through her own record label, Rude Butler Records.

YouTube Covers

Her first CD of covers is titled YouTube Covers. It was released on November 3, 2010. It features 11 covers from such artists as The Beatles, Queen, Beach Boys, Paramore, and many others. It was released through her own record label, Rude Butler Records.

Settle Down

On June 11, 2011, Nunes launched a Kickstarter page for her fourth album.[37] Her goal was $15,000, but in less than 24 hours, she had already received over $19,000 in donations. By the conclusion of the campaign, the project had $77,888 in donations, making it the third most-funded music project in Kickstarter's history (behind Nataly Dawn's solo album and a collaboration between Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman).[38] On December 6, 2011, she posted the album art, revealing the title to be Settle Down, and announced the album's release date as February 28, 2012.[39]

"He is Mad", "Pizza", and "I Wasn't Worried" are mini-songs roughly a minute in length, all of which Nunes recorded videos for and posted to YouTube.[40][41][42] Other songs, like "Odd", "Balloons", "First Impressions", "Comatose", and "Into the Sunshine" appeared on previous albums, but were re-recorded for Settle Down. Nunes also updated the Kickstarter project page with a video of her performing "Stay Awake" in the Kickstarter offices (thanks to the overwhelming success of her campaign).[43] On January 24, 2012, she performed "Stay Awake" on Conan to promote the album.[44]

Some Feelings

Julia Nunes' fifth album, titled Some Feelings, was released September 25, 2015. Another Kickstarter project, the album raised $134,403 from 3,258 backers.[45] The https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEo3m8eHl3k video for her single "Make Out" features extended takes of couples kissing, including band members as well as Nunes and her former girlfriend Dannielle Owens-Reid.[46]

Personal life[edit]

Nunes resided for a period of time in Brooklyn, New York, and relocated to the Los Angeles area in early 2014.


  1. ^ "Julia Nunes shines on new EP". Retrieved 2010-03-28. 
  2. ^ "Julia Nunes - DFTBA Records". Retrieved 2009-11-07. 
  3. ^ De Blase, Frank (July 2, 2008). "Profile: Julia Nunes While her ukulele gently weeps". Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  4. ^ a b "Fairport teen: From YouTube to Ben Folds gig". whec. WHEC-TV. 2008-05-28. Archived from the original on 2008-05-29. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  5. ^ Perry, Scott (2007-04-14). "Analysis of Julia's YouTube popularity". The New Music Tipsheet. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  6. ^ "Youtube - Answers to your questions part 2". 2008-04-25. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  7. ^ "Music: Julia Nunes, ukelele diva". 2008-01-31. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  8. ^ "Ukulele sends UK Crazy". BBC. 2010-02-19. Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  9. ^ "Bonnaroo 2010: Julia Nunes In Concert". NPR. 2010-06-13. Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  10. ^ "Julia Nunes". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  11. ^ "Uklele Links: Irish Uke Gathering, Julia Nunes Inspires Molly Ringwald". UkeHunt.com. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  12. ^ De Blase, Frank (2008-07-02). "Profile: Julia Nunes, While her ukulele gently weeps". Rochester City Newspaper. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  13. ^ "Some Nights - Walk off the Earth + Julia Nunes". YouTube. 2012-08-07. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  14. ^ "Rochester International Jazz Festival - Day Four". Democrat and Chronicle. 2008-06-16. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  15. ^ "Julia Nunes plays Bushman Ukuleles". bushmanmusic.com. Retrieved 2016-01-09. 
  16. ^ "Bushman World Video Contest Winners". Bushman Ukuleles. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  17. ^ "JuliaNunesTalking: driving home makes me tired looking". 2008-10-25. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 
  18. ^ "Julia Nunes and The YouTube Ukulele Orchestra - YouTube Live '08". 2008-11-22. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 
  19. ^ "Julia Nunes BBC Radio 1 Interview with Nihal (17/01/2009)". 2009-01-07. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  20. ^ "Julia Nunes at Bonnaroo 2009". 2009-06-01. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  21. ^ "Very Short List, Girl Uninterrupted". 2009-06-26. Retrieved 2009-06-28. 
  22. ^ "Julia Nunes Answers Part 5". 2009-08-18. Retrieved 2009-08-19. 
  23. ^ "Pomplamoose". 2008-06-27. Retrieved 2009-08-19. 
  24. ^ "Tubthumping with Julia Nunes and Jake and Amir". CollegeHumor. 2009-09-24. Retrieved 2016-01-09. 
  25. ^ "Jake and Amir: Julia Nunes". CollegeHumor. 2009-10-13. Retrieved 2016-01-09. 
  26. ^ "Bonnaroo 2010: Noon with Julia Nunes". 2010-06-11. Retrieved 2010-06-21. 
  27. ^ "Weezer Goes Bananas At Bonnaroo". 2010-06-13. Retrieved 2010-06-21. 
  28. ^ https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/julianunes/julia-nunes-makes-music/updates
  29. ^ "The 2008 Project for Awesome!!!". 2008-12-11. Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  30. ^ "(P4A) The Office theme song". 2008-12-17. Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  31. ^ "Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight, The End (the Beatles)". 2008-12-26. Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  32. ^ "Julia Nunes". CD Baby. Archived from the original on 2008-06-02. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  33. ^ "Julia Nunes - JuNu Music". Archived from the original on 2008-07-22. Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  34. ^ "Burnside Distribution, June 2008 New Releases" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-08-16. Retrieved 2008-06-25. 
  35. ^ "Left Right Wrong at Amazon.com". Retrieved 2008-06-25. 
  36. ^ "Julia Nunes Answers Part 5". 2009-08-18. Retrieved 2010-06-21. 
  37. ^ "Kickstarter - Julia Nunes would be nothing without me". Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  38. ^ "Kickstarter - Most Funded - Music". Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  39. ^ "The Mischief Market - Julia Nunes - Settle Down". Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  40. ^ "YouTube - He Is Mad". Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  41. ^ "YouTube - PIZZA". Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  42. ^ "YouTube - I Wasn't Worried, Julia Nunes". Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  43. ^ "Vimeo - Julia Nunes performs in the Kickstarter Office". Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  44. ^ Spevak, Jeff (May 18, 2013). "Nunes to sing on Conan O'Brien show". USA Today. Retrieved May 21, 2017. 
  45. ^ "Julia Nunes + Feelings = New Album". Kickstarter. 
  46. ^ "JULIA NUNES - MAKE OUT". Julia Nunes. YouTube. January 5, 2016. Retrieved May 21, 2017. 

External links[edit]