Jewelia | 5 Minutes With

One day at a time, one little win after another, London-based Romanian singer/songwriter Jewelia works to make her dream a reality. With a new single, ‘Loser,’ Jewelia gears up to share her upcoming project, ‘Little Wins,’ which was created with the help of her followers by crowdfunding on Kickstarter.

Who is Jewelia, and where does her artistic integrity stem from? There is
a significant pure passion for writing and making music, which fuels Jewelia across all obstacles. Moving to a different country, to London, one of the world’s biggest cities takes courage and deserves people’s applause.

In her upcoming album, ‘Little Wins,’ Jewlia presents a package of pop, upbeat soundscapes. These melodies are more than just music; they’re a call to self-belief, a rejection of negative self-talk, and the all-too-common what ifs.’ The lead track, ‘Loser,’ delves into the theme of procrastination and the regret of missed opportunities due to a lack of courage and confidence.

When she thinks of her past and growing up in Romania, Jewlia recalls cherished memories from staying at her grandparent’s farm in the countryside, in awe of open fields, nature, and animals grazing; months that turned out to be some of the formative times of her songwriting career.

Rehearsing for the album launch party, Jewelia speaks to Noctis about living in London and the financial struggles of living and being an artist in such a saturated, fiercely competitive environment.

How is 2024 going so far for you?

It’s going pretty well; it has been very busy music wise. Since January I shot two music videos, started a band, finalised the merch for the album and posted over a hundred packages to my Kickstarter backers. But being busy is great, it means things are happening!

You recently released a new single ‘Loser’ taken from your upcoming album ‘Little Wins.’ How did this track come about?

‘Loser’ is about all those times when we couldn’t push ourselves out of our comfort zones. When we wanted to say something but were too embarrassed or shy to say it, when we wanted to learn how to play an instrument or learn that new language but always found an excuse that there was no time. When we gave up on things we loved. When we let an opportunity slip away because we lacked the courage or the confidence.

⁠I can’t be the only one who can’t turn off my buzzing brain at night, thinking of all this and more!⁠ I can’t be the only one who struggles with procrastination (though I do have a pretty good work ethic), with beating myself up over it, with working hard while also trying to maintain a social life, etc. 

Does that make me a loser? I don’t necessarily think so. But it doesn’t mean than I don’t feel like it sometimes. And this is what this single is about.

How do you deal with feeling stuck in your head and being unmotivated?

If you find the solution for this, do let me know! Joke aside, I’ve been struggling with a lack of motivation and narrowly avoiding burnout for almost four years now. What I’ve been trying to remind myself lately is that I’m making music for the love of it, and that I should have fun with it while connecting with people in the process. I’m also trying to keep in mind that there is always a choice, and there is always a solution for everything. 

What motivates me the most right now is the thought of finally sharing with people this project that I’ve been working on for so long. Having these new songs out in the world and reading all the comments and the feedback from my audience is something that pushes me to create and share more, and to hopefully grow in the process, both as an artist and as a human.

On April 19th, ‘Little Wins’ will be out for the world to hear. What does this project symbolise for you?

In my view, a little win is any action that moves us closer to a goal, any little thing that makes us better. But so often we forget to appreciate what we achieved and how far we’ve come. They say that we have the power to be happy, and that it’s all within our mindset. Does that mean being content with little? Not necessarily. Being happy and having aspirations don’t contradict each other, as long as we take care to enjoy the journey.

I think it’s very fitting that this album was created with the help of my followers, who have crowdfunded it on Kickstarter and made the whole project possible. It was truly humbling to see the support that my music received and to realise that people actually care about it! So I would say that “Little Wins” is already a little win itself, in every possible way.  

What is the one message you want your fans to take away from the listening experience?

This album is a lot more upbeat then my previous music, but some of the lyrics are quite deep and meaningful, and I’m sure many people will connect with them. The message of “Little Wins” is that we all do the best we can with the resources we have, and there’s no point in negative self-talk, in shaming ourselves or in spending time thinking of ‘what if’s’. We should celebrate how far we’ve come compared to where we started.

How long have you been working on this record and where did you mainly record?

I’ve been working these songs for over three years. Most of the album was produced and recorded in my home studio in my London flat with some additional parts recorded via online collaborations with other musicians. 

Comparing it with your debut album ‘City Of My Mind’ from 2018, what sort of an artist were you then with the one you re today?

I’d like to think that I have retained the flavour that gives Jewelia her unique voice. The new album is a lot more pop and a lot more upbeat than “City of My Mind”, but it’s still me. I like to think that I am more confident these days and I am not embarrassed to make pop music, and to have a bit of fun writing and producing music.

Could you share more about your upbringing in Romania? 

For the first seven years of my life I grew up in the countryside on my grandparents’ farm. These were the happiest years of my life, there was so much freedom; I would spend pretty much every hour of the day outdoors. I moved to the city when it was time to start school, but I would still go back to the countryside and stay there every year for three months over the summer holidays. My favourite thing during those summer holidays was taking a blanket to the pasture and reading on the grass, with no one around, just green everywhere, and animals grazing peacefully in the distance. As a child I spent a lot of time with books or writing my own stories and little poems, because there weren’t many children in the village for me to play with. I think this was a very important formative time in my life and paved the way to later writing poetry and then songs. 

When I was fifteen I was admitted at the Dinu Lipatti College of Music in Bucharest, which is a specialist music school that I started attending from high school. I then went on to study classical singing for two years on the national Conservatory in Bucharest, and law school for two years at the National University of Bucharest before dropping out of both and moving to the UK to study music technology.

What music did you grow up on?

When I was little, I grew up with Elvis, ABBA, Modern Talking and Pet Shop Boys among many others (my parents run the local disco for a short while so I was exposed to a lot of music growing up). As a teenager I was very much into the pop punk scene, I loved bands such as Green Day, Blink182, Simple Plan, Sum41, My Chemical Romance etc. The next phase was listening to a lot of Radiohead and Muse, and bands like Franz Ferdinand, Kasabian and The Killers. These days I listen to a lot of different styles and genres, depending on mood.

How did you come to the decision of quitting law and choosing your dream instead?

I have always wanted to be a singer, law school was just a backup plan. While I was very good at it and I enjoyed it, Law was never what I wanted to do in life, and I chose to take a chance and give my all to try and have a career doing something that I love.

What was it about London that called your heart? 

I didn’t move to London straight away; when I moved to the UK in 2012 I went to study at University of Surrey, so I stayed in Guildford for three years. After that I went on to study a Masters in audio engineering at University of Hertfordshire, then I lived near Cambridge for a year, and finally moved to London because I figured that all the opportunities were here.

What were the biggest obstacles of your move?

Moving to a different country is always a big decision and the toughest obstacle was being away from my family and my friends. I didn’t know anyone here, I didn’t know how the music industry worked, I didn’t know how to get started. I have now settled in London and don’t see myself going back.

After moving to London, what was your plan of action to making your dream a reality?

I didn’t really have a plan of action. I moved to the UK to study music production, so the goal was ultimately to get better at my skills, to become a better musician, to network and get to know like-minded people and to create an audience for myself (all this while paying rent in a very expensive city where I didn’t know many people). I’m still working on making my dream a reality, but I feel like I have achieved a lot since moving here and that my music has definitely become so much better thanks to the people I’ve met, the gigs that I’ve been to and the facilities that I’ve had access to. I don’t know what would have been the best plan of action, but this is my journey and I’m doing the best I can to make music that I’m proud of and to share it with people.

What is your mission as an entertainer?

I don’t necessarily see myself as an entertainer, I’ve always made music and wrote songs is an outlet for my emotions, so I would probably still write songs even if no one listen to them. As long as anyone resonates with my songs and there are people engaging with what I do, then my mission is complete.

What is some advice you would like to give to other aspiring artists from abroad who are planning to move to London and go for it?

London is brimming with opportunities and there are so many events and shows happening all the time. But the competition is fierce, the city is over saturated with musicians, which can be a great thing for making friends and for networking, but it also makes it incredibly difficult to cut through or to get paid gigs as a performer of original material. To anyone looking to move here, I would say think twice; if you have the finances to support yourself in this extremely expensive city while still giving full attention to your music then go for it, otherwise it might be more beneficial to explore your local scene and become a “big fish in a small pond” before attempting to make it in the big city.

Follow Jewelia On Instagram

Words: Karolina Kramplova