(Photos Alex Abaunza for Noise)
“We got an email for Shake to come and record in Wyoming about 4 weeks ago and life has not been the same since.”
YesJulz, born Julieanna Goddard, is an entrepreneur (Founder & CEO of 1AM Entertainment) and social media powerhouse boasting over half a million followers on Instagram. Although the New York Times dubbed Julz as “Snapchat Royalty,” success across multiple platforms is something the CEO of 1AM Entertainment has grown accustomed to. Her mantra “never not working” has exhausted the ‘dusk till dawn’ mentality and has thrusted her career into overdrive.
Wyoming, New York, Miami, and Los Angeles are places Julz has traveled the past two weeks alone. Her schedule is demanding, this interview was conducted in her Uber ride to the airport, but for Julz connecting the dots and giving people authentic experiences is worth the long nights. “Art is therapy. A lot of the music we love the most comes from people that are going through pain or trauma.”
Explain to me what your life has been like these last few weeks:
We got an email for Shake to come and record in Wyoming about 4 weeks ago and life has not been the same since. It has been a really interesting experience. Both Shake and I attribute Kanye to being one of our favorite artists; he’s probably my favorite artist of all-time. It was surreal at first to even sign to G.O.O.D. Music. You know we each had thoughts of what that might mean, but never in a million years would I have expected to have a moment like we had with [Shake’s] debut on ‘Ye.’ Just to see the world’s reaction to her part on “Ghost Town” has been one of the best experiences of my life.
[Shake and I] were turning in music and constantly wanting to release a project, but for different reasons we kept having roadblocks. We were able to put our first EP, Glitter, out this year. We had been working on that and shortly after we finished we got the call to come work with Kanye . I’m not sure if this was the plan on their end all along, but we were going to pitch it and we were ready when the call came.
How was time spent in the studio with Kanye?
He actually scrapped the first album the night we arrived in Wyoming. When we got there he played us all the [original] project and we all talked about it. He heard everyone’s opinion — from Teyana to Pusha — Kanye is really interested in people’s perspectives on life. He’ll grab inspiration from other people’s stories — their reactions and emotions.and the next day, we came back and he decided to change it . The first few days was getting to know one another and talking about deep things you would only want to share with your family or best friend.
Specifically, what was Kanye’s conversation with Shake like?
He talked to Shake about her concept of what ‘free’ is which is what the lyrics became. He shared with us the TMZ experience and walking into that studio with all of his emotion and the politics of it all . I had my opinion, but once he explained what he went through mentally and physically to where he is now — it’s a space of love and free thought. He said what came to his mind and he is really happy. I was really pleased to know that he was the person I thought he was. He is in a great space and to be a part of the process where I could see them start from scratch to create thoughts and ideas was amazing.
How did you react after seeing them collaborate?
I cried. I’m an emotional person. Seeing Shake in the same studio as Nas was a groundbreaking moment for me because he is an idol to my idol. To see her lay something down and Kanye build upon it — it was great. Once we all got used to it, we had five days to finish the project. The first day was surreal. The second day we said, “We gotta get this done.” In Wyoming, everything changed so fast. The songs were changing on the way to the event.
[Kanye] had been living with her vocals for a minute. There were minor details, certain lines or verses, that Ye wanted to handle. I didn’t know “Ghost Town” was going to be on the project.
What was it like hearing her vocals at the listening party?
When I was at the event and I heard her voice on the speakers, I just turned around and cried because I couldn’t find her. I was in the mix with everyone. It was crazy because everyone wanted to stand by Ye. I was looking for her and don’t see her anywhere and when her voice comes on, Ye looks at me like, “Where’s Shake?” I tried to call her, but she didn’t pick up. I thought, “Oh no, she’s missing her moment.” I was wrong!
She was having her own moment. It was beautiful. She was running around in the back of the field away from everyone. It was her and her friends from Jersey. She was doing cartwheels. My assistant captured it on her phone and it went viral — it was her embodying what it meant to be free. It was such a moment for her. When they ran it back and played it a second time, I dragged her to the middle of the fire and everyone said, “There she goes!”
Tell me about 1AM Vibes:
1AM Vibes came about when I was working with Beats by Dre in marketing. We had a big creative dump where they flew in a bunch of the ambassadors that were working with them. I looked around the room and said, “Man, all these cool people from all over the world are here right now. We should have a party.” I asked Beats by Dre if they wanted to throw one. At first I thought maybe it should be a dinner…then Kanye dropped “No More Parties in LA.” I wondered, “Why doesn’t anyone party in LA?” And everyone told me it’s because LA is dry and bougie and that it closes early and there’s no point in going out and partying because everyone is stuck up. I was like, “Wow, I need to bring some Miami energy to LA.” I tweeted, “Hey can anyone find me a place to throw a party tonight?” And somebody found me a warehouse downtown.
I saw that people were talking about it and the momentum was picking up. I said, “This needs a name. What do I want it to represent?” I wanted people to know when they walk through the door that none of the pretentious egotistical vibes would be tolerated. I thought, “When are people in LA fun?” Well at 1AM it’s the last call for alcohol. If it could be 1AM for the whole party then everyone will be having fun and dancing the whole time.
Way more than a couple hundred people came. We had lines down the street. In 24 hours, we put a party together where a thousand plus people came. Wiz Khalifa had a hundred pre-rolls he was handing out. Lil Uzi performed. Playboi Carti and A$AP Rocky were there. There was no VIP section — so no tables. It was actually BYOB. They all brought bottles of Bombay and I had never seen artists and fans interacting with one another without red ropes and security.
How was it perceived?
The next day, some blogs picked it up and it kind of just started taking on legs of its own. Other cities started reaching out to me so we took the party on tour. Now we are geared more towards culturally relevant moments such as the Grammys, the VMAs, Coachella, SXSW. This next year will be the fourth year and we have 2,500 plus people going out of their way from a city to a ranch. We [will] have artists perform that we think are next up.
You’re constantly taking on new projects. Do you already have anything planned next?
I’m getting older and this year I told myself I was going to slow down with music because I wanted to be more desirable to settle down. I was like, “Maybe I should do less parties and someone will want to marry me” And then all the brand deals slowed down and I stopped having my ear to the streets as much and I realized that the parties are the pulse for everything . The agencies, the manager companies, the radio stations — that’s where I meet artists in person. That is where I see people’s emotions for the first time. That is something that will continue to live within the brand and grow.
We just had a meeting with a really big stadium and fingers are crossed for a 1AM festival coming up soon. We are finding ways to maximize our role in the music space.
What has it been like partnering with Noise?
Noise is great. We’ve been working together for a week. I’ve never had a publicist. I have always had a negative connotation towards all of that and I realized, rather quickly, it is something that could help my business — just to have everything organized and make sure we’re crafting the right story. People put us in the box of social media influencer and they don’t realize we have a company that has generated over a million dollars and has been recognized by Forbes in the marketing space.
Tell me about your charity?
Growing up, Little Rascals was my favorite movie and the name of the children’s home I used to spend time in. The name is close to home for me. Little Rascals is a charity that brings the performing arts to the youth. I feel like my interest in the arts is what really helped me become who I am today. I could have definitely been a less productive member of society — circumstances considered. I just wanted to give that avenue to young kids so they can also have the tools and resources to maximize their talents.
Art is therapy. A lot of the music we love the most comes from people that are going through pain or trauma. If we can help mental health — you see we lost one of our cultures most adorned person today [Anthony Bourdain]. He was expressing himself through his art and I think it’s important to continue to support people by allowing them to do that. We are opening the school at the end of the month in conjunction with the motivational edge in Miami — they already have support from the Marlins and Dolphins. We are going to put a recording studio and a digital marketing curriculum in there for them so not only will the artists make their music in there, but also know how to package and deliver it to an audience afterwards. We want them to be completely self-sufficient.
I used to put on concerts when I was at Little Rascals for the five kids in my class. I would make signs that said ‘2pm lunch time TLC performance’ and it would be me and two girls. We would do the dance moves, probably really bad, and it’d be three other people watching us. Music has always been something that has kept my mind busy and me active. I knew I was going to do something with it one day.
What should we expect next from YesJulz?
I am dropping a Puma collab at the end of the month. We are opening Little Rascals and could always use funding. Hopefully we could bring that to other cities. Maybe partnering with a building so I can make 1AM the label I know it could be, and get behind the talent mainly in [New] Jersey because I keep finding people there. I’m getting into rooms with people I idealize and I’ve been figuring this all out on my own. It is time to strategize with the right people to build this 1AM universe out.