Written By Kelly Holm
One night, NYC-based singer-songwriter Julia Wolf dreamed about a trend where girls painted the words “Hot Killer” on the front pockets of their blue jeans. Some might turn that into an opportunity to craft a viral Tweet— but Wolf spun this bit of nocturnal inspiration into a verifiable earworm.
“I thought for sure, that’s a song title right there… what we came up with was a fierce anthem for my shy girls,” Wolf said. “Lots of people think we’ll automatically put them on a pedestal, or that we aren’t capable of being the heartbreakers because we’re simply ‘too nice.’ This song is meant to defy that assumption and explain where our priorities lie.”
It’s a message that Wolf’s been building toward for her entire career— in high school, she recalls struggling with feeling like she was unable to speak her mind, until she began to express herself through music, writing her first song before she departed for college.
“Overall, it was just nice to have a few minutes where I got to be someone outside of ‘the shy girl’,” she said. “It was a huge weight off my chest after years of struggling to speak my mind face-to-face with people. Music became a way to show who I was while still keeping my distance, and it felt like a miracle. After that, I couldn’t stop— I knew it was going to be my future, I just wasn’t sure how to do it yet.”
Much like the intersection of sleep and wakefulness where it was formed, the music video for “Hot Killer” takes place in a duality of two coexisting timelines— a classic girls’ night out, and something a bit more sinister.
“The flashes to this sort of ‘sin city’ world show lots of boys who met their demise at the hands of the ‘hot killers’,” Wolf says of the cinematic sequence. “You get to see what’s really going on in the alternate universe.”
Wolf debuted the track on June 10 at Governors Ball, before its official commercial release, and was met with an enthusiastic response.
“What an experience, to be on a stage that big. I had so much fun jumping around and getting to play with a full band for the first time,” she relayed. “It was fun telling the audience the music was unreleased— I think it creates more of a moment to be shared because now they’re in on something not everyone else is yet.”
She recalls the experience as an adrenaline rush, constantly moving around across the stage and later getting to catch up with favorite acts, such as her dream collab Jack Harlow.
“It’s so important to have moments where you stay grounded and breathe,” she says. “Everyone in the crowd is on your side, and wants you to do well.”
Another of Wolf’s favorite songs to play, also still unreleased, is “Get Off My,” which— much like “Hot Killer”— illuminates the two sides of her personality: the quiet girl, and the one who “doesn’t put anybody on a pedestal.” She aims to drop her first album this year, and promises it will feature “more storytelling from both the past and the present.”
“Lately it’s been more writing about myself and who I am, versus retelling stories of things that have happened to me,” she said. “I’m being more vulnerable and open about parts of myself I don’t usually share.”
Yet in her evolution, she’s also learning that artistry is about more than just “being someone who puts music out.” Though Wolf often shows her vulnerability through her lyrics, she knows that a more personal connection with fans can also be displayed through mediums such as social media, and “ranting about life while you walk your dog.”
Wolf dreams of playing Madison Square Garden and, like her longtime inspiration Taylor Swift, being able to reinvent herself while always staying fresh and relatable. She swears by taking changes, always keeping in mind her dad’s advice that “you can still die on a green light.” But in spite of all of stardom’s twists and turns, she still claims the impact she makes on fans as being its most rewarding part.
“Seeing people get tattoos of the lyrics, reading messages of how much it’s helped them— that’s really the most incredible part in all this, knowing words I once was too afraid to speak now mean something to someone else,” she says. “I just feel so honored to be a part of their lives in that way, and that the music means that much to them.”
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