Juliana Riccardi explores self-love and perspective on her new single “Full Cup,” a folksy rock track that has already received a placement on Spotify’s Healin’ Blues playlist among the likes of Nina Simone and B.B. King. Drawing from greats like Bonnie Raitt, Fleetwood Mac, and Van Morrison, Riccardi’s intimate lyrics and rich voice will reel you right into her world of hope and connection.
“‘Full Cup’ is an ode to the many flavors of ourselves and of living life with a glass-full perspective,” Riccardi explains. “The tune came to me after a challenging personal time, when I finally came to the realization: there’s a new day right here to focus on, there’s a good person in me to love, and there is romance all around us.”
The soulful song is the title track of Riccardi’s upcoming sophomore EP, which she created at Dreamland, a church-turned-studio near Woodstock, New York that has previously welcomed the likes of Joan Jett, The Lone Bellow, and Suzanne Vega. Due this October, Riccardi worked on the project with Grammy-winning engineer Darrell Thorp, who has credits with acts like Foster the People, Jenny Lewis, and Radiohead.
“I actually reached out to Darrell to mix the singles, including ‘Full Cup,’ on a total whim not thinking he’d never reply,” Riccardi admits. “I had been researching mixers on female-led bands like Lake Street Dive, and found he mixed for them, and others I admired like HoneyHoney and so many great artists. He was super cool and easy to work with.”
Riccardi and her band previously found success with a live video of “Full Cup,” which has already collected over 13,000 views since she posted it in June. Accompanied by guitarists Kyle LaLone and George Karpasitis, bassist Lauren Stockner, keyboardist Luke Miller, drummer Nathanial LaGuzza, and trumpetists Barbara Laronga and Sarah Bauza, the performance lets Riccardi show off what she does best: bonding with those around her through her stories and passion, which is further enriched by her degree in jazz performance.
“To see how many people watched the full video was a reminder how much blues and soul music really resonates with a wide audience,” Riccardi shares. “That’s the stuff that’s hard not to feel. Of course, the band was killin’ and I’m not surprised people wanted to listen to them rock! I was grateful we put together video and audio from that pre-release show in June in Culver City, California at Gratitude Market’s performance space.”
You can find “Full Cup” on your favorite streaming services now, and get to know Juliana Riccardi on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and her official website! Keep reading from more from our interview with the talented singer-songwriter.
Your music incorporates elements of several genres, including Americana, roots, blues, and jazz. Who are some of your influences on your sound and songwriting?
I truly have always been a lover of all music and rarely gravitated toward one genre, but more towards songs and voices. I grew up listening to what my parents and older sister had on the stereo or in the car, before curating my own mix cassettes at home. So everything from Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Prima, to Aretha Franklin and Jimi Hendrix; to Stone Temple Pilots, Radiohead and Nas. A pretty broad range! As I began writing more, going to shows and getting a little older, I discovered Joni Mitchell, Emmy Lou Harris, Bob Dylan, Gillian Welsh, Brandi Carlile, Glen Hansard – and I’d say they were my first interests in terms of folk, roots and Americana. Honing in on my authentic voice and maturing as a writer, my deepest inspirations & influences are Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Nicks & Fleetwood Mac.
Your new single, “Full Cup,” draws from your relationship with yourself and has messages of self love and confidence. What does that song mean to you, and what led you to the self acceptance you describe in the lyrics?
“Full Cup” is an ode to the many flavors of ourselves and of living life with a glass-full perspective. The tune came to me after a challenging personal time, when I finally came to the realization – there’s a new day right here to focus on, there’s a good person in me to love, and there is romance all around us. Gratitude is a big theme in “Full Cup.” The second verse is based on unapologetically loving yourself -and you don’t often learn this growing up. Instead we chase things and people and bend and break to make things fit. I’ve learned that living fully starts inside of us. We are that motivational cup of coffee, that pure and cleansing water, and that bold and playful glass of whiskey. And when we love and care for ourselves, that’s when true romance finds us in the end — as it does at the close of “Full Cup.”
You previewed “Full Cup” at a show in June, and the video of the performance has already amassed over 13,000 views, making it the biggest clip on your YouTube channel so far. What was it like to get that positive reception weeks before the single came out?
To see how many people watched the full video was a reminder how much blues and soul music really resonates with a wide audience. That’s the stuff that’s hard not to feel. Of course, the band was killin’ and I’m not surprised people wanted to listen to them rock! I was grateful we put together video and audio from that pre-release show in June in Culver City, California at Gratitude Market’s performance space.
What song on your upcoming EP are you most excited for your fans to hear?
Oh man! “Wire!” It’s the most rocked out track and it’s just so much fun to perform. There’ll be a video coming this fall for that as well. I’m so excited about all the tracks, honestly. They’re all so different and there’s something for everyone.
You worked on the Full Cup EP with mastering engineer Darrell Thorp, who has worked with the likes of Radiohead, Jenny Lewis, and Foster the People. Was it daunting to go into those sessions knowing he’s worked with so many famous acts?
I actually reached out to Darrell to mix the singles, including “Full Cup,” on a total whim not thinking he’d ever reply. I had been researching mixers on female-led bands like Lake Street Dive, and found he mixed for them, and others I admired like HoneyHoney and so many great artists. He was super cool and easy to work with. During COVID, we worked remotely. Darrell honored the live energy of the track while bringing out the sonic magic and letting each part shine through – there were subtle parts of the band’s playing that I hadn’t even heard until Darrell’s mix!
You recorded the EP at Dreamland Recording Studios, by Woodstock, NY. What was it like knowing greats like Suzanne Vega, The Lone Bellow, and Living Color had worked there?
It was life-changing for me. To be in such a beautiful space, with so much history, analog gear and vintage instruments. The organs! The mics! From that point, I vowed that I’d never record another way in terms of getting the live band energy and a quality recording experience. The owner, Jerry Marotta, is a well-known drummer (Hall & Oates, Peter Gabriel) and the coolest guy. I felt at home. Ariel Shafir, our engineer, did an outstanding job. It all felt natural.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the creative process behind “Full Cup” and your EP?
It motivated me to put out more vulnerable, honest, and uplifting music into the world. Being in hibernation for so long made me crave that artist-listener connection. All of the songs were all written before the health pandemic hit, but they lived in acoustic form and were itching to be recorded with the vision I had of a live band. Will Hensley, who is a long time friend and collaborator, and happens to be an amazing mixer and producer (GRAMMY Awarded at that!), helped produce, mix and arrange the whole project. During COVID, while everyone was hunkered down, we would link up on zoom or facetime and chat about everything and massage the songs to be ready for full band arrangements in the studio.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention that the questions didn’t touch on?
Look out for the EP this October! I’ll be celebrating with a bourbon Old Fashioned!
Hi! I’m Madison Murray, a pop culture and music writer who also loves writing about lifestyle and fashion. I have credits on sites like TREMG, Young Hollywood, and Audible Addixion, and I’m the founder of Melodic Musings. In addition to writing, I’m a community editor on Genius, lyric curator on Musixmatch, and a playlist curator at VOLUP2. My favorite artists include Taylor Swift, Machine Gun Kelly, BLACKPINK, Elko, phem, and YUNGBLUD. She/her.