Juliana Riccardi embraces change, reflects on decaying romance, and learns how to love herself on Full Cup, her sophomore EP that follows up on 2020’s Simple with a new air of maturity and elegance. She recorded the project at Dreamland Recording Studios in Woodstock, NY, one of the state’s most famous studios that has previously welcomed greats like Suzanne Vega and The Lone Bellow.
“It was life-changing for me,” she previously told TREMG. “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.”
The record opens with its title track “Full Cup,” kicking off the EP with a celebration of optimism and maintaining a positive outlook on life. The soulful track highlights how dimensional life is as well as sharing the message that everyone deserves to experience self-love, no matter how tough things can be.
“‘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. Gratitude is a big theme in ‘Full Cup.’”
Riccardi discusses new beginnings and learning to take risks on “In My Soul,” an airy track that sounds like the beginning of spring feels. Flourishing with horns and a gentle twangy guitar, it’s a fun way to jump into the rest of the EP with an adventurous mindset!
“Hold For Your Woman” is a Fleetwood Mac-esque tribute to the divine feminine and the importance of celebrating loved ones for who they are. It’s certainly one of the most memorable songs on the EP, showing off some of Riccardi’s best vocals to date and a rockstar attitude that could command arenas in the near future.
In our previous conversation, Riccardi shared that “Wire” was the song she was most excited for fans to hear, saying it’s “the most rocked-out track and it’s just so much fun to perform.” Showing off impressive vocals and her ability to make catchy hooks out of complicated feelings, It has all the makings of an alt-rock radio hit, so be sure to check this one out if her usual bluesy sound isn’t your thing!
Perhaps the most lyrically vivid song on the Full Cup EP, “Bartender” captures a conversation between someone who’s unemployed, homeless, and single and the bartender serving them. The song goes on to tell stories about a girl named Sarah and a man named Billy before turning around and insisting alcohol (and by proxy, the bartender) is to blame for at least some of the fatalistic attitudes in the town.
Another detailed track is “Beam By Beam,” a midtempo song about the importance of being straightforward in a relationship. There’s also a tie to earlier anthem “Hold For Your Woman” – the second verse of “Beam By Beam” asks if someone will be “strong enough to stay,” while “Hold For Your Woman” ponders, “are you strong enough to let that woman be bad?”
The EP closes with the melancholy “Mad,” which describes a crumbling relationship as Riccardi recognizes her self-worth and realizes she deserves better. Her velvety vocals show off her composure in the situation, while screams in the background add an interestingly dramatic duality and highlight how her songs transcend just lyrics and melodies – they become full-blown, immersive experiences.
Full Cup is a full-circle celebration of coming into your own, finding your footing, and pushing through the hardest times of life with a hopeful attitude. Riccardi expresses a wide range of emotions while never being unnecessarily apologetic, maintaining her voice as a strong, powerful woman with a bright musical future to come.