Szigeti Juli Interview (10 Questions to…)
A huge passion for Electro Swing, stubbornness in pursuing a goal, constantly raising the bar for oneself, incredible musical talent and true modesty…. This is how, in a few words, I can describe Szigeti Juli – the vocalist of the band, of the same name (which, by the way, as fans of Electro Swing, you surely know very well).
They recently released a full-length album, and today I can finally publish our interview for you. Play “Wild & Groovy” on your favourite streaming service and, in the meantime, read my next interview in the “10 questions to…” series!
FYI: Hungarian names are spelled the other way around, so even if you introduce yourself or someone else in conversation, the name will be reversed. The singer and leader of the band “Szigeti Juli” has the first name “Juli” and the surname “Szigeti”.
01. LadyDot: Juli, at the beginning of our conversation, I want to thank you very much for taking the time to give me an interview. Your band’s career is constantly evolving and both I and the readers of the Electro Swing Thing blog are curious to know how you started the band Szigeti Juli. Could you briefly tell us about it?
Szigeti Juli: Thank you so much for your interest in interviewing me, I really appreciate it.
I started this project alone after returning from abroad. I figured out what I wanted and started creating songs by myself. Then a nice coincidence brought me and my band together, because I had a concert where I was left with no musicians to accompany me – So I got introduced to these lovely guys, who we then decided to build up „Szigeti Juli” with. So we started the work immediately, and enjoyed our work together a lot. And as they say the rest is history.
02. LadyDot: I saw your performance in the Chinese Talent Show. I really enjoyed your performance of “Waka Waka”! I’m very curious, how did it come about that you went to Asia? Is that where your musical career began?
Szigeti Juli: It was such a fun time of my life. I went to China due to a language scholarship. After a couple of months being there, the craziest thing happened. I was walking around the streets, when a nice Chinese girl approached and asked me if I had any talent. Just out of the blue. After a general shock we discussed that I can sing a bit, so she arranged my first concert at a festival infront of 5 000 people (!!!). I am still having goosebumps just writing about it. It was unbelievable and amazing at the same time. Then I went to this talent show, and then to another one in Beijing. I was lucky enough to get third places in both competitions. Then me and my band just travelled around and performed in loads of Chinese cities. Crazy times. After that I went to London for another year, but then my homeland called, and wanted to start my very own musical project, so returned back to Hungary to pursue my dreams.
03. LadyDot: Your music is primarily Electro Swing. I have to ask this: why exactly did you become interested in this musical genre?
Szigeti Juli: I grew up in a family where music was constantly a part of our lives. So I got familiar with all kinds of music styles at a very young age. I love basically all genres and I tried out many different styles, but the first time I felt really myself was when I sang jazz/swing/electro swing. I felt that it has to be my mission to make great and quality electro swing music and make more and more people fall in love with it. To create a unique fusion that is good to listen to. I hope I am on the right track. 😊
04. LadyDot: I love the Hungarian language! I find it incredibly fascinating and it sounds very interesting (although unfortunately it is very difficult to learn). You released the EP “Benned a jövőd” in May 2019, and then you released two singles in Hungarian. Do you plan to release any more singles in your native language, or will you now rather make songs in English?
Szigeti Juli: Yes I agree. Hungarian is amazing, and I love speaking it. But it has its special and tight accentuation that is not easy to combine with jazz phrasings. It is of course possible, but doesn’t sound so authentic. And also that we work together with the lovely label, Electro Swing Thing, we work mostly in English. But right now we do have a Hungarian, unreleased song that is more electronic pop. It is actually a Hungarian version of our track DANCE. We love it so much, and cannot wait to share it with everybody.
05. LadyDot: You have been working with Electro Swing Thing since 2020. Why did you decide to release a full album only after 3 years? Were you waiting for the right moment?
Szigeti Juli: These 3 years were so very busy. After deciding to create our debut album we worked in our free time constantly to make it happen. But in the meantime I had two children, so my free time got limited. 😊 And we also had concerts that we had to finalise our show for. So all together we needed this time to make this album the way we wanted it to be released.
06. LadyDot: Your album, ‘Wild & Groovy’, includes, among others, well-known hits such as ‘Light’, ‘Don’t Stop’, ‘Freedom’ and ‘Feel So Happy’. My attention was recently drawn to the single ‘Swing Delusion’, which you created in collaboration with Los Angeles-based Atom Smith. Can you talk about the background to this collaboration? In what aspects did Atom Smith help you to create this track full of an amazing swing vibe?
Szigeti Juli: It was an honour to work with Atom Smith. He is a really down to earth, fun guy who is great to work with. We started talking and decided that it would be awesome to make something together. Thank God we did! We put together a song with the band, sent it to him, he added his ideas, fun twists and elements, then we had another round with it, and then him again. It was a pleasure, he is so talented. Then to have Will Vargas play the clarinet, was again an amazing thing. Then we had the final version that we all just fell in love with. So I hope we won’t stop our collaboration!
07. LadyDot: Your Spotify profile shows that the most listened to track of yours is ‘Don’t Stop’ (it has almost 700,000 streams!). Personally, I love this track, it’s very cheerful, inspiring and motivating! When you released this single, did you expect such a success?
Szigeti Juli: It is always interesting why one song is more successful than the other. Sometimes you reach the most success with something that you least expect it with. We were so pleased when we got into the official Spotify electro swing playlist the first time… And when two of our songs were a part of that list… oh my God we were over the Moon. But no… we never expect this when we are done with a track. So it is always such a great pleasure to see that it performs so well.
08. LadyDot: I’m very curious, who is the main author of the music for your songs? I guess that you write the lyrics, but do you also take an active part in composing the music?
Szigeti Juli: When we write a song, we come together with Apor, the drummer, who also plays the piano. Then we start exchanging ideas, start shooting for the stars 😊, and then we don’t stop until we are satisfied with the outcome. Then I go home, write the lyrics, and a new song-baby is born. Here I have to mention how lucky we are to work with fabulous producers such as Wolfgang Lohr, whose ideas, creativity and talent give the songs an amazing boost.
09. LadyDot: I must admit that I love Hungary with all my heart. I have been to Budapest 7 times already and I love to go back there. Can you recommend any cool places in your city with live music? Or is there a bar where they play Electro Swing tunes?
Szigeti Juli: So happy you like Hungary. It has its charming vibe, and would suggest everybody to come at least once to explore the country. Budapest is really great with live music. It of course depends on what you prefer. There is always an interesting jazz gig in Budapest Jazz Club, or Jedermann Café. Or if you want to go more pop or go wilder you will for sure find a cool ruin pub or a bar at Gozsdu udvar to spend a nice night. But when it comes to electro swing, I have to say, Hungary is a bit left behind. I think it is our job to bring electro swing to the people here. 😊 But I have a feeling that more and more people love it. What an amazing thing to look at the people’s faces at our show filled with joy that this music, and our energy can give them. This is why we do this. <3 10. LadyDot: What are your gig plans for 2023? Are you preparing a bigger European tour to promote your new album, ‘Wild & Groovy’?
Szigeti Juli: The organising this year seems slower than it used to be. We have a couple of concerts lined up in Hungary and Austria. We have more invitations to England and Germany, but they are still being organised. As soon as they get fixed I will immediately let everybody know that you can buy the tickets on time 😉. It would also be a dream come true to come to Poland to perform. I hope it will happen someday. Thank you!
Interview by LadyDot (Ja, Wizeruk) Date: 2023-03-27