Meet Our Writers: New Jersey’s Julia Dzurillay!

Julia Dzurillay
Julia Dzurillay
Get to know Atwood Magazine‘s writers in our special column where they become the interviewees, sharing their personal playlists and talking about their experiences covering music!

There’s nothing more special than sharing a song with a friend — or traveling to Barcelona to be front row for Charli XCX. Julia Dzurillay’s love for music has taken her to unforgettable places professionally and personally. Tortured piano lessons at 10 years old turned into a genuine, life-long appreciation for music theory, the Billboard Hot 100, sweaty indie concerts, and everything in between. With a Spotify premium account and a dream, Julia Dzurillay pursued Journalism and Professional Writing (with minors in Music and Anthropology) in college. The rest is history.
Stream: Atwood Writer’s Playlist: Julia Dzurillay

Meet Our Writers: Julia Dzurillay!

Julia Dzurillay

Where are you from and where are you based?

Julia Dzurillay: Northern New Jersey – born and raised!

How did you get into music writing?

Julia Dzurillay: I always wanted to be involved in the music scene but after taking a creative writing class in high school, I could totally picture myself as a writer. Majoring in “Journalism and Professional Writing” and minoring in music was the perfect college combo for me. I was lucky enough to get a job as a music journalist after graduating and the rest is history!

Who was your very first concert, and who have you seen most recently?

Julia Dzurillay: My first concert was at Starland Ballroom in 2011 — an extremely iconic New Jersey venue, for those who are unfamiliar. The lineup was full of obscure bands that I’m sure all broke up by now: Action Item, Hollywood Ending, Burnham, Megan & Liz, Kicking Daisies… my two friends and I met some of the artists. After that, the three of us were hooked. We shared songs and YouTube videos with one another, going to any (and every) concert along the way.

It’s crazy to say… my last concert was MUNA’s Terminal 5 show with the surprise Lorde cameo during “Silk Chiffon.” Unreal. We knew there would be a guest, (last time they visited New York, the self-proclaimed “greatest band in the world” brought out Bowen Yang,) but Lorde is next level. My friend cried. Everyone was screaming the lyrics. Normally I’m hesitant to visit Terminal 5, but this was such a good experience.

Who are two or three of your favorite up-and-coming artists right now?

Julia Dzurillay: For fans of Hope Tala and Luna Li, I give you maye — the artist behind “Tú,” “Versos de Placer,” “Yours,” and “Maybe Baby.” Maye’s music feels like sitting poolside, basking in the sun. Or strolling through an orchard and picking a juicy, ripe peach.

For production-heavy bops, Tei Shi is your girl. “OK Crazy,” “Even If It Hurts,” and “Bassically” are already fun, but her next album will launch this producer/songwriter into a whirlwind pop career I can feel it.

I’m not sure if she’s considered up-and-coming, especially with her Coachella set and scheduled appearance at Governors Ball, but Snail Mail is truly one of the best artists in the alt-indie scene. Her voice is so unique and her lyrics are beyond pointed and intentional. I personally prefer Lush over Valentine, but both albums are great.

What’s something you’ve learned from working as a music journalist?

Julia Dzurillay: Imposter syndrome is real. Sometimes I struggle to believe I’m the best person for a specific job, whether it’s mentoring a new writer, editing someone else’s work, interviewing a celebrity, or even sitting in the VIP section at whatever event. Who am I, you know? What makes me more qualified than someone else?

On the flip side, that mindset makes me immensely grateful for every and any opportunity — and I think that’s part of the reason I love my career. These amazing opportunities keep me passionate and keep that fire in me to write and experience more… and that’s what it’s all about! Obviously, you don’t become a writer for the money.

Julia Dzurillay
Julia Dzurillay

What’re your favorite moments covering music? Can be from interviews, reviews, in-person events/shows, anything.

Julia Dzurillay: There were so many “I can’t believe this is my life” events. I think the first was seeing Ingrid Michaelson with my middle school best friend as my +1. The two of us covered “The Chain” as aspiring musicians and seeing Michaelson perform that live was such a wistful, emotional moment.

My other friend is a BLINK — the day of BLACKPINK’s concert at Prudential Center I called him literally shaking, saying I got press passes and he could come with me. I wish we had more time to get light sticks, but otherwise, it was perfect and I’m still not over Lisa pole-dancing to “MONEY.”

As a huge Bad Bunny fan, sitting in the VIP while he sang “Me la’ voy a llevar a to’a / Pa’ un VIP, un VIP” (“I’m going to take them all to the VIP, the VIP” in English) at Philadelphia’s Made in America Music Festival was surreal.

If you could ask one question to any artist or band, who would it be and what would you ask?

Julia Dzurillay: Matty Healy. Are you crazy or is everything just a part of your stage persona? I’d like to break it down on behalf of The 1975 fans everywhere.


by Julia Dzurillay

What are you most looking forward to this year, music-wise?

Julia Dzurillay: My friend and I are flying to San Francisco for Outside Lands! The two of us actually went to Barcelona for Primavera Sound last year, so we’ll do pretty much anything for a good lineup. This will be my first time in San Francisco but not my first time seeing The 1975, Samia, Beabadoobee, or Soccer Mommy. I’m excited!

Can you please explain why you chose the top 5 songs on your playlist?

Julia Dzurillay:

  • Party 4 u” by Charli XCX. If you’ve watched/read The Great Gatsby, this song is that but better. Charli XCX is always innovative and original (and one of my favorite artists), especially with this hit.
  • If I Believe You” by The 1975. I’m going to say it, this was ahead of its time. Lamenting over religious guilt and trauma, theorizing that God’s love is conditional and viewed through the lens of someone’s self-actualization? Yeah. Exactly.
  • Should Have Known Better” by Sufjan Stevens. All of the Carrie & Lowell songs are incredible. They have such a distinct autumn vibe to me — this is one my friend and I sang in college, so it has added sentimental value.
  • Chinatown” by Bleachers. This song is the explanation behind my “Bring out Bruce Springsteen, you coward” poster. No one captures the “living outside Manhattan” energy like Jack Antonoff. It’s a city you want so desperately to identify with, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve definitely grown a soft spot for New Jersey’s culture and music, Bruce Springsteen included.
  • HOME” by BTS. I officially became ARMY in 2019, around the Map of the Soul: Persona era. This was one of the first songs I really loved, with RM holding strong as my bias almost four years later. (My bias wrecker switches from J-Hope to Jungkook to Suga depending on the day, but I’m obsessed with all seven members, of course.)

— — — —

Atwood Magazine

Connect to Julia Dzurillay on
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
? © 2023

:: Stream Julia’s Playlist ::

More from Julia Dzurillay