LifeBeat Follow-up: Jules Stewart
It’s time to check in Jules Stewart, my third guest from the November 2020 episode of LifeBeat: Conversations with Purposeful Womxn (watch the episode). I love getting to know Jules even better through these questions. Her sense of humor truly shines through as well as her loving heart. Her life took some turns since we spoke in late 2020 which she talks about, and she gives us further insight into her musical tastes from the past, some of the projects she’s currently working on, and a new hobby she’s taken up. This Q&A was conducted by email, and Jules provided her answers on January 12, 2022.
Lizzie: My first question to all the guests was what you are great at cooking, and your answer was a vegetarian burrito. Have you added anything new to your cooking repertoire?
Jules: In all likelihood I am no better at cooking now than I was last year, but I feel like I’ve gotten better! I have learned some new tofu techniques, and as a vegetarian, new tofu techniques are absolute gold. Turns out freezing then thawing that stuff works wonders. I was skeptical, but it’s true.
Silver Linings Playbook was your answer to what movie you could watch over and over. As we’ve endured the pandemic, many of us got very familiar with streaming services. Any favorites that you watched in the last year?
I actually didn’t get too into anything show or movie-wise. TV is not a thing that really agrees with my brain very well…it’s so stimulating that I get exhausted and grumpy if I watch too much of anything on a screen. I’ve done a more analog approach to being a couch potato: puzzles, books, and most recently, crocheting. I’m making a blanket! Well, so far it’s more like a very thin scarf. Or a bandage. I just started, okay?!
When asked about your earliest childhood memory, you shared that you had created a game about pointing out bus stops. (!) What was teenage Jules listening to in high school?
Oh boy. When I went to public school in 9th grade after being homeschooled for years (and raised in a household where secular music wasn’t allowed), my brain just about exploded when I started hearing my friends’ music. I listened to anything ANYONE recommended to me. I loved Dashboard Confessional, Weezer, Sister Hazel, Michelle Branch, Toto, the Bee Gees, Blink 182, Dave Matthews Band, Jason Mraz, Sergio Mendez, Jimmy Eat World, Fleetwood Mac, and literally anything else I could get my hands on. None of that stuff was music I was allowed to listen to, so it was a pretty wild awakening! I loved it and I look back so fondly on those years.
When we talked in November 2020, you had recently quit your full-time physical therapist job to be a musician full-time through gigs, recording, and teaching. Live music has come back a bit. How was it to get back to playing live gigs? Are you working on recording anything right now?
I LOVE LIVE MUSIC. It has been so wonderful to get to play a handful of shows lately. There’s something about connecting with a live audience that feels uniquely cool and it’s hard to get that any other way. Of course, we’re all still navigating what it looks like to keep each other safe right now in terms of live music, but I’m grateful for every chance I get to play music with and for anyone in person.
Recording has been a blast lately! I’ve been working on a few upcoming singles for The Morning Room, demos for an incredible musical Amy Day is writing, and soon, on Mary Hamer’s upcoming album. I’m excited to see this building, bit by bit! If anyone has music they’re working on that needs drums, I’d love to work together!
How is the teaching going? Were you ever able to be in-person with students or has it continued to be remote?
I’ve been teaching on a very limited basis in person, but obviously Omicron [COVID-19 variant] is tossing wrenches into everything. On a related note, teaching has never stopped being terrifying to me. I like it, but not as my main source of income.
We talked about how you had transitioned from advocacy to activism in 2020. What does/did that look like for you in 2021?
I’d say the realization that intentions don’t matter as much as impact has stuck with me and helped me actually do more to help with what I can. I’ve been trying to be a part of mutual aid communities as much as possible. I’ve also been becoming increasingly aware of the connections between racism, ableism, sexism, and capitalism…it’s sort of hard to not see that stuff during this pandemic, you know?
You’ve gone through some personal changes as well since our conversation. You got divorced, and later reconnected with someone from your past. What has it been like sparking a new relationship during the pandemic?
It has been SO FUN to fall in love with someone I have known and cared about for so long. The fact this all happened during the pandemic was hard in some ways (she was in Baltimore), but it provided us both with time we wouldn’t have otherwise had. She was able to eventually come visit and scope out San Diego because she was still working remotely (due to the pandemic), and it’s hard to imagine how this all would have played out if we had both had pre-covid schedules. She’s out here in San Diego now, and I’m really grateful to have such a great coworker and partner in adventure.
Let us know about anything else you want to promote or talk about!
Be sure to check out the sites linked above to find out more about Jules and where she’s playing and what she’s working on. Thanks so much, Jules, for letting us learn a bit more about you.
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